Mastering media interviews: common mistakes and how to avoid them

Media interviews offer social enterprises, charities, and values-based businesses a platform to share their positive impact, lobby for change and connect with new supporters and customers.

With the right know-how, media interviews can be an enjoyable experience (honestly!).

To make sure you’re smiling at the end of your media interview, understand the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Lack of Preparation: The age-old cliche “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” couldn’t be more relevant to media interviews. One of the biggest blunders – and causes of fear – in media interviews is inadequate preparation. To avoid this, research the interviewer, the outlet, the context of the interview and anticipate potential questions. Rehearse your key message matrix (learn more about this in our online or in-person training), making sure you’re comfortable with the content.

Rambling/going off-message: Media interviews are usually 30 seconds to a few minutes long, so it is critical that you use that time wisely to get your message across in the most succinct, impactful way possible. Avoid lengthy, complex answers or overly formal language. That’s not to say you should avoid sharing an inspiring story – but make sure it is concise, conversational and includes your key messages.

Neglecting the Power of Stories: Stats and facts play their role in any media interview: bring them to life with a story to leave a lasting impression on your audience. Share real-life stories that showcase the heartwarming and human-interest aspects of your work. Paint a vivid picture of the positive change you’re creating, while linking to your key messages.

Not mentioning your organisation’s name or call to action: It may sound simple, but when faced with an opening question such as “Tell us what you do”, it is amazing how many interviewees respond to this with no mention of their organisation’s name! Equally important is the need to end your answer with a call to action: what action do you want the audience to take as a result of your interview? Do you want them to visit your website to join the campaign, attend an event, buy a product or donate? The key message matrix will help you to stay on track and make sure you include those all-important calls to action- you can get your hands on this tool in our online or in-person training.

These common mistakes are easy to make – and easy to avoid when you know how. Embrace the opportunity to shine in the media spotlight and get in touch if you would like more tips and training.