Recently, Ramon interviewed two entrepreneurs, but as the interviews began, it became clear that they were not yet ready to be interviewed. They weren’t prepared to speak about their business. They were unsure how to answer questions. And they could not communicate their journey and the story of the business in a positive and intriguing manner.
Interviews are not easy, especially for small business owners who are not used to being in the spotlight. However, we want to make sure the same thing doesn’t happen to you when you get media coverage! Listen to Ramon’s advice by clicking play below, then continue to three tips for preparing for a media interview.
3 Tips for Preparing for a Media Interview
1. Learn How to Tell Your Story
One of the most valuable assets you have is your business’s story, and any kind of media coverage will want to hear it. When told in the right manner, it can immediately help your audience connect with your company. John Bates, the CEO of Executive Speaking Success & Business Coaching actually does a seminar on how to tell a story like a Ted Pro. His tips include:
- Using the “5 C’s” in your story – circumstance, curiosity, characters, conversation, and conflict.
- Connecting emotionally with the audience by deciding what emotion you want to communicate to them and using information that conveys that emotion.
- Including descriptions that evoke the five senses (but don’t overdo it).
- Avoiding too much backstory and detail by starting the story in the middle.
With these things in mind, you can begin to think about your story and jot your ideas down on paper. Then practice, practice, practice! Some people are naturally better storytellers than others, but telling YOUR story is a skill anyone can learn with practice.
2. Identify Your Main Points
Telling your story is one part of media coverage, but you should also expect assorted questions that you may or may not know ahead of time. Instead of worrying about the specific questions, identify two or three main points that you want to convey during the interview. These are the ‘take home’ messages that you want listeners to leave with.
Ask yourself the question, “After this interview finishes, I want people to remember ____.” Those two or three things should be the main points that you drive home when you answer questions.
“But what if the interviewer doesn’t touch on those points?” you may be thinking. Well, in most cases, you can start by responding to a specific question and then “bridge” over to one of your main messages. For example, the owner of a small pizza restaurant may be asked: “How do you make your dough?” If one of the main messages this owner wants to communicate is the business’s commitment to customers, they might start by answering the question, “We use ingredient A, ingredient B, and ingredient C and mix them by hand.” But then they could “bridge” by telling how they got the specific formula by reviewing customer feedback and altering the recipe accordingly because “we are always listening to our customers, and we want to provide them with the best pizza in our local area.”
3. Do Your Research
Bridging over to your main points is a great way to deal with questions (especially those that catch you off guard) because you can remain confident and in control of the message you are sending to readers/listeners. That said, you should never walk blindly into an interview that has been scheduled in advance.
Do your research to find out as much as you can about the interviewer. What media entity do they work for? Who is the main audience for their content? What sort of articles does this reporter write and what questions do they typically ask? Although every Smart Hustle interview is unique, Ramon asks some basic questions regularly. If the two entrepreneurs mentioned in the introduction had done their research, they would have been prepared. Beyond Google research, you can also contact the reporter before the interview to ask about the angle and questions.
Once you’ve conducted your research, you can write down a list of known or anticipated questions and then practice, practice, practice.
As Ramon explains in the video above, it is important that you prepare for your media interview because you might only get one shot to tell your story! Follow these tips and you’ll be prepared for a successful interview the next time the media is knocking at your door.