The Ultimate Checklist To a Rockstar Media Interview


Congratulations! If you’ve been contacted by a media representative for an interview it means that your press and publicity (and media outreach) efforts have been successful. Now is the time to capitalize on that success. A great interview will help you not only share information about your company but also build a positive relationship with the press.

  • You Know Your Goal and The Information You Want to Communicate
    • Before the interview, make sure you are clear on what you’re talking about. Are you talking about the results of a new study, announcing the launch of a new product or business?
    • Write down your goal with notes about what you want to discuss.
  • You’re Prepared for the interview. You know the
    • Date
    • Time (and time zone if it’s a phone interview). Arrive early, at least ten minutes, and be ready to wait.
    • Venue. Is the interview face to face, Skype, or on the phone?
    • Reporter’s Name
    • Reporter’s contact information including cell phone and email.
    • If the interview is on the phone or Skype, make sure you’ve turned off all potential distractions.
      • Your cell is on silent
      • Your dog is on the other side of the house
      • Your children are at school or with a care provider
      • Eliminate all distractions.

Rather get tips via video? Check out my best tips for conducting a rock star interview!

  • You are familiar with the reporter. You know their:
    • Audience
    • Tone of their work
    • Past work on your subject or for your industry
    • Opinions/stance on industry issues
  • You have your facts straight.
    • Write down any relevant facts or information that you want to share.
    • Have data sources on hand because journalists will ask where you got your information. Keep the topic of your interview in mind when writing down facts that you will likely be asked.

If you’re being interviewed on the phone, go crazy and write down whatever you think you might need. If it’s a video interview, then you’ll want to fit them on a notecard.

  • You’ve anticipated questions and prepared answers.
    • Make a list of the questions you think the journalist might ask you.
    • Prepare a bullet point list of points that you want to address when you answer the question. Bullet points are easier for you to read when you glance at your notes.
    • Read your notes and make sure they’re free from jargon. It’s important to talk to the reporter like you would talk to someone who isn’t familiar with your industry.
  • You’ve practiced your answers and…
  • Practiced making eye contact
  • Sitting up straight
  • Phrasing your answer. Try to use one of two approaches when answering questions. Give a short answer and then connect it to one of the key points or messages you want to share. Use phrases like:
      • “the most important issue/fact is….”
      • “what we really want to make clear is that …”
      • “which supports our goal of…”
  • Video interview? Choose your outfit.
    • The goal for any outfit is to not distract from you. You want to stand out for your answers and personality, not your clothing. Choose colors that flatter your skin tone (especially if you’re going to be on television, those lights can be harsh)
    • Try to find out what the set looks like so you don’t blend into the background. A gray suite in a gray chair makes it difficult for you to be seen.
  • You’ve prepared a Media Kit
    • Your media kit should include company background information, photos, and other materials the journalist may find useful in preparing the news story.
  • Follow Up
    • Send the reporter or journalist a thank you after the interviewer. Send them any information they requested and make sure they don’t have any additional questions.
    • If you feel like you forgot to mention something in the interview, it’s okay to mention it in the follow up message.

Your first media interview can be a bit overwhelming and stressful. Try to relax as much as possible. Put yourself in the reporter’s shoes for a moment and remember what information they’re trying to get from you and how you can help their story. Then, focus on telling your company story in the best way possible.

Get more interview tips in this FREE PDF.

Let me know if you have any more tips on how to conduct a great interview in the comments section!

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