21 Press Interview Pointers
So you've caught the eye of the press...
How do you make the most of the interview?
Before the Interview
1. Define your goals. What points do you want to make? How will this press coverage serve your restaurant brand? Think of stories or anecdotes that illustrate your most important messaging points - for example, the things that make your concept different. And, be clear on what you do not want to say.
2. Find out what the topic of the interview is. Think about how to not only answer the interviewer's questions, but also how to transition those answers into your talking points. If you don't have much to say about the topic in question, decline the interview.
3. Learn about your interviewer. How much do they know or write about the industry? Which angles do they tend to take? Think about what kind of questions they're likely to ask and what kind of answers they'll be most interested in writing about.
4. Look the part. If your interview is in person, dress in a way that's appropriate. Maybe that means wear a shirt with your brand on it, or maybe that means a shirt and tie. Gauge the tone and audience of the publication and take it from there.
During the Interview
5. Listen to the questions carefully and take some time to think before you speak. Assume that everything you say can be quoted, so be careful what you share.
6. Speak with confidence by talking slowly and clearly. Avoid using jargon.
7. Smile when you speak, whether you are on camera, in-person, or on the phone. It makes you sound more relatable.
8. Stay calm if you make a mistake or lose your train of thought. Simply start your answer over.
9. State your key message early and repeat it often - 3-5 times should do the trick.
10. Focus on your audience. Keep in mind who will be reading or viewing the media outlet interviewing you.
11. Condense your answers so that they are short and to the point.
12. Backup what you say with evidence – using examples, stories, and anecdotes.
13. Try to include hard facts by giving numbers or statistics to support your case, if possible.
14. Never say “no comment.” Instead, ask to get back to the journalist after you’ve done more research.
15. Avoid conflict at all costs. State your position in positive terms even if the reporter is trying to steer you in a negative direction.
16. Never disparage your competition. Let the reporter know you can’t speak for other businesses, then transition back to your message.
After the Interview
17. Do not ask to see the article beforehand. Journalists have no obligation to share their final story with you and probably won’t.
18. If you are worried about the reporter understanding a point you have made, ask them to repeat your point to you to ensure their understanding.
19. Ask the reporter when the story will be published.
20. Promote the completed article by featuring it on your blog, website, and social media.
21. Take the time to evaluate how the interview went. Think about what went well and what could be improved for next time.