Need Help Media Training Your
Company’s Executive Management Team?
As your company grows there will be more and more opportunities for management team executives to be interviewed by the media.
It is very wise for these executives to take at least one media training course if they have never been interviewed on a live TV camera before, which will teach them:
- How the media works and what information is needed to conduct a great interview
- Why returning phone calls from the media as soon as possible will lead to more and better press coverage
- Why it is always imperative to have a PR person with you on the phone or in person during every single media interview
- How to develop effective interview talking points and prepare for interviews
- How how to stay focused on approved Message Maps and/or FAQ Sheets
- How to pivot and go to a different subject matter should a negative journalist try to back you into a uncomfortable subject matter area during an interview
- How to add one more talking point at the end of an interview to generate a follow-up interview
- How to practice these skills in live, on-camera interviews before the real thing
Here is a list of recommended tips and secrets to doing successful media interviews:
- Don’t be afraid of the interview, but always have a PR person present. Never speak to a reporter alone. Reporters are more cautious when a PR executive is present.
- Keep in mind that the majority of reporters are nice people who are not out to write negative stories. They need to turn in a good story just as bad as you want great news coverage, but never consider a reporter a friend that will keep a secret.
- Never ever lie to a reporter. Filing a misleading story might cost them their job.
- Never “wing it.” Come prepared with Message Maps and/or FAQ Sheets.
- If you don’t know the answer to a question, simply tell the reporter you’re not prepared to answer that question, but promise to do so in a follow-up email.
- An interview is not a legal hearing. It’s okay to tell a reporter that some information is proprietary.
- Just because a reporter puts away a notebook or turns off a camera or tape recorder doesn’t mean the interview is over and anything you say is “off-the-record.”
- If a reporter makes a statement that you do not agree with, say so. Remaining quiet may give the impression that you agree.
- Don’t answer if you are not sure of a reporter’s question. Always ask for a clarification if you’re not sure what answer they want to receive.
- Never say anything negative about an individual or company during an interview.
- If a print reporter signals that the interview is over, but then you still want to provide add a talking point or two, it’s okay to ask the reporter for a few more minutes.
- Instead of just voicing an opinion, back it up with plenty of facts and figures and infographics. Reporters like numbers and stats.
- Prior to departing, let the reporter know to contact the PR person if they have any additional questions or information needed to file their story.
- When the reporter asks if there are any questions they have not covered, but should have, quickly scan the Message Map and suggest one more. Many times the reporter won’t cover the additional message point, but will follow up with a second story on that subject matter.
- Conclude the interview by thanking the reporter for the opportunity and ask them when they plan to file a story so that you will know when you can share it with your employees and customers.
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