This is part two in a three-part series on how to conduct a successful interview with the media. Read the previous post about understanding the media here.
One of the easiest ways you can make sure you have a successful interview is to adequately prepare. Below are our top pieces of advice to help you prepare for an interview.
Know what to expect: Conduct some research yourself: Has the reporter written on this topic before? What angle did they take? This might give you a better sense of what to expect during your interview. You can also ask the reporter what types of questions will be asked to get a general sense (they probably won’t give you specific questions). Make sure you’re up on current events in your field so you're less likely to be caught off-guard by a question.
Internalize key messaging points: Reporters are always looking out for a good quote or soundbite; Especially with broadcast stories, your entire interview might be summed up in a single 10 second clip. Choose three to four statements that convey your message and internalize them.
Bring collateral material: Don’t be afraid to refer to notes during the interview. We recommend writing a few keywords on the top of your notes as a reminder of your key points.
Practice, practice, practice: We recommend role playing an interview with a coworker or media adviser before the real thing. Get used to replying to unexpected questions in real time and further refine your talking points.
Check in with the reporter beforehand: As we said in part one, journalists are often stretched thin. Send them an email to see if you can provide any additional background information, photos, or statistics, especially on complicated topics-- remember, you are the expert.
Check back for part 3: Conducting the interview.