Preparing Clients for Media Interviews During the “New Normal”

Sep 30

Written by ls2group

Sitting down for an interview with a news reporter was stressful before the world entered a new normal. However, since COVID-19 hit, interviews have not slowed down as news stations and publications look for more content.

While some interviews are still taking place in-person or over the phone, a majority of interviews now take place over Zoom or other digital platforms. The preparation for these interviews, however, remains the same.

The first step in preparing your client for an interview is to list out potential questions the reporter could ask. This list should include obvious questions, softball questions, and the questions you don’t want to answer.

Secondly, sit down with your client and go through the questions to make sure the talking points are all aligned with what they want to say. Then, conduct a mock interview giving your client feedback on their response, tone, and eye contact.

During the interview prep, you want to make sure your client’s answers sound organic, like they are having a regular conversation with the reporter. There is nothing worse than an interview that sounds like someone is reading a script.  

Since interviews are mostly taking place via video conference, it’s okay for your clients to have talking points in front of them. However, it’s important to remind clients not to continuously look down and read from their notes. Eye contact is an important factor with all interviews and still remains key with video conferences.

A few things to keep in mind when doing virtual interviews is to check your background, lighting, and distractions. Make sure you don’t have anything obnoxious behind you. When it comes to lighting, putting a light in front of your computer will light up your face. Finally, make sure your dog isn’t barking and kids are not crying.

When it comes to in-person interviews during the COVID era, have a conversation with the reporter before the interview to see if they would like your client to wear a mask throughout the interview, or if they are okay with no mask as long as they are six feet apart. Having the conversation ahead of time will prevent any awkwardness.

Doing your due diligence to prepare your client ahead of an interview will not only make your client look good, but it will help the interview run smoothly.