How To Nail A Media Interview: 7 Tips For Success

14 February 2022 Guest Contributor

A media interview is a chance for your business to speak directly to the public. It's an opportunity for you to share your expertise, show off your products, and drive more business your way. (And that's why you do it.)

But it can also be a nerve-wracking experience. As if getting on camera wasn't stressful enough, you're now trying to do that, all the while answering questions about yourself or your company that you may not always know how to answer. And then there are those pesky follow-up questions that seem impossible to dodge.

We've got your back with seven tips for nailing that media interview with aplomb.

1. Prepare questions (with answers) you think might be asked in advance of the interview. 

Ensure you get to know the interviewer and prepare for what they cover *before* the interview. To do this: 

  • familiarise yourself with the outlet’s editorial style by reading up on/viewing their content beforehand.
  • be aware of any recent events or developments in your field that might be relevant (so may be raised) to the interview. 
  • review your company's latest press releases, white papers, annual reports, and any other relevant media coverage for discussion points. 

2. Practise with a friend or colleague who can give you constructive feedback. 

Practising helps ease the anxiety and helps get you in the right mindset for an interview. Let the friend or colleague play the interviewer and: 

  • Ensure to go through the whole interview multiple times.
  • Encourage your friend/colleague to take note of feedback to give you *after* you've gone through the full interveiew.
  • Rehearse your responses out loud and in full (don't say..."I'm going to say something like...").
  • remind them to take note of any jargon and industry language you use, so you can limit where possible.
  • Always try to stay calm and confident - no matter what questions are thrown your way. 

3. Be ready to answer difficult questions. 

Because you've carried out some research on the interviewer/media outlet and your industry as a whole, you might be concerned some questions may prove difficult to answer in a positive way. The best way to tackle this is to: 

  • Make a list of 3-5 talking points about your story and what you want to say during the interview before going in for the interview. (Always be honest in your responses, no matter what. End of.)
  • If something unexpected comes up during an interview, keep your cool, answer carefully, and try to move on as quickly as possible without engaging more than necessary with that topic. 

4. Emphasise the positive points of your business.

Enough said.

5. Maintain eye contact with the journalist.

When responding to a journalist's questions, try to maintain relaxed eye contact with the journalist - but avoid looking too intensely or staring at the journalist.   

6. Have an 'elevator pitch' ready. 

Before the interview, prepare a one-sentence summary of what your business/product does and why it’s relevant to the media outlet's audience (ie. what problem does it solve). This will prove useful if the journalist asks you for a quick summary of what you do and how you can help their audience. 

7.  Know when to shut up.

Skilled journalists will manage the flow of questions and answers to help ensure the interview runs smoothly. However, if you have answered the question comprehensively, it is advisable to stop and allow time for the interviewer to ask a follow up question should they need more.

(And for those more contentious interviews, less is often more. After all, you don't want the interviewer giving you just enough rope to hang yourself with.) 

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