As a busy media training course director, the most important thing I find to get across to our delegates is the fact that a media interview is not something to be frightened of. It is an opportunity for you to speak to a broad audience about your messages.
Whether you have been asked to respond to a reactive situation or you have managed to get an interview off the back of stellar PR work from the press team, you have a fantastic opportunity to tell people what you think they need to hear.
How much money would a 3 minute radio ad cost during an LBC breakfast programme, or a 30 second ad on Sky News? How many people would be involved in preparing those and how much time would be spent ensuring that it was completely right for that audience at that time?
Now, not everyone has that time to put into every interview they do, but preparation is key to making sure that no matter what comes your way in terms of questions, you will always be able to stay in control of the interview and get across what you wanted to say.
Each media opportunity should be approached differently, for example, the Evening Standard paper in London is going to have a very different audience and readership to the Daily Mail and the Today Programme will require a different preparation to an interview on a regional BBC midmorning phone-in show. Research and an understanding of what you will be appearing on/in is essential in getting the right tone for the interview.
How many times have you listened to politicians being interviewed and wanted to throw your shoe at the radio/tv because they are not answering the question! Gordon Brown’s latest tangle with Sky’s Adam Boulton is a classic example of how a media interview can go wrong if you do not stay in control or acknowledge the question being asked.
We will see what the damage will be from that interview, and the subsequent one for the BBC, but it shows that no matter how experienced you are, you can never let your guard down in front of the camera!
Post by Suzy Richards (Head of Training for TNR Communications)