Prepping for a press interview is a key element of media relations and an essential skill for any PR practitioner. Some people will take it all in their stride, but others will have reservations and be concerned about the questions likely to be asked.
So preparing a solid briefing beforehand is essential. A good briefing document will consider the publication, the story angle, tips for keeping calm during the interview and following up post interview.
Most interviews will go without a hitch, however a client must also be prepared for difficult questions, especially in a crisis scenario. Here are tips from Motive on preparing a client for a press interview:
Publication and journalist
Give your spokesperson a run down on the publication and link to a few stories the journalist has written in the past. This will give them some insight into what they may be interested in.
Don’t be afraid to ask the journalist about the kind of information they’ll be after from the client. Some will happily share the questions, others will willingly give an overview as to the details they’ll need. This allows the client to prep in advance and have any facts and figures in front of them ready to refer to.
If you have an idea what the journalist is looking for, create a short briefing sheet so the client has everything they need at their fingertips. If you have certain key messages you want to convey as part of your PR campaign, make sure they’re covered.
Make sure you find somewhere quiet for the interview where you won’t be disturbed. Also check your spokesperson has any phone numbers, email addresses or video call links they may need.
Once the interview starts, encourage your spokesperson to listen carefully to the questions and stay focused. Reassure them that, if they don’t know the answer to a question or feel uncomfortable responding, simply say ‘let me have a think about that / check that for you and I will come back to you’.
When the interview is over, check in to see if they promised the journalist any additional information or images, and the journalist to check they have everything they need for the story.
If you would like to find out more about how Motive PR can help you get in touch. We would love to hear from you.