27 Apr The no sweat guide to being interviewed by journalists
If you’ve been paying attention to our blogs, have found a great story, written a killer press release and sent it to the right people, the chances are, a journalist will get in touch and ask to interview you.
As a PR, there is no sweeter sound than a journalist on the end of the line. It really is something to celebrate, not fear, but clients are nearly always nervous when they give interviews. They worry they will make a mistake and end up the wrong side of a damning headline. Do not panic. I am going to give you a few simple steps, which will give you all the tools you need to cope with journalist interviews.
- Remember that journalists are human. Treat them nicely and with respect and the chances are, they will do the same to you. I spent years interviewing celebrities and I can tell you for nothing that the ones who got the most glowing write ups, were those who were a pleasure to talk to. Some were downright rude. I won’t name them, but they know who they are!
- Give them a story. If a journalist asks you a seemingly endless stream of probing questions, it is because they are looking for a story, a good angle on which to hang the interview. Think of a few great stories and anecdotes before you talk, so that you have something to offer.
- Don’t forget who you are talking to. Everything you say will be on the record. A journalist will begin by asking you some bog standard questions and they won’t really be interested in the answers. They are trying to warm you up and relax you, so that your quotes will be more colourful. The more guarded you are, the less interesting you’ll be.
- Bribery always works. Like I said, journalists are only human and back in the day when people read news on actual paper, they were treated like royalty. Buy them lunch, give them free product, show them a good time (within reason!). They are likely to pay you back with kind words.
- Get a friend to interview you about your business or whatever it is that has pricked a journalist’s interest. Ask for honest feedback. Was any of it boring? What were they most interested in? Did you waffle on about certain things? Like everything, being interviewed gets easier the more you do it.
- Read the publication the journalist works for. What sort of stories do they print? What is their style? How do they present their interviews? If you don’t like the publication, don’t talk to them, however, it is worth remembering that news spreads. If you are featured in one newspaper or magazine, there is a chance that others will copy the story and links may be shared on social media. You’ve got to be in it to win it as they say.