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| February 8, 2017 | 0 Comments

Top NJ PR Firm Shares Expert Advice on Meeting the “Press”
By Evelyn Weiss Francisco, Vice President of Caryl Communications

So, the media’s on the phone and wants to talk to you. Whether it’s a reporter from print, online, radio or TV calling, or a blogger, you’ve got a great opportunity to raise your company’s profile and position yourself as an authority in your field. As a top NJ PR firm, we regularly prep our clients for the media. Here are three “pages” from our playbook that will help you ace your next interview.

1. Before: Prepare and Take Control

 An interviewee is not a passive subject, but a participant in a dialogue. With a little upfront work and preparation, you will feel more in control of your role. You’ll need to:

  • Get familiar with the reporter and their publication. Check out previous interviews, scan their website and get a sense of their audience. What points do you want to make with the readers/viewers?
  • When setting up the interview, ask about the subjects to be covered. Are you the sole focus of the article (a profile) or will you be one of several others quoted? Anticipate questions and draft answers. If it’s a phone interview, note your key points on index cards for reference. But don’t memorize them.
  • Practice your responses to anticipated questions with a friend or colleague.
  • Write a bio and send it to the reporter. Include your latest accomplishments and points that will interest the audience. Don’t leave research about you or your company to the journalist. Position yourself and tell your own story.

2. During: Make Your Interview a Conversation

  • If you’re well-prepared, you’ll be relaxed.
  • Be energetic as you respond.
  • Introduce your key points early and repeat them as the session progresses.
  • Be polite.
  • Don’t hesitate to raise points that you consider important.
  • Bring the reporter back to a previous question if you feel you have more to say.
  • Limit your use of industry buzzwords.
  • Never lie or say “no comment.”
  • Don’t agree to speak “off the record.”

3. After: Connect with the Reporter

  • Today’s reporters are more time-starved than ever. Offer leads on where additional information can be found. Helpful subjects get future interviews.
  • Send an email thank you but NEVER send a gift of any kind.

Sometimes, There’s Just No Time to Prep

What if I don’t have time to prep, you may be asking. Many interview requests pop up with little notice. Usually in these cases, a reporter on deadline is looking for a quick comment on some industry trend that’s in the news or an event impacting your field. Here are some tips if you get one of these on-the-spot invitations:

  • Ask for time – Thanks to the internet, you (or a team member) can do basic prep work quickly. If you don’t know the reporters, check their previous articles.
  • Ask reporters what question/s you’ll be expected to answer.
  • Draft some key points for your response.
  • Follow the advice in section 2 above.
  • If you’re not confident that you can handle the interview, decline the invitation politely, citing lack of time. Offer to be available in the future. It’s better to miss out than to mess up.

And if you’re looking to succeed with the media, getting more coverage or handling interviews well, consider the services of a professional PR consultant. PR pros know the media world. That’s their business. Their guidance can make all the difference in your company’s image and yours.

Reach out to me at (201) 796-7788 or with any questions, and here are more resources to help make you a media success, including specifics on going on camera or on radio:

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