Jodie Heisner

The Questions You Need to Ask The Media

Jodie Heisner

Submitted by Jodie Heisner

The Questions You Need to Ask The Media

Jodie Heisner
President, BottomLine Media Coaching

So your business has the opportunity to participate in a media interview. You are excited and want to do everything they tell you.

Well, while you are busy preparing for the interview and the questions the reporter may ask, don’t forget about the questions YOU need to ask before the interview.

If you have public relations representation these are also the questions they should be asking on your behalf.

What is the name of the reporter/anchor/host that will be interviewing me? This is important for a couple of reasons. I always recommend you do a little google search on the reporter before the interview (if you have time.) Check out their interview style, learn something about them personally ( dogs/kids, biker/hiker) so you can connect with them a bit.

Where and when will this story air/be published? It is important you know this before the interview so you understand who will be reading/viewing the story. If the story will air during a 4pm newscast your audience will mainly be female, retirees and moms. If will air during a morning show you are talking to business people on their way out the door. You can target your soundbites/quotes to your audience.

What is the angle of the story? No matter what you or your PR Pro pitched the media you need to make sure that is the specific angle of the story the media outlet wants to cover. As a reporter there were many times I would get a pitch and it would give me an idea for another angle. Or I would call and request an interview and just give a very generalized subject matter. If you want to be prepared, ask this question during the set up of the media opportunity, not the day of the interview.

Who else will be interviewed? This is an incredibly important question, many people forget to ask. If your competition is being interviewed, if someone claiming something against you is being interviewed,  you’ll want to know. If another expert is being interviewed, you need to make sure you aren’t duplicating information. In order to prepare you need as much information as you can get.

They may not always share everything with you, but it is your job to ask. That being said there is one question you should NOT ask:

Could you send me the questions you’ll be asking during the interview? Whenever I got this question you could probably hear my eyes roll back in my head. For any seasoned journalist, the answer to this question will be NO!

There are some talk shows and rookie interviewers that will provide you with questions or ask you to tell them what you want to be asked. Some talk shows do this so they know exactly how the show will go. If you are dealing with a news station please don’t look like an amateur and ask this question.

Here’s to you creating your perfect media image.