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Help! The newspaper wants to interview me!

Got a call from an Awtrey Media Group clients the other day who was freaked out because their local newspaper wanted to interview them for a story. This was a first for this client and he was understandably a bit nervous.

Has that happened to you, too?

There is no reason to be nervous about talking to the media – the newspaper, bloggers, television and radio stations. Unless you’ve killed someone or have committed a heinous crime -- if so, see the blog post on “What do I tell the media if I’m a serial killer.” – being contacted by the media is a great thing.

For the most part, they’re probably just interested in writing a little piece about your business. Most companies would love to have some media attention – it doesn’t cost anything and it’s free publicity.

Whether you’re dealing with the media for the first time or the 99th time, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Be honest with them. Don’t overinflate your business, but don’t undervalue yourself, either. Just tell the truth.

Talk slowly. Most people get nervous when talking to someone with a notepad or tape recorder. That causes their pulse rate to rise and makes them tend to speed up the pace of their speech. Think about it this way, “How would Andy Griffith say it.” Not with the Mayberry drawl, but with the measured pace.

Speak in small chunks. They call them sound bites. Politicians and sports figures know how to do this, because that’s what works best for television. If you can answer the question in 10-15 seconds, that would be outstanding.

Answer the question as posed. There’s no need to deviate and wander all over the place. Stay focused on the question that’s asked.

Be cordial. Keep a smile on your face. Not only does that make you look better, it naturally makes you sound better, more approachable and more believable. Here’s a hint: If you’re nice to the reporter, they’re more than likely going to cut you a break and not make you look or sound stupid.

At the end of the interview, ask them, “Is there anything else I can tell you or help you win?” then be sure they have your contact information and reassure them that you’d be happy to answer any further questions or clarify anything that’s confusing.

Being interviewed can be exciting. It can be fun. It can be helpful to your business.

Just don’t sweat it and have fun with it.

Who knows? You may become the next media darling.



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