Five Ways to Prepare For and Control Media Interviews

Speaking with the media can be great marketing for your small business. Make the most of it by asking 5 questions when preparing for a media interview.

Telephone calls and emails from the media arrive abundantly or sporadically for a small business owner.

You either receive a healthy number of requests because of consistent marketing, or you get very few due to a lack of self-promotion. In either case, preparation is mandatory to know what to ask during the initial contact so you provide insightful responses that elevate your influence.

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As marketing generates media requests, you might believe that the overall interview is not in your control. That’s far from true.

Interviews occasionally command so much time that the information gathered is enough to write a feature story about your company. When you read only one or two published quotes, you wonder, “Why did the reporter talk to me for so long?”

The answer is that you did not ask your own fact-finding questions before the discussion.

Be proactive when requests arrive by asking five questions that determine how much or little time to devote. The outcome also lets you plan how to capitalize on the interview beyond printed quotes.

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Questions to Ask When Preparing for a Media Interview

Here’s what to ask.

1. “What’s the main topic of this story?”

You may be so ecstatic to get an interview that you neglect to uncover the article’s central idea. This question allows you to form answers that educate readers and sell more of your products or services.

It also helps to reveal deceptive calls such as one I received meant to help another person position herself on broadcast television as an industry expert. As the person scrambled to write my words, I abruptly ended the call.

2. “How many people will you interview?”

It’s vital to learn which competitors are on the list. The same is true about buyers and other end users, groups that can turn a seemingly-positive article into a negative rant.

Here’s an opportunity to recommend industry allies if the media is searching for additional quotes. Those allies will remember you for reciprocal promotions.

3. “Can you email the questions?”

An email lets you review the topic and prepare your responses rather than respond with no warning when the call arrives. In this manner, you continue to work and write your responses after completing the day’s tasks.

Receiving questions by email helps to expand your own intellectual property about the topic through the creation of articles, e-books, podcasts, and social media content.

4. “Do you need photographs?”

Pictures enhance the story to visually show readers your facility, products, expertise, and other benefits that convince the target audience to develop a relationship with you.

If your quotes are for a print publication, ask the media if sidebar content is planned. Sidebar tips from you increase visibility, as readers’ eyes naturally shift to the box due to its structure. Request that your name, business name, and website address appear below the tips.

5. “In which issue/On what date will this appear?”

You may not be told a definite publication date. However, it’s appropriate to ask in order to review and update your website, blog, and social media accounts for new visitors and followers.

The more you prepare for media interviews, the more you can shift the odds in your favor that submitted information promotes your business in a positive manner.

Media Interview Photo via Shutterstock

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Shirley George Frazier Shirley George Frazier is recognized worldwide as an expert on business startup and marketing strategies. She is president of Sweet Survival LLC, a firm dedicated to reducing the overwhelm of starting a new business by educating new and current women entrepreneurs on successful systems and techniques. Her expertise is available at 5StarExperience and ShirleySpeaks.

One Reaction
  1. Some people even ask for the list of questions beforehand. This way, you already have some answers prepared before you are asked.