Nail Your Next Media Interview — 5 PR Pitfalls to Avoid

Need to nail your next media interview? Avoid these 5 PR don’ts

For PR pros and their clients, a strong media interview can pay dividends. But if a media interview is botched, you could soon find your team pivoting to a crisis comms strategy.   

To ensure a successful interview, be sure to sidestep these five common mistakes. 

1. Misunderstanding the assignment 

Media interviews can be disastrous when clients aren’t prepared. This is where briefing materials come into play – setting clients up with a concise breakdown of all the most pertinent background details. This includes the interviewer’s beat and relevant coverage, the audience of the outlet and a clear overview of the opportunity that explains why the interview is taking place.

When PR pros slack on this, they’re essentially sending their clients into a death trap. Conversely, high-quality briefing books allow PR pros to show value, and in turn, empower their clients to shine. 

2. Failing to define key messages

Equally as important as knowing the details of the interview is knowing the key messages. To capitalize on an interview opportunity, you don’t want to be just another talking head; instead, identify and confirm key messages with your client as early as possible to ensure you’re adding value to the conversation and meeting all internal objectives. 

3.Relying on prepared responses

Preparing interviewees for the unexpected may be one of the trickiest parts of the prep process, but it’s certainly one of the most crucial. Having prepped responses readily available can help clients feel more confident, but they should never rely solely on a script. 

While you can’t predict which unexpected questions, if any, will arise, thorough media training can help your client feel prepared for any tough questions. Ultimately, the more practice an interviewee has under pressure, the more likely they’ll be cool, calm and collected on the big stage. 

4.Taking a “salesy” approach

Media interviews can be great opportunities to establish thought leadership and build brand awareness. But for the best possible outcome, be genuine. Avoid pushing your brand or agenda like a used car salesman and make an actual impression — one that is both strategic and tasteful. 

5. Lacking confidence and conviction

Confidence is one of the cornerstones of a well-executed media interview. Spokespeople who can speak to a topic with authority tend to thrive in their interviews, while those shaking in their Cole Haan loafers are often sniffed out.  

Make sure that your client understands body language best practices and avoids relying on speculations or shying away from questions. As a bonus tip, you can never go wrong with keeping industry jargon to a minimum; even in trade outlets, getting your points across in layman’s terms is still more effective (and impressive) than working in ten-dollar words to sound smarter. 

Setting up for success 

The next time you’re helping a client prepare for a media interview, refer back to these pitfalls as a “checklist” for success.  

And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take advantage of PRophet’s partnership with Yoodli that enables users to practice for upcoming speaking engagements and receive real-time feedback on their communication skills. With immediate transcripts, instant replays and actionable insights, just imagine how prepared your client could be… 🔮 

To learn more about the power of PRophet and Yoodli, email to schedule your demo.