This week we have been discussing how you might leverage your public relations efforts by working in tandem with a local not-for-profit, in our example, an animal shelter. Provided you have managed to drum up some press attention for the event, you will find yourself in the position of giving an interview. Here are a few tips to prepare for speaking to the press.
If possible, learn in advance who will be conducting the interview and read or review some of their past work. Being familiar with the reporter’s style will make you feel more comfortable with the process. Speak with the person in advance and set the tone of the interview by discussing the topic briefly. Stay on topic by not directly promoting your travel agency. After all, the event and the interview is, in our example, all about the animal shelter. However, do spin the interview your direction by describing your involvement: “So often animals are left without homes. I am an animal lover, and many of my clients at ABC Travel are animal lovers and patrons of the Animal Service Center. This is precisely the type of cause that we want to sponsor and involve ourselves with at the corporate level.” You want to leave the spotlight on the animal shelter while sharing the glow of your involvement.
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Know what points you want to make prior to the interview. Practice being succinct in your approach, delivering your message in easily understood short sentences and paragraphs. If possible, discuss in advance what questions will be asked. Don’t feel obligated to rush into an answer. Stop and think. Remain succinct, on point and focused on the event.
Make sure to dress appropriately and professionally, even for a print interview. There may be pictures. Even if there are not, you will feel more in control of the interview if you are professionally dressed.
Relax into your role. Interviews are not ambushes. You are imparting important information about a community event. Your travel agency is a part of something of great interest and you have the good fortune to share in the event. The public will understand that your involvement extends to your agency, and you benefit by the association.
Tomorrow – The event and follow-up