Women Mean Biz

Taking Control: How To Maximise A Media Opportunity

by Clare Forestier on 3rd May 2019

So you've invested in some PR for your business and it's finally working. A newspaper or radio station is interested in your press release and wants to interview you.  You're going to be in the paper, or on the radio. Brilliant!  It is a great opportunity to get your message out there.

So what are you doing to do to maximise this amazing opportunity?

I have met so many people who say that after their first media interview they felt bamboozled by the experience, they weren't asked the right questions and they failed to make the best of the opportunity.

And the real reason all that happened was because they had not properly prepared. You need to do this because you want to control the situation; you do not want to just sit there and hope the journalist does not ask a tough question.

All the journalist you are speaking to really cares about is keeping his audience happy i.e. making sure the stuff he writes or broadcasts is relevant to them. So you need to find out the makeup of the audience of the publication or radio show you are taking part in. Make sure the stories you bridge away to will resonate with them.

And the best way to do that is by emotionally connecting with them. Notice I’m using the word ‘stories,’ because you need to be telling engaging stories that connect with people.  Use words like ‘imagine” and “picture this.” Make your audience visualise what you mean, not just tell them what you mean.

You can also keep control by using language your audience understands, not jargon. If people are wasting time trying to decipher your words they won't hear the bit you say next.

A good entertaining media interview is not a ‘question and answer’ session led by what the journalist thinks is important. Plan for it like you would an important presentation at work where you want the audience to know something about you, to take away knowledge and act on it.

When you write presentations I hope you employ some clever examples and tell anecdotes. You probably think about negative questions you might be asked afterwards, how you will address those and then how you would bridge back to what you really want to talk about. It is the same when you talk to a journalist.

Finally bear in mind that a typical radio or tv interview is usually no more than a few minutes long. We speak at three words a second so you do not have long to make your important points, so tell your best stories early as possible in the interview. Don't wait for the right questions. They might never come.


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