How To Prepare For A Media Interview

Contact Us

No one questions a football team that starts training camp two months before the season begins or a CEO who spends hours making notes and practicing before a big presentation. They’re preparing and practicing so when the big day comes, they are ready. The same is true for any interview; you need to be prepared. That’s where media training comes in. 

Be Authentic

Every word matters, and effective communication is critical when it comes to speaking to the media. In my role at Media Minefield, I have heard people say that media training will turn you into a robot. The exact opposite is true. It allows you to be your authentic self while delivering your message clearly and concisely. We’ve all seen interviews go wrong. You inadvertently say something and it gets taken out of context and posted on social media. Maybe you didn’t even realize you said it or didn’t know the reporter was already recording. Media training is about more than how and what you say—it prepares you to be your best self, teaches you how to maximize every interview and builds credibility for yourself and your organization.

Make It Count

If you get to the end of an interview, the reporter walks away and you realize you weren’t able to get your message across, you’ll probably kick yourself for wasting the opportunity. Maybe the reporter’s angle isn’t specifically about you or your business, and you’re asked to weigh in as an industry expert. Understanding how to convey your expertise and tell your story within the context of the interview will help you gain credibility and keep the media coming back.

Media training isn’t about controlling what a person says or changing the way they talk or look; it’s about refining who you are. Media Minefield Founder + CEO, Kristi Piehl, was a reporter for 12 years, has been working in PR for nearly 14 years and still gets coaching before every interview she does. Why? The game plan changes for each interview. The setting, reporter, angle and context is different every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a community newspaper or national television network, every interview should be considered important and worth your time to prepare because you never know who will see it.

Who Should Have Training?

If an interview request came into your organization tomorrow, do you know who would do it? If not, it’s time to take an honest look at your leaders and subject matter experts so you’re not scrambling to find someone on a tight deadline. When our team leads media trainings for small organizations or large companies, it’s a mix of the marketing and communications team, executives who are the face of the company and subject matter experts who can talk about specific parts of the organization. During the training, we talk about the process of what happens when a request comes in, how it’s handled and who’s helping the interviewee prep beforehand so everyone is on the same page. 

What Should Training Look Like? 

Fielding and coordinating media interviews can be daunting for those who’ve never dealt with requests before. At Media Minefield, many people on our team of experts are trained journalists. We understand how newsrooms operate, the deadlines and why reporters or producers ask certain questions. We incorporate that knowledge, along with a customized approach in every training. Every expert and brand has a different story. We want to make sure we understand you and focus on your message and differentiators during training so it feels more natural when it comes time for the actual interview.

Whether you need the basics of Media Training 101 or an in-depth 301-level course, the training has to fit who’s in the room. 

One Last Tip

While media training and crisis training aren’t the same thing, there’s value in having both. Media training is about being proactive to prevent a bad interview, and crisis training is about having a plan to react when something goes wrong. Not every member of the media is looking for that “gotcha” moment. Get a team of experts to help you understand the difference as you approach each interview.