9 Essential Tips for Your Next Reporter Interview

Media coverage is powerful. A successful interview will boost the awareness and credibility of your company, organization or event. Contrarily, a poorly executed interview can do serious damage to your reputation.

“Whatever your state of mind during the interview, it will show,” says the American Psychological Association. “If you are enthusiastic, you will perform better. If you are uncomfortable, your distress will show; if you are preoccupied, you will come across as uninterested.”

To make the most of the opportunity and ensure you’re in the “right state of mind” for an interview, preparation is essential!


Below are some simple tips to build confidence and help you ace your next media interview:


1. Plan ahead. What do you want to share in the interview? What would the audience want to know? Put together a list of talking points that will communicate key information clearly and concisely.


2. Gather and memorize facts, data and dates to back up your talking points. Providing specific stats and details increases your likelihood of being quoted.


3. Polish your communication skills through mock interviews with other employees, volunteers or, ideally, a public relations professional.


4. If it’s a television interview, be sure to dress appropriately. Both your body language and attire will contribute to how you are perceived by the audience.


5. Speak assertively. You’re the expert! Avoid filler phrases like “you know,” “um,” and “err.” If you don’t have an answer to a question, be honest with the journalist, and direct them to another source.


6. Slow down. You’re likely speaking faster than you realize—especially if you’re nervous. Before answering a question, breathe deeply, and take a moment to think about what you want to say and how to best communicate it.


7. Consider working in short stories and humor into your answers if it comes to you naturally. This will help you appear down-to-earth and make your segment memorable. Be sure, however, to tailor your quips and stories to the media outlet’s audience. What is their median age? Is the audience more conservative? Will it be published/broadcasted in more of an urban or rural community?


8. Never answer with “No comment.” “No comment” is, indeed, a comment…and it usually makes the interviewee appear guilty. If you cannot provide an answer, explain why.


9. After the interview, be sure to send an email thanking the reporter or anchor for their time and providing additional information, photos, logos and video. They’ll appreciate the courtesy, and it will help build your relationship with the media outlet.


What’s your recipe for a successful media interview? Share your ingredients on Baer Performance Marketing’s Facebook Page!