Do you dream of getting interviewed by a reporter, radio personality or blogger? Unless you know how to handle yourself during the interview, your dream could turn into a nightmare. You see, getting the media’s attention is only half the battle for a small business owner. What really matters is how well you handle being interviewed.
As a small business journalist and blogger who’s interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs, I’ve learned the painful difference between the business owner who responds in monosyllables and the ones who give great quotes, create a conversation and are just plain fun to talk to. How can you be the latter and not the former? Read on.
• Be ready. Never send out press releases or pitch reporters without being prepared to speak about the topic you’re pitching. You may not get a lot of warning—reporters are on short deadlines, so it’s possible you’ll get a call or email back within minutes of sending a pitch.
• Use your time to prepare. If your interview is a few days or weeks away, use the time to prepare even further. Ask the reporter what the article is about, so you’ll have a sense of how best to contribute. For instance, if you own a craft brewery, is the article a profile of your brewery? Then have some good stories about your startup and growth to share. Is it an overview of the craft brewing trend? Then be ready to discuss industry trends and where you think the industry is going. It’s also perfectly OK to ask the reporter for samples of the kinds of questions he or she plans to ask—this can be a smart move if you’re shy or have trouble thinking on your feet.
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