How to Prepare for Your First Media Interview
I was nervous as heck when I received an email from a reporter, asking if she could interview me for an article she was writing. As a natural reticent, the preferred way for me to express myself is on paper – not over the phone, and certainly not for something so high-stakes. (High-stakes to me, at least.)
But I didn’t want to turn down the opportunity. The publication, Vox, was a nationally-recognized source for news and information and here was a free shot to insert myself into something cool.
As you are building your brand or business or project, you might come across a media interview every once and awhile – especially if you blog and publish articles. If you’re a Nervous Nellie like myself, it’s okay. You got this. I’ve compiled a few nuggets of information that helped me prepare for my first media interview.
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Ask the reporter what the scope of her article is.
The best piece of advice I received about my first ever media interview was to ask the reporter about the scope or angle of the story. Asking that question is a good way to narrow your focus and really hone in on the specific points you want to make. Focus is key for media interviews, as I will explain in a second.
Create a few key messages that you would like readers to come away understanding.
As I mentioned, focus is key. It’s not that reporters are trying to purposefully trip you up, but unless you have a keen radar for expressing what is on- and off-record, you might run the risk of misrepresenting yourself.
Once you know what the scope of the article is, create and practice reciting a few key messages to expand upon during the interview.
Be precise and to the point.
Remember those key messages? Keep them brief and succinct. It’s really easy to fly off script and while it might feel kind of fun to really express #AllTheThings, if you say too much the reporter might have to edit your thoughts, which can lead to things being taken out of context.
It’s okay if you don’t know how to answer a question.
If you don’t understand a question or don’t know how to answer it, that is okay. Saying “I don’t feel comfortable answering that” or “I might need to think about a more thorough response” is perfectly fine.