Free Ultimate Guide to Mastering Press Interviews: Preparation

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Preparing for Press Interviews 

Whilst press interviews can be daunting for many, they often present an opportunity for you to promote yourself or your company with great effect.

A good interview can propel you into the spotlight. 

A great interview will grant you significant, positive PR and personal accreditation. 

Mastering the press interview is a important step for any person or company aiming to succeed. Our founder, media expert and award-winning tech journalist Dan Ilett is here to explain how to prepare for every interview opportunity with topics drawn from his FREE media coaching course. 

Here are the key elements that you need to understand.


How Journalists Think and What They Want

Something you have to recognise is how a journalist functions. 

Every journalist is motivated by what makes a good story; how they can they sell the story to the public; and how they can present the story in the most efficient and interesting manner.

Many interviewing journalists will be graduates, fresh out of university with a point to prove. 

What this means is that they need the best possible story from you or your company that will engage their audience, whether it’s positive for you or negative.

The nature of news has changed and it is about consumption of what’s relevant on the day in an easily digestible and contemporary format.

What you have to realise as the interviewee, is that you are not simply talking to the journalist in front of you, but rather to the audience of the story itself.

It will be down to you to determine the quality and content of that story through immediate and effective preparation.


How to Prepare Effectively and Efficiently 

The journalist acts as a conduit for an audience, so you have to establish and identify how to interest and engage with them to present ‘your’ news story. 

  • Identify the publication and mode of communication. Is it an interview with a print or digital news publication, or perhaps it’s for a blog or academic organisation? Do they want to write a news or feature article, or is this a recorded audio or video interview? 
  • What works has the interviewer written and how do they conduct their interviews? Explore published works through the relevant news outlet to see how they communicate with and question their subject and readers.
  • Have people heard this story or information before? It’s important to establish new and contemporary information that can engage with an audience to maximum effect. 
  • Develop your key points and messages. Journalists won’t pay attention to waffle so it’s a necessity that you know what you want to talk about and how you are going to talk about it. 

Through these processes, you can identify the factors that can affect the interview; establishing how to present a clear message by creating an interview framework.


Establishing an Interview Framework. 

Not many people can give a spontaneously charismatic and spirited interview. 

You just need to make sure have to say the right things in the limited time you have. It is essential that you get straight to the point when giving an interview and don’t wait for a conclusion. 

Try and make this only one key sentence. Make it short; make it snappy; make it significant!

Then, establishing the core of your message is essential and will provide a body to your news story.

Try and give three subpoints and back up each with three pieces of evidence. This includes statistics and research to present yourself as valid and reliable; and an anecdotes as to why you are so passionate about the subject in question. 

When giving interviews, it is important to try follow and this framework as this will enable you to effectively and efficiently present your story to the journalist, and you can navigating back to this framework when questions get difficult! 


Every Word Counts! 

Some companies will bring in a team of PR’s to monitor or analysis how you conduct yourself, or you might not have one at all. 

It is important to ensure that you are saying the right thing and not wing it as to get yourself or your company into trouble. 

Ensuring you are prepared might seem obvious yet so many people fail to realise this. It can count for or against you on your rise to the top as to how effectively you prepare and give your interview. 


Tune into our blog next week to read more on media interview techniques and how to master press interviews.


For a more in-depth discussion on how to become a media interview veteran, you can download Dan Ilett’s full 45-minute masterclass by entering your name and email here:

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Dan Ilett is an award-winning finance, technology, and environmental journalist with almost 14 years experience, and is an expert in leading teams in global brand marketing and digital product delivery. 

Having written for several world-renowned publications including the Financial Times; the Daily Telegraph; and the New York Times; he has amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience that has developed to become Erbut Media Training. Erbut and its media coaches exist to help clients communicate better with top-level and trade media. 

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