The art of media interviews is always evolving, but this year, we’ve seen changes unlike anything seen before. The priorities of every newsroom – local, national, and industry trades alike – shifted entirely, and so did their interview styles.
For executives, this meant re-learning how to ride a bike, but this time, the bike is more like a unicycle. To assist in navigating interviews during a pandemic, we’ve rounded up our top tips from the past few months. From understanding the need to remain sensitive to current events to becoming your own IT expert when experiencing difficulties with Zoom calls.
If you’ve secured an interview – congrats! That is particularly challenging this year, as the media has less time than ever before to take calls. Whether the conversation is meant to focus on your product launch, company strategy or new hires, it’s particularly important to be mindful of the state of the world as you speak.
You might be having a year of unprecedented success (congrats, again!), but don’t be boastful. Recognize the challenges of the year and be thankful for the opportunities your company has been lucky to have. Remain humble, never opportunistic, to position yourself as a personable leader.
RESPECT THEIR TIME
Remember what we’ve said above about reporters being short on time? Respect that! Use the allotted time to provide them with true value that only you can offer, and let them get back to work when the agreed-upon time is up. This respect only strengthens a relationship with a reporter and may ensure they think of you fondly when considering interview subjects for future, related stories.
While you might have done your fair share of video interviews pre-COVID-19, now is the time to ensure you’re doing all you can to make remote interviews just as high-quality as an in-person one.
This is particularly important if it’s a broadcast interview as we expect the media to continue to record Zoom calls to air on TV. If this is the case, be sure to dress the part as well: wear a solid top to avoid any distracting patterns, though sweatpants are perfectly acceptable.
Before you start, ensure your connection and audio are strong. We recommend using headphones with a microphone so the reporter can hear you loud and clear.
A common issue we see is a backlit interview subject; don’t be that person! Your best bet is to avoid having windows (or any bright light) in the background, but if you must, at least make sure you close your blinds.
DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
Moving to a spot in the house away from kids or pets is generally a good idea – but don’t sweat it if they make an appearance. Nearly everyone has been in the same work-from-home boat this year and understands we’re all humans with families. Who knows, maybe your pet will go viral.
While a good PR person and interviewee will always share genuine thanks after an interview, that’s especially valuable this year. It’s a tough time for all and especially for journalists, amidst a time where many are experiencing layoffs in their newsrooms. be sure to show your authentic appreciation when concluding an interview and following the call. You’ll brighten their day and can continue building that relationship.
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