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PR for Writers & Filmmakers

Preparing for a Media Interview

It’s easy to spend so much time focusing on how to land media coverage that how to handle the interview itself is not given much consideration. That is a mistake. You don’t want to squander an opportunity after working so hard to secure it.

The following is a checklist to review before any media interview. Some tips are TV-specific, but even those can be useful to keep in mind during radio or phone interviews since you can use those as practice for future on-camera opportunities.


Interview Prep Checklist

  • Keep your voice modulated. Be dynamic, but not frenzied. Your mission here is not to alter your personality, but to enhance it.
  • Do practice interviews. If you can hire a media trainer, great. If not, practice with a friend or in front of a mirror. Review the potential questions and answers prior to any interview. Have both your information and your delivery ready to go. That way, when the media does respond, you’ll be ready.
  • Review your wardrobe. If you wear jewelry make sure it is simple, subtle, and does not move or make noise. Keep clear of stripes, herringbone, or anything with small patterns or designs.
  • Pick three main points that you want out there and practice weaving them into your answers.
  • Review the image you want to convey—small town and friendly, authoritative, professional, humorous, artistic, formal and business-like, etc. Remember, you’re not altering your personality, but enhancing it.
  • That might sound obvious, but people often forget once they’re on TV.
  • Sit erect, but let your body relax.
  • Listen to the questions—don’t assume you know where the interviewer is going or try to anticipate the questions.
  • If you have facts, figures, or statistics, use them.
  • Give concise answers. You don’t want to give a yes or no response, but you also don’t want to reply with a three-page meandering monologue.
  • If an interviewer makes a statement that you do not agree with, say so—tactfully.
  • Don’t stray from the subject.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay not to know something. You can say that it’s something you have to review and back to them.
  • If you don’t understand a question, it’s fine to ask the interviewer to rephrase it. Don’t try and respond to a question you’re not sure about. Always ask for a clarification.
  • Have fun with it. Enjoy the process.

And, congratulations on the interview.

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