The media interview is often a challenging, yet necessary, and often a very rewarding experience, for those involved with marketing - yet each interview needs to be well managed and prepared for...
Following are six key strategies needing special management prior to and during the interview.
The case study below is relevant for most professional and business media interviews but is based on the school situation.
1. Be well prepared!
The media interview is a very important means of getting your message across to an outside media outlet. Again - Be well prepared! (This can never be repeated enough!)
The interview is usually conducted by a journalist at the school. Sometimes over-the-phone interviews occur.
2. Who is interviewed?
Students are mostly interviewed. Sometimes the Principal and various staff members may be interviewed. Often the School Marketing Manager (SMM) will be interviewed but this is mainly as a result of clarification being needed by the journalist for a particular story or upcoming interview.
The SMM may be asked to give quick quotes for the completion of a story or for an addition to a news story requiring a school's input. The SMM may need to seek the Principal's input for these types of quotes. The SMM may need to obtain a quote from the Principal.
3. Preparation for the interview
School representatives need to be well prepared for any interview. If possible, practice interviews should be conducted before the journalist arrives. The SMM should pre-empt possible questions for those being interviewed.
Even if the interviewee is the only person who knows the detail being sort, the SMM's preparedness is required. Go over with the interviewee what the procedure will be and possible questions. The SMM needs to build confidence in the person about to be interviewed. This is best done through thorough preparation. People feel more confident when questioned on areas for which they are prepared.
Prior to the journalist arriving, the SMM should make firm plans with those to be interviewed to meet at a designated time and at a designated place. This allows the SMM to ascertain whether everyone is present and if any last minute change of arrangements is required.
4. 3-4 Key Points
Concentrating on the key 3-4 points you want to get across is often the best and easiest way of approaching the preparation and interview. However, it is also necessary to try and pre-empt possible 'curly' questions and develop possible responses.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Sometimes the journalist is late. This is unfortunate; however it is best to make plans to suit the journalists for as soon as they are able to arrive. This sometimes causes great inconvenience to the school, interviewees and SMM. Sometimes either the journalist or photojournalist arrives at different times. This is not usually a problem as it is possible to start with just one present.
6. Conducting the Interview:
• The SMM would meet the journalist and often a photojournalist at the School Office. Welcome them appropriately and have them sign in. They may need to wear school endorsed name tags while in the school grounds.
• Offer them a non-alcoholic drink.
• Have a predetermined venue on offer, whether indoors or outdoors depending on the nature of the story and weather conditions at that moment. Offer this suggestion to the journalist who will usually accept.
• Have a chat about where you are about to go, the interviewees involved and any restrictions e.g. time restrictions that may be apparent.
• The SMM then takes the journalists and interviewees to the selected venue/s.
• If some photos are being taken at the same time as some interviews, the SMM will need to arrange for another well informed staff member to assist the photojournalist.
• The SMM, or any designated staff member, should usually remain with the journalists until they leave the school grounds.
A successful media interview is both rewarding for those from the school interviewed and the school itself. Being well prepared is an absolute necessity. Being able to turn a negative into a positive is exceptionally rewarding. Remember to try and concentrate on your 3-4 key points, however difficult this may
The 'Managing the Media Interview - 6 Key Strategies' blog post was written by Bryan Foster, author of School Marketing Manual for the Digital Age (3rd ed), (2011) - the paperback and ebook manual for school communications and marketing personnel - 340 pages of easy to read and implement summarized points - allowing for a considerably large number of quality strategies and examples to be detailed - with copyright remaining GDPL. Book available from Amazon.com and Createspace.com