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The 10 point interview checklist

A journalist may come to you for a variety of reasons, you may be an expert in your field, you may have strong views on  a certain topic, or be someone who has given a good story in the past.

Whatever it is, it is really important that you try and help them where you can and provide exactly what they are looking for. The reward? You and your company's name in print, serving as a reminder to all existing customers and a strong attraction to any new ones.

However never be tempted to agree to an interview without deciding if its something you want to do, thinking what you are going to say and preparing some key messages.

Below is my ten point checklist for ensuring you don't get caught out.

1. Who is calling you?

2. Who do they work for?

3. Where will the story appear?

4. Why are they calling you? Remember there will always be a reason.

5. Have they or will they be talking to anyone else, and if so what did they say?

6. Have they spoken to your PR or Communications department? If not then you must do it before agreeing to be interviewed.

7. Are you the right person to be giving the interview? If not offer the journalist contact details of someone who can help.

8. What do they want to know and how much do they know already?

9. When is their deadline?

10. Never ever go "off the record". A journalist is always on duty.



What journalists want

When I am working with corporate clients many of them ask me the simple question, "what do journalists want when they come to me for an interview"?

I tell them the answer is very simple, they want a story.

But in order to guarantee you tell that story well you need to go further, and provide all the elements to the story, presenting it in a way the audience will understand and delivering those facts with energy and enthusiasm.

Every interview is made up of the same basic components, who, what, why, where, when and how or how much. If you take a look at any story in any newspaper you will see that every single one is made up of these basic ingredients, and all normally within the first paragraph. To ensure a journalist uses your interview then you must provide them with all these basic elements, otherwise they will go elsewhere to fill in the holes. Specialist Crisis Media Training Most importantly remember that every interview is a performance.Journalists want to speak to people who talk with passion, conviction, humanity and who don't ramble. Remember that an interview is a conversation and like in any conversation you don't want to appear boring or dull.

The story must also be relevant to the journalists audience. It is no good talking in detail about a local issue to a national journalist or details about a new IT product to a recruitment magazine. Always try to picture the journalists viewers or readers and then talk their language.

So here are my top five tips for giving journalists what they want

1. Give them a good story

2. Provide all the elements to the story, Who, What, Where, When, Why, How and often How Much

3. Speak with passion, energy and enthusiasm

4. Make it relevant to their audience

5. Be polite and help them if necessary

Test 1


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