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PR Pros, Avoid These Common Broadcast Interview Mistakes

Preparation is more than half the battle when arranging a broadcast interview for a PR client or spokesperson. Whoever your client may be – tech guru, CEO of a major consumer company or a celebrity spokesperson, there are always pitfalls to avoid! Check these out to help you prepare your PR client for a TV interview.

An interview is not a commercial.  If you convey anything of merit to your spokesperson, convey this: message delivery must be organic and natural, not obvious mentions of the product or company. It is always wise to prep your clients by having them view some great spokesperson interviews in advance as part of overall media training.

An interview is not an interrogation.  “You can’t handle the truth,” Jack Nicholson shouted famously at a climactic point in classic film “A Few Good Men.” And his verbal attack made sense in the courtroom.  But your client needs to remain even-tempered and unflappable in the face of a combative reporter.  New Jersey’s Governor Christie has had to master this in the face of “Bridgegate” often deflecting with humor, which can work quite well.

An interview is not a laundry list of messages. Don’t let your spokesperson drone on endlessly.  Prepare for the art of conversation. Lively, natural back-and-forth is a hallmark of an interesting interview, and effective media training should always stress this.

An interview (shouldn’t be) a waste of time.  In media training we tend to spend a lot of time preparing for negative or even hostile questions, but the more likely trap is the irrelevant query.  Make sure your spokesperson is prepared to segue into an appropriate response if asked an inappropriate or off-topic question. After all, he is there to share expertise, enlighten, or tell a story, not to fall down a rabbit hole.

An interview is better with storytelling. Encourage your client spokesperson to have a couple of interesting anecdotes or examples that bring your messages to life. This will engage them right away and provide a natural lead-in to a logical brand message. Make the story about the audience. In a recent piece about fashion upstart Rent the Runway, the co-founder of the company began by describing what today’s fashion-conscious consumer wants and then led into what her company provides that is different and compelling.

As any PR pro should know – effective media training will help make any interview more successful.

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