Many of these tips might seem to be common sense but can be forgotten in the midst of a deadline.
Take a look at the following tips and increase your interview to quote conversion.
- Be prepared: know the topic and prepare accordingly. You likely won’t get a manifesto that tells you all you need to know about the story, but thinking carefully about the information you do receive and planning accordingly can help.
- Be insightful, informative and helpful. This is interviewing 101.
- Understand the dynamics of dual agendas: yours and that of the journalist.
- Come with ideas. Again, the reporter has an agenda; you have an agenda. If the topic is outlined by the reporter, it doesn’t mean the conversation must only pertain to that topic. You can bring in related ideas and other story topics if and when asked if there’s anything to add.
- Speak clearly and concisely.
- Use simple terms with the aim to be understood. If the reporter doesn’t understand you, sometimes they’ll probe deeper for comprehension but more often than not, they’ll simply thank you for your time then not use the information provided. An added risk is if they don’t understand but use your comments anyway, incorrectly or out of context.
- Be available: in this 24 hour news cycle, the deadline is often yesterday. In my 15 years in media relations, I’ve found that the quicker you are to respond, the more likely you’ll be interviewed and as such be quoted in the story.
- Be quotable. Duh, right? Think about how to be visual and memorable in what you say. Consider analogies and anecdotes.
- Really listen and then respond. Sources sometimes anticipate the end of the question and jump in before the journalist has the opportunity to complete the sentence. This can lead to misunderstanding.
- Be gracious when you’re not quoted. No matter how well you think the interview went, 100% interview to quote conversion doesn’t exist. Focus on the broader relationship and look ahead to future opportunities.
Want to practice these techniques or enhance your current media interviewing skill set? SunStar’s media training and message development workshop can amplify your interview experience. Click here for more information.