Melanie Downey
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5 Simple Tips for Great Media Interviews

Twitter mistakes small businesses make

Every now and then I work with a publicity student who is hesitant about doing interviews. When I ask why, the answer is almost always the same: I’m afraid of being misquoted or saying the wrong thing.


Well, two things can help with that fear: Practice your messages, and practice your delivery.


Creating your messages is an in-depth process that should be done as part of your Brand Development. But here are some quick tips for when you’re practicing your delivery:

Need help practicing for press interviews? Here are 5 tips to get started #smallbiz #PR #entrepreneur

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  1. Speak at a good pace. Not too fast, but not too slow. How to know when you’ve got it right? Basically, you record yourself answering questions, and then watch and critique the replay. Trust me when I say that no one will be a tougher critic than you. If you speak too quickly, your words might be hard to understand or follow. Then, adjust your pace based on what you see, re-record, and re-critique. And before you know it, you’ll think you’re doing pretty great. A pro tip is to find a pace that feels just a wee bit too slow to feel natural. That will give your audience that extra second to process what you’re saying.

  2. Avoid Jargon. If your 10 year old nephew wouldn’t understand it, you can assume your audience won’t either. Keep your soundbites short, simple, and sweet. Because if the average person won’t be able to understand what you’re saying, you can pretty much bet a reporter isn’t going to quote you saying it.

  3. Speak in soundbites. Take your messages and condense them down into the simplest statements.

  4. Pay attention to your interviewer. Are they understanding what you’re saying? Do they seem confused? If it’s an interview for print, and the reporter is taking notes, are they struggling to keep up? If you’re not sure, feel free to ask.

  5. Remember that “Off the record” doesn’t really mean anything. Anything you say to a reporter is fair game. If you don’t want to see it in print, don’t say it.

These tips just touch the surface of how to conduct your own DIY media training. To learn more about how to develop your brand messages, speak to your audience, pitch the press, and get known, click here to sign up for The Publicity Workshop wait list. (Registration opens in August, and I'm offering a special pre-launch discount for anyone on the list.)

About the Author Melanie Downey

I'm Melanie Downey, small business brand innovator and public relations expert. I like to teach and write about what I've learned in 20 years working in brand development, PR, and marketing. And when I'm not doing that, I cook, drive my kids around, hang out with my hairless dog, Penny, and practice playing my ukulele.

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