Media Interview feature

First Media Interview for a While? Our Basic Checklist

‘I have been media trained but it was a long time ago. The trouble is I only talk to the media once or twice a year. I have forgotten most of the do’s and don’ts.’

We hear this all the time and while, of course, you would be better off having a quick media training refresher session (we can do 2 hours online, often at short notice), here is a list of things to bear in mind.

  1. Don’t wing it! Set aside an hour or two to work out what you want to say. If you have been trained by us draw a Message House and consider the content for each of the boxes.Media Interview
  2. If you have PR support, do not fly solo. Professional PR people know the journalists and the landscape. It is their job to make sure you are prepared and mitigate any risks.
  3. Ask who is the journalist? And who is he or she writing for, or broadcasting to? Once that is clear you should ask yourself what useful information or insight you can provide for that audience. Journalists are not there to do your advertising for you, but if you share useful insights, you and your company will win valuable publicity.
  4. Look for evidence for what you are saying. This is what PR people call the proof points. It may be facts and numbers, or it may be anecdotal evidence. Ideally, you will have both. For example, if you have spotted a new trend, have you got numbers to evidence the change, but also can you give one example or tell one story that illustrates it?
  5. Once you are clear on the substance of your interview, check the language. Journalists hate jargon and technical language. You will get better coverage and be invited back if you keep it simple.Media Interview
  6. Consider whether there are any likely difficult or unhelpful questions. Plan the answer to these. It’s important to consider the wider context: what else is going on in your company or your industry? Has your boss been fired? Has a competitor launched a new product? You may not want to answer these questions but you should at least consider how you will respond. Always be prepared to say (where appropriate) ‘That is not my area of expertise’ or ‘That is not a question for me’.
  7. Once you are in the interview, be on the lookout for journalists putting words into your mouth. It is best practice not to agree or repeat the quotable language they offer you.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive, and would not be useful if you are considering a particularly difficult or negative interview. But it is a solid starting point for most trade press interviews or similar low-risk encounters.

If you would like to discuss Media Training with us, either online or in-person phone +44 (0)20 7099 2212 or email

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