The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When You Undertake a Media Interview

I have highlighted how to prepare for a media interview a few times on this site and on my YouTube Channel and wanted to drill down on a major mistake that people make when they undertake a media interview.

Many people get very excited about the possibility of being featured by the press, particularly popular mainstream media outlets with, what is often perceived as having, wide reach. There is a reason why I have mentioned perceived here – but I will come back to this point further on in this piece. The excitement is justified and often quickly dampened by nerves or fear which is why preparation is essential – there are plenty of videos, blogs and courses that you can find which can help you with your media training needs. As an entrepreneur or professional who has been invited to speak on behalf of a business brand or for your expertise & personal brand – media training is essential.

But once you have undertaken media training or at least prepped for your interview what is the biggest mistake you can make when you undertake a media interview?

Not understanding the media itself. Undertaking an interview without understanding the dynamics and layers of media that exist means that you are not only limiting the impact of your message but you’re also misunderstanding the strategic value of media placements as a whole.

2020 PESO Model Graphic via Spin Sucks

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The PESO (Paid Earned Shared Owned) model illustrates the broad scope of the media. It’s not as simple as simply being featured on something and leaving it to chance or anticipating that because a platform has a large following or is well known that it will immediately make a difference to your reputation and brand positioning. There is a perception that being featured on a big media platform like the BBC or CNN for example will automatically reach your core audience but if you do not understand the media or understand the people you want to reach (customers/clients/stakeholders) then being featured by one of these media outlets will have little impact on your long term goals. By understanding different types of media and aligning your media relations strategy with your overall business strategy you might find that it makes more sense to focus your efforts on niche, targeted media or in fact building your owned media catalogue of content.  If you don’t understand how earned media overlaps with shared media you might find that you’re not taking into consideration how your words (audio/written) will be shared or how you can share your interview/feature for your own content creation purposes.  Media exposure is great but it is really only as good as your strategy otherwise it is an ego-driven exercise for vanity metrics.

So remember that understanding the media is just as, if not more important than getting featured in the media itself.

You can order my eGuide on how to prepare for a media interview here.

How to Prepare For Your First Media Interview

Being invited to undertake a media interview in whichever form it takes is very exciting and it means your media relations strategy is working but quite often people do not prepare in a way that allows them to make an impact with their interview.  If you are invited to be interviewed on television, radio, magazines, blogs, podcasts or any other media platform, it is crucial that you are prepared. Many businesses and entrepreneurs seek media profiling as a way to enhance their brand visibility and credibility, so getting a media interview right can really ensure that you build your reputation within your target audience.

Before you approach any media outlet make sure that you are prepared. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for your first media interview:

Media training – it is definitely worth investing in an expert to media train you before you undertake a media interview, this is particularly important for any video or audio interview but you may find that you need to seek advice on making the most of written interviews too.  Do not underestimate the value of getting the right training before you step into the spotlight.

Be ready for the response – Remember that everything you say whether it is written or recorded can make or break your brand particularly in a digital age where interviews can have an even wider reach than ever before, you can go viral for all the right reasons or you could even have a PR crisis. Be ready for any level of exposure – good or bad. Whilst you might not become famous, there is a possibility that you might experience short term fame and so you should learn how to deal with that fame and visibility. Take the time to assess the motives of the media channel that is sharing your story or interview too; some have good intentions but some also see your story as part of their  media cycle and you should not take it personally if they do not support you after the interview.

Take a moment to review yourself – if you know that you will be the face of your business or you have become a subject matter expert in your sector then make sure you take the time to review your performance, watch/listen/read – don’t bury your head in the sand because it feels embarrassing. If you want to do better then you need to know better, and knowing better means reviewing your progress and undertaking critical analysis and being open to feedback. You should also consider investing in your personal brand and public speaking skills as they can help you when positioning yourself for media interviews.

In this video I provide even more tips and guidance on preparing for a media interview.