Follow these tips to help your client or source land good coverage
You've suavely managed to score a media interview for one of your experts, but so have a number of your competitors. How do you ensure that your source is quoted prominently in the final published article?
When preparing for the interview:
1) Do your homework! Request a list of the interview questions for your source to review before the interview. This way, he or she can prepare some relevant, thoughtful comments, as opposed to speaking off the cuff.
2) Clarify both the target audience and goal of the article to help your interviewee best direct and shape these comments.
3) Provide your expert's bio—including years of experience, relevant industry leadership posts and awards, topical background materials, and project information and photos, if relevant.
And now for the interview… Encourage your source to:
4) Offer a quotable quote, humor, or a good story. Anything that helps the writer add punch to the piece will almost certainly make it to the final article.
5) Quote recent statistics and studies. This type of information adds credibility to the expert's contribution, not to mention the article itself. This can also provide valuable direction to the journalist for further research.
6) Pinpoint the crux of the issue in a brief and articulate way. This kind of statement might very well make it to one of the first few paragraphs.
7) Take the initiative. As an expert in the field, your source is privy to relevant information, or perhaps late-breaking news, which the reporter may not have covered in the interview. Politely inquire as to whether "X" may be of interest to the publication's readers and the reporter will probably jump on it.
8) Take it one level deeper. More often than not, most interviewees are offering the same "canned" responses to a particular question. To make your quote stand out, add a second level of information by explaining, for example, why this is the case, how we know this to be true, or situations when it may not apply.
9) Be honest. If some of the questions do not fall under your source's area of expertise, tell the journalist instead of offering fluff and wasting everyone's time.
10) Make yourself available. Be sensitive to the reporter's deadline in scheduling and keeping interview times. If your time is limited for the actual interview, politely inform the journalist so that he or she can plan accordingly to cover the important points in the allotted time.
Armed with these tips, you'll not only get some great media coverage but your source will stand out as a great interview and someone the reporter is likely to consult for future articles.
Barbara Horwitz-Bennett is a former Reed Business Information editor and currently a regular contributor to several trade publications in the building and construction industry.