Maybe you’ve read our blog post on getting your business published in a magazine, and as a result, you’ve been selected!
But now comes the interview itself, which you aren’t the least bit prepared for.
How To Prepare For A Media Interview?
Keep reading for great journalist tips from our team.
We’re sure you’ve seen plenty of interviews before. On TV, most likely, perhaps with a singer promoting her new album. Like her, you are also trying to reach a wider audience in the hopes that they’ll buy your product.
The only difference here is that the singer has a media guru who has taught her how to handle such matters. She’s done this a hundred times and knows the process inside out.
And you? Well, you have this guide in front of you. It’s a start. And it’s free! Now let’s begin.
1. BE PREPARED – KNOW YOUR BUSINESS!
It sounds so obvious, but the fact remains that many clients are horrendously underprepared for their interviews. Of course you know your business inside out – It’s your baby! But have you tried articulating the first thing about it to a stranger? Because that’s essentially what you’re doing in this media interview.
All fun aside, yours is a business that crunches numbers. It’s your job to know these numbers. How did the business fare last year? What are the current industry trends? Gather all the facts you can. Own these facts, and own your interview.
Aside from numbers, it is important that you find an angle for this interview. What’s your start-up story? It’s probably different to others out there.
Here’s a tip: No one wants to hear about how your parents gave you some money to start a business and that you’re about two years from paying them back.
If this applies to you, that’s fine, but talk about something else. What are the tough obstacles you faced? Why did you pick this business name? What’s with that painting on the wall? Anecdotes add a personal touch to your business, so really sell yourself.
Come up with a few key points that you want to discuss in the interview. These are the messages that you want the reader to take away from the interview. Points could range from new stock for the year, to expanding the business online, to collaborations with local charities.
2. BE FAMILIAR WITH THE PRESS
As well as knowing the ins and outs of your business, it also helps a lot if you are familiar with the publication you’ll be featured in. You probably already have some knowledge, as it’s what snagged you this interview in the first place. But now you need to think about the publication’s target audience and adjust your message accordingly.
Is it a women’s magazine? Perhaps go easy on the menswear pitch – unless that pitch is “gifts for your man”. See? You can spin this.
Read past interviews conducted by your interviewer – It’s likely that the same format will apply to your own. Getting used to his or her interviewing style will greatly prepare you for what’s to come. And the more prepared you are, the more confident you will come across during your interview.
3. PRACTICE FOR THE RIGHT MEDIUM
Yes, your interview is for print media. But it could be done face-to-face, over the phone, on a Skype video call or even via email. You’ll need to practice no matter the medium. Let’s assume that it’s one of the first three.
Face-to-face or Skype call?
Rehearse your answers! Rehearse them in front of the mirror. To friends. To your dog. Be welcoming to all feedback. Record yourself talking and be ready to be your own worst critic. Did you come off a tad conceited in that answer? Time to tone it down. Maybe that other response is in need of a confidence boost. This is your time to work out the kinks.
Represent your brand. This applies to things such as your fashion and body language. If you’re touting health-conscious foods, maybe leave your Marlboro lights in the car.
Sit up straight, and speak concisely. Not to the point where you sound like a cyborg, but then again, try not to ramble. You’ve been practising for this interview in your sleep, so you should have the main points at the tip of your tongue. Now get them out.
Over the phone?
Yes, you can remain in your pajamas. You can even hold off from showering. But there are still things you need to keep in mind during your interview.
Stand, or at least sit up straight during your interview. Your voice will sound much more professional and you will feel a confidence boost from the posture.
As this is not a visual medium, a lot more emphasis is placed on your words. Be mindful of tone, speed and articulation – the interviewer doesn’t have anything else to go by.
They may call you when you least expect it. The act of surprise can be fun, but not when you’re in the middle of a Netflix binge session and don’t want to be interrupted. Likewise, if you’re heading out for a big night, and you’ve hit the liquor. Sitting around and waiting isn’t fun, but it’s worth it.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
- Interviews are a two-way street. It is quite possible that your interviewer is just as nervous as you are. After all, they too are representing a brand and are thus equally on display.
- Build a rapport with your interviewer. If you both feel comfortable, it will make for a better, more interesting interview.
- Review and then memorize any numbers and statistics that will support your points.
- Be familiar with the key ideas that you want to talk about. Narrow these down to just a handful. The interviewer has a word limit with this piece. Use your words wisely.
- Prepare for the right medium. And if it’s through email correspondence, for Pete’s sake, use spellcheck.
Think you’ve got something that fits one of our magazines?
Get in touch and let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
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