As a business owner, you never know when you’ll be interviewed.
Most likely, it’s not something you’ve done a lot of, so the thought of talking with the media might be nerve-wracking. But whether you’re prepping for an interview you’re doing this afternoon or there is nothing on the horizon, here are some tips you’ll need to ensure you’re ready when the time comes.
And, as a franchisee, you need to be familiar with your franchisor’s protocol in terms of media interviews.
As an interview is happening, news is happening. And when news is happening, we very rarely have time to prepare. News could be as simple as a grand opening or anniversary for a community newspaper or as complex as dealing with a medical emergency at your franchise location making national headlines. Either way, the key is to be calm and informative.
Top Media Do’s:
1. Before any interview, big or small, prepare a bulleted list of your key messages. Limit your list to no more than five key messages, so they’re easy to remember.
2. When the interview is taped it’s okay to ask the reporter if you can re-do your answer once or twice … but don’t go overboard with the request.
3. When interviewing on camera, make eye contact with the reporter, not the camera. Let technology eavesdrop on your conversation.
4. Be personable, be informative, but also be succinct.
5. Spit out your gum.
Top Media Don’ts:
1. Never, ever make up an answer. If you don’t know the answer, simply say: “I don’t know, but I will find the information and get back to you.”
2. Under no circumstances should you ever be late for an interview. Arrive to your interview spot at least 15 minutes early.
3. Don’t feel you need to fill the silence. Answer the question then allow the reporter to take notes, gather their thoughts and ask the next question.
4. Don’t try to wing it. Practice can make anything closer to perfect and the same goes for interviewing. Practice in front of a friend, a mirror or a camera.
5. Don’t fidget. No swinging around in your chair, cracking your knuckles or popping your pen. Hold still and stay focused.
Once an interview has wrapped up, it’s always good to follow up with the reporter to see if any additional information is needed.
And, once your story is live, be sure to get a copy for your files. It’s always a good idea to take a look and evaluate yourself, but also ask trusted friends to be honest. Once you identify where improvements can be made, your next interview will be even more polished.
Jenna Oltersdorf is an experienced public relations pro based in Austin, Texas. Her firm Snackbox specializes in food, consumer packaged goods and franchise media relations and social media. Client experience includes Smoothie King, The Meat House, and Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr..
For more information, visit www.snackbox.us