Getting quoted in the news media is a great way to build your credibility and business. Getting a reporter or writer to call is only the first step, though– if you botch the interview, the reporter is unlikely to quote you or call you again. Here are five tips to help you with interviews.
1. Be professional. Approach interviews with the same professionalism as any business meeting. Be punctual and don’t keep the reporter waiting on the phone or in person. Eliminate potential distractions like your cell phone or e-mail alerts that might pop up during the interview.
2. Use a landline. Some of my sources insist on using their cell phone or technology like Skype for the interview. The problem with this is that the voice quality is unpredictable. If you want to be sure that your message comes across clearly, use only landlines for your phone or radio show interviews.
3. Prep but don’t overdo it. Occasionally a reporter on a deadline will call you seeking an interview immediately. In most cases, though, you can ask for a callback and I recommend you do so. Ask for details about the story: theme, angle, etc. This helps you focus your thoughts and lets you jot down key points you want to convey. Don’t over-prep, though, or your responses will sound canned. Writers want conversational quotes, not speeches, so limit your preparation to notes instead of full-blown text.