How to Navigate Media Interviews Successfully

By Rob Sabo | Posted September 11, 2012

For some small business owners, speaking on the record during television interviews or with print media is simple. For others, it can be daunting -- especially during television interviews, where every nuance of your speech is recorded and run during the nightly broadcast.

But there's no need to stress. These five steps will help you shine when the media interviews you about your business or industry.

5 Media Interview Tips for Small Business

1. Remember the Three Cs

Composure, conviction and conversation. Do your best not to get swept up in the moment. Remember, you control the outcome of this meeting. Speak informally but firmly. Media representatives want to hear what you have to say because you are the expert. Share insight into how and why you have grown, and the challenges you have overcome along the way.

2. Finish Your Thoughts

It might sound like odd advice, but finishing your sentences is key. Print and television journalists take only the most essential elements from their interviews to strengthen their stories. Use complete sentences to provide them with better sound bites or quotes.

3. Don't Take the Reporter's Knowledge for Granted

This is especially important if you work in a technical field that most people don't fully understand. Don't clog a reporter's notebook with hard-to-comprehend technical details. Instead, begin at a basic level and supply reporters with as much detail as possible to help ensure they get the story right. It's perfectly OK to stop the interview and talk "off the record" to share insight that you don't want in a story. Make sure the cameras and recorders are off, though.

4. Stick to Your Main Points

Reporters ask a lot of questions -- don't let the interview get off track. Know beforehand the main items you would like to address, and use your answers to lead or steer the reporter in that direction. Also, reiterate your main points at least once to drive them home.

5. Dress the Part

For television interviews, wear company-branded clothing or solid colors. Avoid stripes and plaid clothing.


Keep these points in mind to help you look and sound better during the interview process. However, like most things, there's no substitute for real-world experience. Once you have given a few interviews, the process usually becomes much easier.

Lastly, make sure to nurture your relationships with members of the press -- they could reach out to you again for future articles and provide you with an excellent source of free exposure that could help your business grow and gain new customers.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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