How to Prepare Your Client for a Media Interview

Congratulations! Your media outreach efforts have paid off and you arranged an interview between your client and a reporter. Now what?

One misconception is that once an interview is secured, the work is done. The reality is that the work is just getting started – now it’s time to prepare.


Step One:

Ask the reporter several questions so you can package the media request and present it to the client.

  1. What is your deadline?
  2. Will you be contacting any other sources for your story?
  3. Are you comfortable sharing any interview questions in advance?
  4. When is your story scheduled to run?


Step Two:

Once a spokesperson is confirmed and comfortable moving forward with the interview, prepare the media briefing, a document created to provide information about the Who, What, When, Where, and Why of the interview.

Here are a few things to include in a media briefing document:

  • Do your research on the journalist and media outlet:
    • Provide noteworthy information about the outlet and journalist (maybe the reporter and client live in the same town), link to their Twitter and LinkedIn pages and always include examples of their relevant past work.
  • Include relevant key messages:
    • Typically, the spokesperson being interviewed is an expert on the subject, so empower them to share their knowledge by conveying the messages using their own words.
  • Prepare for questions that may be difficult or unexpected:
    • Spend time identifying difficult questions that could be asked and craft responses for the spokesperson to have on hand just in case.


Step Three:

If time allows, schedule a prep meeting with the spokesperson to review the media briefing document and role play some potential interview scenarios. The media briefing should not be used as a teleprompter, so role playing gives the spokesperson an opportunity to practice and feel confident as the subject matter expert.


Step Four:

Finally, once the interview has taken place, follow-up with the reporter to thank them for their time and ask if they have any further questions. The most successful interviews occur when a spokesperson is well prepared and confident.

For more tips on how to prepare for an interview, check out Emily Charles’ blog for a 15-Minute Mini Media Training.


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