media interview

10 Important Tips on How to Prepare and Nail a Media Interview

Media interviews play an integral part of your PR strategy. You worked very hard to understand the audience, then get the interview and now it’s time to execute. How do you do that, how do you make sure you get the most out of the interview and what are you supposed to do after it’s done? Everything in the following article.

What Is a Media Interview and Where does it Take Place?

A media interview is a conversation between a journalist or broadcaster and a subject considered to be an expert or have a relevant perspective on a particular topic. This conversation is then disseminated through various media channels, informing and engaging the public.


Media interviews can take place in a surprisingly diverse range of settings. The most familiar might be the bright lights and formal setting of a television studio interview. Here, the interviewee engages in a face-to-face conversation with the journalist, often with live cameras capturing the exchange. Radio interviews offer a similar dynamic, though with the absence of visuals. The interviewee might be situated in a radio booth, or the interview could even be conducted remotely over the phone.


The rise of digital media has opened doors to new interview formats. Podcasts, for example, offer a more relaxed and in-depth conversation, often with a focus on long-form storytelling. Online publications might conduct interviews via email or video conferencing platforms like Zoom.  Even social media platforms are getting in on the act, with live Q&A sessions and interview series becoming increasingly popular.

Why Should you do a Media Interview?

While media interviews can seem daunting, the potential benefits for individuals and organizations are undeniable.  Participating in a media interview can serve as a springboard to:

  • Boost Brand Awareness and Credibility: By securing media coverage, you put your name or organization in front of a wider audience. This increased exposure not only raises awareness but also establishes you as a thought leader or trusted source of information in your field. 
  • Shape Public Perception: Media interviews offer a platform to proactively communicate your message and influence public opinion. This can be particularly valuable during crisis situations or when launching a new product or initiative.
  • Drive Sales and Leads: A well-placed media interview can generate significant interest in your product, service, or cause. By effectively communicating its value proposition, you can attract new customers and leads. 
  • Build Relationships with Influencers: Media interviews connect you with journalists and industry influencers. These connections can be nurtured to develop long-term relationships that can benefit you in the future. 
  • Enhance Public Speaking Skills: Media interviews provide valuable practice for public speaking. Facing an interviewer hones your communication skills and builds confidence in delivering your message clearly and concisely.

How Long Is a Media Interview?

A media interview can range from a couple of minutes in short TV or radio interview to an hour interview in podcasts or even more.


  • Television Interviews:  The bright lights of television often translate to short and impactful exchanges.  Expect interviews to range from a quick soundbite of  1-2 minutes  to a more in-depth segment of 5-7 minutes.  The focus here is on concise and captivating delivery. 
  • Radio Interviews:  The world of radio offers a similar range, with interviews typically lasting  5-10 minutes.  However, shorter segments of 2-3 minutes are also common, especially for breaking news or traffic updates. 
  • Podcasts:  Podcasts provide more breathing room for conversation.  Interviews can range from a focused 20-minute discussion to an expansive  hour-long exploration of a topic.  The interview style and the podcast’s format will determine the length. 
  • Online publications:  Interviews for online publications can take various forms.  Email Q&A sessions might be concise, while video interviews posted online could mirror the length of television segments ( 5-7 minutes).

Beyond platform,  pre-arranged interviews  tend to allow for more flexibility in time compared to on-the-spot interviews, where time constraints might be tighter.  Additionally, the interviewer’s style can influence the duration. Some journalists might prefer a rapid-fire exchange, while others might favor a more conversational approach.


How to Prepare for a Media Interview?

Prepare you Messaging

Effective media interviews hinge on a well-defined message. This refers to the key takeaway you want the audience to remember after hearing you speak. Here’s why crafting a strong message is crucial:

  • Clarity and Focus: A clear message keeps your talking points on track and prevents rambling. You’ll come across as confident and knowledgeable. 
  • Audience Impact: By honing your message, you ensure the audience retains the most important aspects of your conversation. 
  • Controlling the Narrative: A strong message empowers you to shape public perception by emphasizing the points that matter most.

So, how do you prepare a winning message? Here are some steps:

  1. Identify the Interview’s Goal: Understanding the interview’s purpose (promoting a product, discussing a new study, etc.) helps tailor your message accordingly. 
  2. Consider Your Audience: Who are you speaking to? Tailor your language and examples to resonate with their interests and knowledge level. 
  3. Craft Three Key Points: Distill your message into three core takeaways you want the audience to remember. These will form the foundation of your responses. 
  4. Practice Makes Perfect: Rehearse articulating your key points out loud. This hones your delivery and ensures clarity under pressure.

By investing time in crafting a strong message, you lay the groundwork for a successful media interview.


Know your Stuff

Walking into a media interview feeling well-prepared instills confidence and allows you to deliver insightful responses. Here’s how to ensure you’re armed with the knowledge you need to shine:

  • Research the Topic: Deep dive into the subject matter of the interview. Familiarize yourself with relevant stats, studies, and current events to support your points 
  • Anticipate Questions: Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and brainstorm potential questions they might ask. Prepare clear and concise answers for these anticipated questions. 
  • Review Past Interviews: If possible, watch or listen to previous interviews with yourself or others on the same topic. This can help identify common questions and refine your talking points. 
  • Know Your Organization (if applicable): If representing a company or organization, be well-versed in its mission, goals, and recent developments. Be prepared to answer questions about its role in the discussion. 
  • Prepare Visual Aids (if appropriate): For certain interviews, charts, graphs, or photos can enhance your points. Ensure they are clear, concise, and visually appealing.

Remember, it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers on the spot.  The key is to demonstrate a strong understanding of the topic and the confidence  to  direct the interviewer to  additional resources if needed.

Role Play

While research and knowledge are essential, media interviews thrive on polished delivery.  Here’s where role-playing comes in.

Imagine yourself facing the interviewer.  Now, grab a friend, colleague, or even a willing pet (though they might not provide the most pointed questions!).  Here’s how to leverage role-playing:

  • Practice Out Loud: Run through potential questions and answers with your partner. This allows you to refine your message delivery, identify areas needing improvement, and build confidence speaking about the topic. 
  • Simulate the Format: Try to mirror the format of the actual interview. If it’s a radio interview, practice concise answers. For a podcast, delve deeper into your talking points. 
  • Embrace Tough Questions: Don’t shy away from challenging scenarios. Have your partner throw you curveballs or unexpected questions to hone your thinking on your feet. 
  • Record Yourself (Optional): Filming yourself practicing allows you to review your body language, facial expressions, and overall presentation. This can reveal areas for improvement, like nervous ticks or filler words.

By actively role-playing, you gain valuable practice that translates into a more polished and confident performance during the actual interview.

How to Nail a Media Interview?

Several tips (in the headers underneath). Each tip will be covered in details

Be Respectful

Maintain a courteous and professional tone throughout the interview. This means actively listening to the interviewer’s questions, avoiding interruptions, and acknowledging their expertise. Even when disagreeing, present your viewpoints in a constructive and respectful manner. This fosters a positive exchange and allows your message to be heard more effectively.

Dress Accordingly

Project a professional image by choosing attire appropriate for the interview format. For television interviews, opt for classic business attire. Radio interviews offer more flexibility, but avoid overly casual clothing.

Look at the Reporter – Not the Cameras

Make eye contact with the reporter, not the camera. This fosters a natural conversation and creates a stronger connection with your audience.

Don’t Ramble

Deliver clear and focused answers. Avoid going off on tangents or using excessive filler words. This keeps the interview moving and ensures your message resonates.

Keep it Simple

Avoid jargon or overly technical language. Explain complex ideas in a way the audience can understand. This ensures your message reaches a wider audience.

Don’t Lose your Cool

Unexpected questions or challenging topics can arise. Stay calm, take a breath if needed, and respond thoughtfully. A collected demeanor fosters trust and strengthens your message.

Pretend you are Talking to a Client

Imagine you’re explaining the topic to an important client. This fosters a conversational tone, ensures clarity, and allows you to connect with the audience on a personal level.

What to Do After a Media Interview?

A successful media interview doesn’t end when the cameras stop rolling or the microphones are switched off. In today’s digital age, there are numerous ways to gauge the impact of your media appearance and measure the return on your investment (ROI). Here’s how to effectively track your reach:

Monitor the Results

  • Monitor Media Placements: Utilize online media monitoring tools or simply search the web to see where your interview was published or broadcasted. This can include traditional media outlets like television stations, radio stations, and newspapers, as well as online publications, podcasts, and social media platforms. 
  • Analyze Website Traffic: If your interview was featured online, track the impact on your website traffic using analytics tools like Google Analytics. Did you see a spike in visitors following the interview? 
  • Social Media Buzz: Social media can be a powerful indicator of reach. Check your social media channels and those of the media outlet to see if the interview generated discussion or shares. Look for positive mentions, comments, and retweets. 
  • Lead Generation: Did the interview generate leads for your business? Monitor your contact forms or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to see if there was an increase in inquiries following the interview. 
  • Sales Conversion: For businesses with online sales, track whether there was a rise in sales activity following the media exposure. 
  • Brand Awareness: Media interviews can significantly boost brand awareness. Did you notice an increase in brand mentions or searches online after the interview?

By actively tracking these results, you gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your media strategy.  This allows you to refine your approach for future interviews and maximize the impact of your message.  Remember, a successful media interview can have a ripple effect, leading to increased website traffic, brand awareness, lead generation, and even sales conversions.

Don’t Trash the Media

Even if the interview wasn’t perfect, avoid criticizing the media or the interviewer publicly.  Maintain a professional demeanor and focus on building positive relationships for future opportunities.