Every brand has a story to tell, and the narrative of the story can be highlighted in many different ways by the press. It is important to prepare as much as possible before debuting your story, to gain control of your brand's narrative and present it in the right way. Media training in some form should always take place before an interview, or an event where an interview has the possibility of taking place. Nowadays, most interviews are taking place virtually one way or another so it is more important than ever that your team is on the same page to strategically prepare for the interview. Remember that every interview will affect the press that comes next.
Our number one media training tip is to be as prepared as possible. There are many aspects that you need to prepare for and consider before your interview.
The first step is to try to get a hold of the questions that will be asked ahead of time, which is usually attainable. Once you have the questions, schedule a mock interview between the client and the public relations team. It is always helpful to take notes on the responses, however, avoid speaking from a script.
DO remain authentic and honest.
Practice as if the mock interview is the real one. This includes attire, and for virtual interviews lightning, film and audio. Don’t wait until the last minute to make sure your set-up is interview ready!
Do take into account the type of interview that is taking place, because this determines the length. Don’t just expect that there will be unlimited time to answer questions. Prepare accordingly, so that all-important points are touched on appropriately. For example, a TV interview will most likely be shorter than being a guest on a podcast. Be prepared for the amount of time available.
Don’t just try to wing the interview. Even if the interviewer is not able to provide questions beforehand, your team should still work together to draft at least 5 questions along the lines of what the interviewer may ask. Always review your answers to these questions with your team prior to the interview itself, as it is best to get feedback to make sure your answer covers the important aspects of the question and avoids anything that could be misconstrued or misinterpreted.
Don’t steer too far away from the central message you want to get across. It can be difficult to stay on topic during the actual interview, as conversations usually aren’t scripted and nerves can come into play. Aim to practice keeping answers only to provide the necessary information, as veering off-topic can sometimes lead to information about the brand being shared that could be jeopardizing. Don’t be afraid to also stay true to your central message by not always jumping to agree with the interviewer, being honest if you are unsure of an answer instead of guessing, and correcting yourself if you make a mistake.
After your interview is over, do review your performance or your clients and take this as an opportunity to do even better next time.