Mastering The Media
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Giving a compelling interview is never easy. But there are a few tricks of the trade that can make you sound like a real professional, make the reporter’s job easier and translate into a better PR placement for you and your business.
State facts, not fiction. Proving your product is indeed the ‘best’ is next to impossible. So don’t. Simply state the specific benefits of your product and let the consumer decide. Articulate your answers with easily understood explanations and stick to the fundamentals.
If a reporter asks: ‘What’s so great about your new product?’ try to answer ‘The great thing about our product is...’ That’s much more likely to be used because it can stand on its own without needing a ‘set-up’ sentence. A reporter can throw that quote in anywhere and it is a logical, understandable statement about the product.
Keep quotes and sound bites concise and articulate. If you must have a ‘canned response’ to a question speak conversationally, not like a robot. A good rule of thumb for answer lengths is that effective TV or radio news broadcast sound bites should be around 4-10 seconds -something you can say comfortably in about two normal breaths.
Be a well, not a fountain. Allow the interviewer to dip in and draw out your responses instead of spewing forth a tirade of unsolicited information. You will seem more genuine and less self-serving if you answer the interviewer’s questions succinctly and professionally.
Speak to the interviewer, not the medium. Don’t get blinded by the stage lights. Whether you are speaking to the editor of a small town, weekly newspaper or Oprah, consider the reporter as just a single person in your extensive targeted audience. Treat the interview as a one-on-one conversation. That will make you more at ease, allow you to think more clearly and give genuine responses.