How to Prep a Client for a Media Interview

At Dittoe Public Relations, we offer a variety of services that all help our clients put their best foot forward in their respective industries. You may have heard us refer to media relations as our “bread and butter,” and while it falls on us to secure the opportunities for coverage, it falls on our clients to execute a great interview (with a little help from us).

 

Let me start by saying that some clients are rockstar interviewees and love an opportunity to speak with media. To those clients, we salute you.

 

To the clients that don’t love the spotlight, we feel you. There is a reason we PR pros chose to be behind the camera instead of in front of it. We know you still love your companies but add in the lights, questions and the difference between a live shot and a look-live shot and all of a sudden, the thing you do every single day – talk about your goods and services – becomes incredibly complicated.

 

That’s where Dittoe PR comes in. We’re here to guide clients through the process, even the ones that are confident in their abilities, because, let’s face it, no one can ever be over-prepared. We make sure that no matter the outlet, format or interviewer, each of our clients are ready to knock every single interview out of the park.

 

Research.

Whenever we secure an interview, the first thing we do is research both the outlet and the reporter conducting the interview. Providing a synopsis of the target market of a publication can help frame the type of conversation. Is this a national publication or a specialized trade magazine? This knowledge can help shape the direction of the interview and set expectations.

 

Prior to pitching, we research reporter bios, beats and writing history. Fast forward to securing an opportunity and this knowledge gives us a feel for how they may conduct an interview, reducing the amount of potential surprises to our clients. We share all this information with our clients, so they feel at ease with the person (and media outlet) they’re conversing with.

 

Prep.

In addition to a thorough summary of who they’re going to be talking to, we also provide our clients with a detailed analysis of what topics will be addressed in the interview. This summary includes the story angle that secured the interview as well as key messages to support the client’s side of conversation.

 

We make sure that significant stats are top of mind and offer advice on how to give the perfect soundbite. We also offer suggestions on how to deliver flawless messaging, reduce background noise in phone interviews, and how to come across like an Emmy winner when on camera. We’ll even hold media training sessions with clients, as needed, to keep interview tips and tricks top of mind.

 

Execution.

When our clients go on interviews, we go on interviews. We listen it on phone interviews to provide introductions and take note of key information and necessary follow ups. With local TV interviews or larger national interviews, we accompany clients to the station, assist in visual setup and teardown, handle any final coordination with producers and reporters, and snap behind-the-scenes footage. Often times, we’re also helping with any last-minute prep – answering questions before going live – for the reporter conducting the interviews.

 

Trust us, as badly as we want the interview to go well, reporters want it to go well even more. Knowing that we’re there to take care of any issue that might arise lets our clients know that they, and we, have the situation under control. We also are committed to being visible and build real relationships with reporters outside of our email or phone exchanges.

 

At the end of the day, talking on live television or live radio can be daunting. At Dittoe PR, we put our clients at ease and help them navigate each individual interview as it comes along, leading to spectacular segments, articles, reports and coverage of all kinds.

 

Interested in getting more media coverage for your brand or company? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com to set up a consultation and learn more about our services.

Interview Prep Sheets: Turn a good interview into a great one

While Dittoe PR offers an array of different services for clients, our bread and butter is media relations. We’re constantly working with reporters to secure media opportunities for our clients. Since we believe no two clients are alike, that also means every client interview is as important as the next. Whether it’s a small startup or a Fortune 500 company, we have found that the value of an interview prep sheet can help turn a good interview into a great one.

 

So, you’re ready to draft an interview prep sheet – now what?

 

The following items are must-haves when developing a prep sheet:

 

  • Date/time: Arguably the most important thing to include. Place this at the very top of your prep sheet, and possibly two or three more times throughout the prep sheet.

 

  • Address/call info: If the interview is taking place offsite, include the address of the location. Hyperlink the address to Google Maps, that way all the interviewee has to do to is click the link and pull up directions. If the interview is taking place over the phone, include the conference line or direct line information.

 

  • Background/opportunity: Include background information about how this opportunity was secured. Reiterate the name of the outlet, the reporter’s name and what he/she is interested in talking about.

 

  • Interview topics: List out topics the interviewee should be prepared to talk about. This information can be pretty generalized, but it gives your client a better idea on what he or she will be talking about during the interview.

 

Depending on the type of client and/or interview, you can add additional information to your prep sheet. Say the interview is with the CEO of the company and not your day-to-day contact – the CEO may want or need more information to help prepare for the interview, especially if it’s with a top-tier, national outlet. If you’re going the extra mile, these items are good to include in your prep sheet:

 

  • Type of interview: Is this a phone or in-person interview? A live or taped TV segment? Including this simple information can help your client mentally prepare for the type of interview.

 

  • Length of interview: Including the estimated length of the interview can help the interviewee plan out the rest of his or her day. It can also help interviewees map out what they are going to say and make sure they have enough content to talk about.

 

  • Reporter’s name: It’s good for the interviewee to have some background info on the interviewer. Along with including the reporter’s name, include a link to his or her bio page or Twitter. Take it a step further by including recent stories written by that reporter, too.

 

  • Potential questions/key messages: This section can be extremely beneficial. While reporters rarely share their interview questions, it’s good to include what you think could be potential questions the reporter could ask. Including key messaging can help craft answers for the potential questions, too.

 

  • Media training tips: We typically include this section for clients that may not have extensive media experience. For example, we use district sales managers at retailers across the country for local TV segments. This may be the only time a district sales manager participates in a media interview, so they may need more guidance than our day-to-day contacts. By including this section in a prep sheet, we provide a quick rundown of what to expect during the interview. We provide tips on how to dress, how to get messaging across, and how to be mindful of body language. This helps in-person interviews be more fluid and natural.

 

  • What to bring: This portion is only needed if a client is bringing something to an in-person interview. If it’s a TV segment, it’s important to have visuals for the interview. List out the items that the client needs to bring, or list out suggested options.

 

Preparing your client with the right tools and information in an interview prep sheet can make a world of difference when it comes to an interview with the media. Think your business could benefit from media relations? Contact Lauryn Gray at lauryn@dittoepr.com or request a consultation today.