Media Interviews: Off the Record Doesn’t Exist

Do you have an upcoming media interview and don’t feel prepared?  Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. However, following a few rules before an interview will help ease nerves and ensure you are ready to speak to any reporter with clear, concise messages.

1. Get to know the reporter

Read the reporter’s previous columns before an interview, so you know what they’ve covered in the past, their areas of interest, tone and writing style. Also, take a look at a reporter’s Twitter page and LinkedIn profile for a closer look at their background and personality.

2. Set an objective and have 3-4 talking points

Whether briefing a reporter on a new product or giving an overall company update, it is important to establish an objective for the interview and have 3-4 talking points in mind to really get your message across. If you are participating in a phone interview, keep those points written out in front of you to help you stay on track.

3.  Use a secure landline when possible

We once participated in an interview where a client’s mobile phone was fading in and out of connectivity. It took 2-3 minutes before the client realized there was a connection issue, despite our MANY interruptions. Today, phone interviews are done on the road frequently, but when possible, make sure you have a secure connection—whether it be a landline or testing out your mobile phone in advance. The reporter (and your PR person) will thank you.

4. Remember that everything is on the record

Most importantly, don’t forget that anything you say to a reporter or blogger can be published. There is no such thing as “off the record”, so don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want to see in print—whether in an article, a blog post or on Twitter.

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