By Andrés Uribe, Expedition PR
Have an interview with a reporter coming up and you’re nervous about what they will ask you? Think they’re going to drill you with questions and twist your words for the most sensational article possible? Well, unless you’re being interviewed by Rita Skeeter, you have nothing to worry about. What you’re really doing is having a conversation with someone who is interested in hearing more
about you and/or your company, plain and simple. Follow these 3 quick guidelines to make sure that your conversation goes smoothly:
1: Key Points – Preparing for an interview starts with completing this very important statement; “If there’s three things that Reporter X should know about me/my company, it’s ____, ____ and ____.” Repeating this phrase to yourself before an interview is a good practice for making sure that you stay on message and really drive home some key points to your interviewer.
Throughout the interview the reporter will ask you a range of questions, not always on the topic of your key points, as he/she gathers enough information to write a story. The way you answer should always be in line with your key points, even if the question does not specifically ask about one of the points. For example, if you want to drive home the message that your product is completely unique, it’s not a good idea to mention by name other products that fell short when the reporter asks you why you decided to build your product. This will only lead to the reporter quoting you saying those other product names and readers associating your product with those other products, even if the quote reads “My product is nothing like Product X.”
2: Always On the Record – When talking to a reporter there is no such thing as off the record. If you’re opening a new office in Amsterdam and expanding to the European market in a few months, but don’t want to announce that yet, THEN DON’T! Think about the reason you’re going to say something before you say it.
If you’re giving an interview and taking time to talk about something that you are just going to follow up with “but that’s all off the record,” then you’re just wasting everyone’s time. Also, this sort of talk can potentially seriously delay your story, as the reporter might just say something like ‘ok, let me know when you want to officially announce this and I’ll write a story then,’ rather than writing a story now and a follow-up later when you want to actually make your ‘off the record’ announcement.
3: Avoid the Rambles – And finally one of the biggest errors I see clients doing, which tends to feed into one of the first two problems mentioned, is rambling. When giving an interview you have to remember, this is not a test, there is no reason to be nervous. Answer questions, have a conversation, and remember, it’s better to send a follow-up email going over something you forgot to mention in the interview, rather than blurring your message by blathering on and possibly letting something slip that you shouldn’t have mentioned.
Follow these simple guidelines and you’re sure to have a great interview. And remember, just relax!