You’ve done your homework, you’ve found the right reporter, you’ve called them up on the phone, pitched your story, and now they are coming out to interview you. Now what? What do you do on air? What do you say, and where do you look?
Anticipate the reporter’s questions – Preparation for any media appearance is key. Focus on the points you want to cover, make them concise, and rehearse your answers. You will most likely have only a few minutes to get your message across, and sometimes after the story is edited, you will only have a few seconds.
Provide props – Great television stories are stories for the eyes. Provide something the reporter can describe or interact with. So if the story involves your product, plan for someone to be using it in the background.
Even if your story is in the newspaper, you should think visually. Give the reporter something vivid to describe in the article. Newspapers know a great picture can sell a lot of copies, and if your picture is good enough, it could end up on the front page.
Take a deep breath and relax – Just think of the media interview as a conversation between you and the reporter, and block out all of your thoughts about the viewers watching at home. And if you freeze up, so what? If what you are talking about isn’t too serious, laugh at yourself and continue.
Follow the reporter’s lead – Even though you should prepare for your interview, don’t focus on memorizing a script. Let the reporter ask the questions, and they will guide you through. If you are asked a question you don’t know the answer to, don’t be afraid to say so.
Look at the reporter, not the camera – This is a very common question. People don’t know whether to look at the camera or at the interviewer. The easy solution to this question is to always look at the reporter. Doing so will eliminate the confusion of which camera to look at.