How to prepare for a media interview


So, you’ve secured a media interview – now what? If you’re new to working with the media, the thought of being interviewed may be intimidating, but it doesn’t need to be. Below are three ways to prepare for a media interview and make the most of your time in the news. 

1.     Anticipate possible questions 

More often than not, you will know the topic of the interview before you’re sitting down with the reporter. To prepare, compile a list of questions that you think the reporter might ask. 

When doing so, think like the reporter and their audience, asking yourself: 

  1. What would make me interested in reading or watching this story?

  2. What is really important to know about this issue? 

  3. Why does it matter to the audience?  

2.    Prepare key messages 

Once you have a list of possible questions, prepare responses that communicate the key messages of your organization. If you’re speaking about an upcoming fundraising event, key messages might include the purpose of the event, who it will support, and how people can get involved.

Focus on one or two key messages you want to be sure the journalist leaves the interview remembering. This will help you remain focused and ensure that you’re making the most of your time with the reporter. 

3.     Rehearse your responses 

Speaking with a reporter, either on camera or off-camera, can be incredibly intimidating. Nerves kick in and the key messages you prepared are no longer accessible in your brain. The more you practice your responses, the more likely you will be to recall them when the interview is underway. 

Practicing your responses out loud will also help ensure that your messages are clear and concise and don’t contain any tongue twisters that will be hard to repeat during the interview. 

In addition to the above, make sure that you keep your answers short. The average quote is one to two sentences. The more you talk, the harder it will be for the reporter to edit the story and your quotes may be taken out of context. 

Also remember that you don’t have to answer every question. If you don’t know the answer or can’t answer for any reason, tell the reporter why (i.e. “I cannot legally disclose that information,” or “I’m not the best person to answer that”). “No comment” is never an appropriate response. 

Interested in setting up media interviews for an upcoming event or launch? Contact me to find out more about my media relations services.