Media Training: How To Prepare for A Media Interview

Media Training: How To Prepare for A Media Interview

Seriously, who couldn’t use a little bit of free publicity, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re a C-Suite executive, small business owner, or a solo-preneur, for one reason or another the media will come calling…and you need to be prepared to face them. A good interview will help you to put your message “out there”. The bonus is that it’s free publicity!

An Interview Is Forever

It doesn’t matter how good you are at speaking one-on-one or to a group of people in the boardroom. When the lights come on or the microphone is put in front of you, doing an interview is a whole different ballgame. What you say during your interview and how you say it will be forever in the public record as a video or audio recording that can be played back and used whenever the broadcaster sees fit so be prepared.

The 7 Keys to A Killer Interview

Here are 7 key things to remember as you prepare for and execute your media interview:

  1. People relate to real people so be natural, be your self.
  2. Relax. In some circumstances easier said than done I know but relaxing will help you be attentive and in the moment.
  3. A way to be sure you’re relaxed is to be prepared. Know the subject you’re being interviewed about by reviewing notes and documents.
  4. In order to get the most out of your chance in the spotlight, prepare 3 or 4 key messages you want to incorporate into the interview. Have those 3 or 4 points printed out on a single sheet of paper large enough for you to see easily.
  5. Speak your audience’s language by not using industry jargon that they won’t know.
  6. Keep your sentences short and to the point. It will help your audience follow you and depending on how the interview will be used, will make it easier for the editor to pull “sound bites” ensuring a longer shelf life to your interview.
  7. No matter how ill prepared a reporter may seem to be or doesn’t appear to understand the subject matter, never get angry or speak in a condescending tone. This is your time to shine so be gracious.

Bonus

An important extra point is that you can be in control of the interview. Don’t feel that you need to stick to what your interviewer is asking. If the reporter doesn’t bring up the key points you want to make do the old politician switch-a-roo. Acknowledge the question by saying “that’s an interesting question but…” and then adding the point you want to make.

Not All Interviews Are Alike

Of course, there are different reasons you may be asked to speak with the media and each should be prepared for differently. If you need help preparing for your interview I’d love to help, just send me a note or call me at one of my numbers above.

A Final Thought

When I worked in radio I knew that I was only as good as my last break and that my audience was continually tuning in and out, so I made every break count and you need to do the same. Remember, first impressions are lasting impressions so assume that every time you do an interview that it’s a completely new audience and a new set of people you’re meeting for the first time, make it count.

 

How To Create A Public Relations Action Plan for Non Profit Organizations

How To Create A Public Relations Action Plan for Non Profit Organizations

public relations for non profit organizations

I was recently asked to help a non profit organization create a public relations action plan that they could implement on their own without the use of a PR firm.

Here’s what we did.

There are 2 distinct stages to creating a public relations action plan

  1. setting the groundwork and
  2. executing the plan

 

Stage 1 – Setting the Groundwork

There are 7 steps to building the foundation to your public relations action plan. Do not skip any step or do it only halfway. All of the organization’s leaders need to be involved in this stage in order to come to an unambiguous foundation to build on. I suggest a meeting dedicated to this one task.

1.Who Are You Talking To?
First, define who your end audience is, that is to say who the press will be talking to on your behalf. This will help guide the way you personalize your message. In the case of the non profit organization that I developed the plan for it was two fold: (a) the current members and (b) the members of the general public. The messages they send out to both groups isn’t always the same.

2. What’s Your Message?
Establish the message that you’re trying to disseminate. I know it sounds counter intuitive but don’t talk about your non profit organization, talk about what it does for the community. Your message should serve the needs of your audience…not your non profit organization.

3.Define Your Goal
Define the goal for your public relations efforts. What are you expecting to happen, what will your organization gain? New members? Stronger community ties?

4.Define Your Method
How will you connect with your audience? Press releases aren’t enough, you need to also consider (a) holding open houses for the press to let them meet your organization members and learn more about you, (b) press conferences to make major announcements, maybe even (c) set-up a YouTube channel and start creating video content to get your message out. Plus, it goes without saying that you’ll need to have a website.

5.Assemble Your Press Kit
It doesn’t matter what kind of public relations you’re doing you must have a digital press kit, with high resolution photographs (300dpi) of the leaders of your group and/or your group doing their activity along with documents that explain your organization and its mission. This will need to be on hand to give out at a moments notice. I would also suggest having hard copies of your press kit to hand out but in todays digital age you will use them less often.

6.Who Are Your Media Contacts
Create a list of all the media contacts relevant to your message (print, TV and radio), in your geographic region. These can be purchased. Keep this list updated and refined. For example, if your non profit organization is dedicated to classic cars, don’t include a contact for a local cooking TV show. Also, if one of your media contacts leaves find out who has replaced them and if phone numbers or email addresses change update your info. There’s nothing worse than a list that’s gone “stale” when you have something to announce. Keep your list fresh.

7.Assign A Contact Person
Once you have established the above you’ll need to assign someone responsible for directly interacting with the media. They will need to be available for any media inquiries especially after a press release has been sent out, to co-ordinate interviews between the media and your group’s spokesperson and to set-up and host a press conference. When they are not available a back-up contact person should be assigned. Always keep the back-up contact person up to date.

 

Stage 2 – Putting the Action in your Action Plan

Once all of the above is in place, your contact person will need to reach out to everybody on the list to introduce themselves and your non profit organization in as brief a way as possible. Depending on the size of your list it may take a few weeks of phone calls and/or face-to-face meetings. Remember, first impressions are the lasting impressions when it comes to public relations.

Create a 12-month schedule of important dates for your organization that you want your audience to be aware of and plan events and/or announcements around those times. Do you do an annual oyster party…food drive? Put it on the calendar. Are you planning an open house? Put it on the calendar. Note: don’t put more on your calendar than your contact person will have time to dedicate to especially if they’re a volunteer or do this part time.

You’ll know your public relations action plan is working when the press call you for a quote on something going on in the news.

Plan a meeting to re-examine your public relations action plan and make any necessary adjustments once every 12-months.

Bottom Line
Before you can ask the media to do something for you, you need to be able to provide something for them…to become a resource for information relevant to their readers, viewers and listeners.

Be useful, be timely, be professional and you will receive the attention that your non profit organization deserves.

I look forward to answering your questions and comments below.

 

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