There are a few times out of the year when I have the opportunity to host interviews with entrepreneurs, actors, music artists and athletes. I also attend press trips for different brands and do my homework before it’s showtime. I always like to be prepared for an interview, ESPECIALLY when it’s with a celebrity. Whether you’ll be on the air for radio, recording video or taking notes you want to have an agenda and stick to it. From my experience if you are in a press room with other media outlets, things go rather quickly so you need to be on point. Here are a few tips for conducting a successful press interview.
1. First and foremost be PREPARED! Do your research on the person you are interviewing. Look up their biography, latest achievements, what’s in the works and stay on topic. You can name some of the projects you know of and have them elaborate on them.
2. Listen to other people conducting interviews around you so that you aren’t all asking the same questions. Also, try to ask questions that you can’t easily find the answers to online by visiting the artists, actor or athletes website.
3. Pay attention to your guest and really listen to how they are answering questions. If they veer off of topic maybe it’s for a good reason. You can always work it into your story if it’s of interest or try to steer the conversation back to your original question that you wanted answered.
4. If you are unclear on a topic, just ASK! Don’t publish information that’s not factual that can possibly come back to bite you in the tush! I can’t stand reading news stories where they have to retract a statement and update it with revised corrections.
5. You can be personable when starting your interview. I usually tell them how much I’m a fan and my favorite (ex: movie, song or game) that I absolutely love. I’ve also asked how or when when they knew that the profession they’re in was for them.
6. Be Quick! If you are in a press room with multiple media outlets, you may have a sign up sheet and time slot for you specific interview time. If not, and it’s open forum then you have to be quick so that you can get your questions in as well as photo opportunities.
7. Be Social! I’m usually on social media during events live tweeting what’s going on behind the scenes. I may Periscope a few this year so that my online community can feel like they are a part of the chaos too. Delivering what’s going on in real time is really entertaining and FUN!
8. You’ll need to introduce yourself and let them know who you are in 60 seconds or less. Leave a good impression on your guest. Ex: I’m Jen from JenOni.com I’m a Lifestyle Blogger that covers all things Fashion, Style, Beauty, Tech, Travel, Food, Arts & Entertainment and Current Events.
9. Be prepared to quickly answer any question they may shoot back at you. You never know. Some of the best interviews are dialogues that go with the flow. However, remember you will still need to track your time and stay on task during the interview.
10. Always thank them for their time and let them know that you will tag them when your interview goes live! Almost all of my interviews that I have conducted were tweeted out. I made sure to tag the guest that I interviewed and they usually will read it, re-tweet it and/or respond!
Bonus: Try not to be nervous! The more prepared you are the better things will be. Take a deep breath and conduct your interview. I’m sure everything will turn out fine. I speak from experience. What other tips would you add to this list?