If you publish Authoritative Content online, it’s likely that you’ll be contacted at some time by someone who wants to interview you as a story source. If your content is high quality, your reputation will grow. It’s only a matter of time until you start receiving interview requests. You need to be prepared, so you can give a great interview that actually helps you, the publication interviewing you, and that publication’s audience.
The sooner you start practicing your interviewing skills, the better prepared you’ll be when those requests start rolling in. Following are five tips you can follow to make sure you’re always ready to give a great interview.
1. Know the story audience.
Where will the story you’re being interviewed for be published? What audience will see it and where? Your answers to questions asked during an interview are likely to change based on the audience that will read, see or hear it. Make sure you ask the interviewer to describe the audience for the interview and where it will be published.
Also, do your own research to learn as much as you can about the publication and audience before the interview. In other words, visit the website, review the Facebook Page, subscribe to the newsletter, and so on to get as much information as you can. Your interview answers will be better, the audience will be more satisfied (and impressed by you), and the interviewer will be more likely to contact you again in the future if your answers are well-targeted to the correct audience.
2. Prioritize your talking points.
Ask the interviewer to specify the topics they want to discuss with you and what kinds of information they’re hoping you can provide to their audience. With that direction in mind, identify and prioritize your most important talking points related to those topics. These are the points you want to practice and make sure you can weave into your responses to questions, regardless of how those questions are asked.
You should constantly look for ways to inject your talking points into your answers. By identifying them and practicing discussing them in advance, it will be much easier for you to take control of the interview and ensure those points are discussed.
3. Identify your sound bites.
Sounds bites are phrases, snippets, or quotes from your interview that are buzzworthy. These are the quotes that will be highlighted in the published interview, tweeted, shared, and talked about. Identify your most important messages (try to have a few prepared), and look for opportunities to include them in your responses. Even a boring interview can become viral when it includes a hot sound bite.
At the same time, try not to unintentionally create sound bites that you don’t want to spread during your interview. Some perfect examples come from the last U.S. Presidential Election. It’s safe to assume that Mitt Romney wishes he could take back sound bites like “binders full of women” and “49%.” Try not to make the same sound bite mistakes in your interviews.
4. Practice redirecting and staying on message.
Frequently, an interview can go astray. If you let the conversation go off on an irrelevant tangent, you’ll lose opportunities to communicate your talking points and sound bites. Take some time to practice segueing back to the topic at hand, so you’re prepared if the interview goes off course.
Not all interviewers are skilled interviewers, so don’t be afraid to take control of the conversation and redirect it back to the original purpose and message. The audience will surely appreciate it.
5. Always prepare for negative questions.
It’s better to prepare for the worst than it is to be unprepared. You won’t get a second chance to answer an interview question, so don’t let yourself be blindsided by an unexpected question or a negative question. Prepare responses for the worst possible questions you can think of and hopefully, you’ll never have to use those answers.
Image: Silvio Lacerda