Interviews with media outlets are a hugely valuable tool to use in a specialist communications strategy. Not only do they provide key steppingstones in building strong relationships with journalists, but also offer an excellent opportunity to brief them on priority activities for your business and keep them engaged with what you’re doing for your sector.

Whether it’s through a roundtable event with multiple media outlets, or a one-to-one interview, journalists are there because they are interested in your insight. However, they are also there to help inform engaging content for their audience. As a result, they will want to establish your point of view, extract an interesting opinion from you, and ultimately obtain answers to their questions.

With this in mind, there are a number of considerations that will help you deliver your story, and keep the interview on your terms. Our team of world-class communications specialists and former editors in the automotive and e-mobility space have condensed their expertise into some key considerations to take into your interviews:

1.) Plan your key messages and deliver them clearly – but be mindful of your audience. The process of confidently delivering interesting insight starts before the interview: by identifying and preparing the most important points that you’re looking to land with the journalist. Doing so will go a long way to structuring the narrative in a manner that will best showcase your business’ vision, solutions portfolio, and the value that it brings to the industry.

It is crucial to note that journalists across different media types will be looking to obtain insights relevant to their sector. Your messaging therefore needs to be closely tailored to the journalist’s focus area, and be delivered in a way that will resonate with their – and ultimately your – target audience. The subject matter, case studies, and level of technical detail you provide all need to be clearly defined ahead of the interview, to provide a strong foundation for you to confidently land your key points.

2.) Control the conversation flow, control the narrative. Good preparation will also help you take more control of the discussion between you and the journalist.

A successful interview maintains a fine balance between giving journalists valuable responses to their questions, and landing the messaging that positions your business well in your sector. Should the journalist take the discussion off-message to a great extent, having clear sight of the areas you do – and don’t – want to talk about will enable you to maintain that balance and bring the discussion back on your terms.

In this vein, your commentary about the broader industry should be focused on your contribution to it, and not about comparisons to specific competitors; not only will this reaffirm your business’ professional reputation, but remind the journalist that you are there to talk about what your organisation can offer.

3.) And the golden rule: Never say what you wouldn’t want to see in an article; the microphone is never off – and it’s never ‘off the record’, even at the end of the interview. While bringing the discussion back to your talking points is important during the interview, you should always be cognisant of ‘off-the-record’ questions once the ‘official’ interview has ended. Any casual remarks or statements you make can always be used by journalists in their content, so staying on-message is just as important at the end of the meeting.


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