How to Ace Your Media Interview

Aditi Khemka| June 26, 2020

Appearing as a thought leader on a topic beneficial to your business within national or regionally-based print, TV or online business media can do amazing things for your business and brand  – it:

  • Solidifies your stance as the local expert: As an agent, you are one of the most informed and influential members of the community. You also have access to key economic data, neighborhood connections, insights on schools and restaurants, and an understanding of local government and business climate; the media value that highly. Reporters need those insights everyday. 
  • Amplifies your marketing efforts: The more media coverage you secure, the more he third-party validation you recieve 
  • Helps grow your business: All of the third-party validation you gather helps you gain substantial credibility in the marketplace to convey trust and catch the attention of more leads.

Like all things, mastering media interviews takes thoughtful preparation and commitment. Here are eight essential tips to get you started; practices that, once implemented, will provide the most value for your brand in the news.

Research

Begin with researching the media outlet, reporter and the kind of audience it caters to. Doing this ahead of the time will also give you confidence, taking away the pre-interview anxiety. 

“Whether you’re responding to a reporter or proactively reaching out, you want to be familiar with their recent stories, said Darryl Frost, director of public relations, Keller Williams. “By reviewing a reporter’s recent coverage, you can accurately predict the questions you will receive, the slant and tone of the coverage and expectations on how your brand will also be covered.”

Prepare for the questions. 

Most of the time, a reporter will notify you about the format of a news TV interview or the context of a print or online story. Expect an email with a set of questions ahead of time. Ask for basic questions to expect as you don’t proactively receive them. Always make sure that you review the questions and prepare talking points. 

As a baseline, decide on your three main talking points you want to convey to the media; use those as a foundation of all other soundbites you share and bridge back to them ongoing during an interview, no matter what questions are asked.

Provide value to the audience. 

Formulate a story that reflects immediacy, is relevant or inspirational or different. Make sure to include data points to ensure your story is the most compelling. Always enter any media opportunity from a place of service, and share your best tips, strategies and ideas. Consider how your thoughts will resonate with the audience. 

“It’s so important to approach media opportunities from contribution,” shares Frost. “Keep it top of mind in all your talking points – what can I say in this news story to better our community – to draw us toward a more positive future.”

“And, to best illustrate your main points, use data from your business’ production and the local housing market’s moves,” said Frost. “Data will best prove the insights you’re offering and show your viewpoint is informed.”

Turn off distractions. 

During an interview, be totally present in the moment and focus on the questions. Imagine talking to a live audience. Turn off any background noise or distractions. Go into a quiet room. 

Familiarize yourself with the technology. 

Ask ahead of time how and if the interview will be recorded. For example, as the interview is being recorded on Zoom, learn how to change the settings for the most optimal sound quality. It may be worth investing in a good-quality external microphone too. 

“Due to COVID, many media interviews are now happening over video teleconferences services,” Frost continues. “And, keep in mind, print reporters will use services like Zoom sometimes to connect better with you over an interview. They may not use the live interview footage in their final interview.”

“Always ask how the recording will be used,” said Frost. “To prepare for any broadcast TV interviews or for a Zoom-based media interview that will be included in an online media story, you’ll want to practice your talking points in front of a camera, record yourself and review it after. You want to ensure your body language matches the tone you want to convey during the interview.” 

As you conduct a phone media interview, ensure that the receiver is near your jaw line and not in front of the mouth. This placement will ensure avoiding hisses and breathing noises. And, remember to find a quiet area for best results. 

Be yourself. 

Be the best version of yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other business spokespeople in your preparations. The most important thing is to focus on the power of your message and be of the most value to an audience in your own genuine way. Focus on speaking more slower and clearer.

To give off a warm and relaxed disposition, remember to:

  • Sit up straight
  • Smile
  • Lean forward slightly

Even though people can’t see you in a radio or podcast interview, they sense you, your feelings and your energy. If you talk with a frown, it’s conveyed to listeners. A happy, cheerful attitude will capture an audience better, Frost reminds.

“Agents do a wonderful job of marketing themselves. But oftentimes, the media component is altogether missing. When people see you commenting on business growth, real estate issues and housing trends, your brand as a local expert gets stronger. The media is your LEVERAGE to tell your story.”

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