Nail the Interview!

You are a business owner. You have hired the ideal PR agent. The pitch has been made … and you land an interview!  SCORE!  Now, what do you do? 

Media is the best avenue for exposing your offerings and your expertise to your target audience.  An interview for a feature story is one of the most coveted opportunities for a business to shine brightly before target audiences and the industry. It is important that you or the person you delegate to represent your company is well prepared for media interviews so that bright shiny light doesn’t fizzle the moment you are exposed to the audience you have worked so hard to reach. There is no doubt that your awesome PR agent will guide you well in preparation.  From a PR professional perspective, I gladly offer these 7 tips to help you confidently prepare to nail the interview.

1) Know the media outlet conducting the interview

Pr rep interviewDo some homework.  If you have a PR agent work together to learn as much as possible about the media outlets that will best represent your story to your audience. As much as it is possible, learn what you can about the individual journalist conducting the interview, including their main interest in featuring your story. Look at their work and the style they use to communicate with their followers, viewers, or readers. Speaking of followers, research that audience too and determine if your target audience is in line with theirs.

2) Find out what information the media will be looking for about you and your business

Ask the interviewer what the main topic of their story is and then ask for a list of questions in advance.  The answers will help you prepare talking points and help you to respond quickly and confidently.  There may be some additional dovetail questions, and that’s perfectly fine. Expect some spontaneous moments and you will avoid feeling surprised, awkward and nervous.  If the interview will be flushing out industry-specific information, ask if competitors will be included in the interview or if you will be flying solo.

Knowing what the media outlet is looking for will help you to assemble a list of key messages you wish to address. As you put together that list, be thinking of ways to convey them in an enthusiastic and relevant manner. This will effectively pique the interest of the audience, add credibility and make the messages memorable.

3) Learn the method and format of the interview

Veteran InterviewKnow the when, where, what, how (and how long), and why of the interview.  If the interview is at your place of business, tidy it up.  It’s OK for the work environment to look ‘worked-in’ but remember this. You may be giving your target audience a glimpse of the inside of your business, and you know the principle behind making a great impression.  As necessary, alert your team of the interview and any pertinent details you collect so they are equally prepared to make a great impression, especially if the interview is video recorded.

4) Know your company

It seems obvious but research facts about your business. Be ready to articulate the vision and mission of your business clearly and confidently.  Even if you are not intimately involved in every area of operation, know enough about each area to speak in general about it. It is also important to know your latest sales figures and be ready to speak to plans for the days ahead.

5) Practice the interview

Experts agree on this piece of advice – practice the interview in a mock setting with a colleague and get it on tape. Practice helps smooth out possible rough spots and build confidence.  Recording and reviewing the mock interview reveals flaws, like wondering eyes, fidgeting, and other body language issues to remedy before the interview takes place.  No, that fingernail clicking is not a personality trait!  It’s just … annoying. There, I said it.  Don’t get me started on the un-words either, like “ummm”!

6) Dress to impress

If the interview is to be video recorded and shown to your audience, take care to dress professionally but don’t overdo it unless suit & tie is the norm. A person that never wears a suit and tie will, on camera, look like a person that NEVER wears a suit and tie.  Are you a chef? Sport your best jacket and toque blanche and rock it.  If the uniform of the day is jeans and converse shoes, make sure they are clean and pressed. Avoid clothes that don’t fit well and will cause you to be tempted to pull and tug at throughout the interview. Again, that will make for poor video.

7) Finally, relax and enjoy the experience

Chris Kuban Video ProductionThis is probably the most important piece of advice I can give you when you land that interview your marketing team has worked hard to earn. Interviewers are real people just like you. Remember why you are in business and keep in mind all the reasons your target audience loves and needs you. Every business has a story.  It is time to share yours. Relax, have a great time and get ready to meet your next customer!

This article has been offered by Chris Kuban, Founder and Principal Consultant at Chemistry PR and Multimedia.  Do you have questions about pitching your business to the media or preparing for a media interview?  We would love to hear from you.