4 tips for killer interviews in the modern media world

With the explosion of digital media and round-the-clock news coverage, preparing for an interview has a whole new meaning.

Journalists today conduct interviews using Skype, Twitter and FaceTime. These technologies help news professionals to be more nimble, which means your company’s experts should always be ready for an interview at a moment’s notice.

Here are the four tips to interview like a star:

1. Embrace new technology.

Anyone who might be tapped for an interview should understand the latest technology and make sure they know how to use it. The best time to learn technology is before you need it. For Skype interviews, conduct a test run prior to your appearance and check for adequate lighting. If you’re using a laptop, make sure it’s set on a stable surface so the subject is always on camera and in position. Once the interview begins, maintain eye contact with the camera, even when the journalist is speaking.

Download the free white paper, “How to be a brand journalist,” to learn how to tell your organization’s compelling stories.

2. Plan your talking points.

Regardless of technology, the message is paramount. Prepare talking points so you can stay on message. A message map can help you navigate tough topics. This document works like a road map; it provides a simple format to list important points that can guide you through an interview. You should create message maps for all your key topics.

Download your free message map here.

3. Speak in sound bites.

In the age of “news snacking,” the average length of a sound bite is less than nine seconds. If you don’t speak clearly and concisely, your message won’t be heard. When you are finished with your point, stop speaking. Many people—including executives—have difficulty with this, because they feel compelled to fill silence to avoid “dead air.” Keep in mind it is the journalist’s responsibility—not yours—to maintain the flow of the conversation.

4. Stay in CONTROL.

Here is an acronym to help you remember the details needed for tech-based interviews. These nuggets apply to traditional interviews, too.

C oncise answers.

O ne question, one thought.

N ever lie or hedge.

T reat journalists with respect.

R ehearse before every interview.

Of fer facts and real life examples.

L earn technology before you need it.

Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a public relations firm that specializes in brand journalism. MediaSource has been named Best Health Care Agency in both 2013 and 2014 in Ragan’s Health Care PR & Marketing Awards. Connect on Twitter: @LisaArledge.

This article was created in partnership with MediaSource.

Topics: PR


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