Preparing for a Press Interview

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One of the first steps in a Public Relations campaign is creating a press release. The release is one sheet summarizing why your business, product or service is newsworthy which is sent out to all local media outlets. Your press release contains all the pertinent information and high resolution photos a publication may need in order to run your story.

The next phase is following up with selected news leaders, specialty shows, and influential producers, to arrange for interviews and coverage. Once those connections have been made, and interviews have been arranged, it is time to prepare to hit the spotlight!

Whether it’s a radio or television interview, there are a few things you can do to be prepared when speaking with the press.

Know Your Message
Distill your message into 5 basic talking points, only one sentence long, that cover the who, what, where, when and why. When you have these five points firmly anchored in your mind, and have them written out in your notes, practice saying them out loud, to a friend or to a mirror. You don’t have to run through it more than once or twice. You don’t want to sound rehearsed and recite your interview by wrote, but equally, you DON’T want to stumble on important details.

Stay on Topic
Everything you say while being recorded over the phone, or on camera can be edited and used in the media coverage. This means that if you make an off-the-cuff comment, a sarcastic remark, or crack a joke, that too can become part of the public record, whether or not you want. Make sure you’ve covered your five major points, and feel free to go back over information you’ve already covered.

Relax & Breathe
Before you have to take that phone call from the radio station, or go on live TV to chat with a reporter, take a moment, and collect yourself. A little adrenaline is a good thing, but too much can leave you tongue tied! Take 10… yes ten… deep breaths, allowing your heart rate to slow down, and allowing your voice to sound clear and calm.

Most importantly, don’t forget to SMILE!

Whether it’s an audio clip on the radio, or a full segment on a morning show, people can see AND hear your smile! Bringing enthusiasm to your interview is infectious and will keep the audience engaged in your message.

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