An insider’s guide to giving a great media interview
Being interviewed by the press is great for your business and your brand, but it can be intimidating. So how can you control your nerves and make the right impression?
Even the legends of the sport get pre-interview nerves – so you’re in good company! But there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure the interview goes to plan.
Here are our top tips on how to give a great interview.
This could be your one and only 15-minutes of fame, so make the most of it.
After all, if the press wants to interview you it generally means you’re on a career high, so try and enjoy the moment. Journalists in the equestrian press aren’t trying to catch you out or create a scandal – they just want to know more about you and your horses.
It’s ok to be nervous, because you know what? The interviewer is probably just as nervous as you! So, listen to the questions, answer truthfully and honestly, and be yourself (more on this below). Trust us when we say they will just be relieved you aren’t a prima donna.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
It’s not just the journalist who needs to prepare for an interview – it’s a good idea for you to do some prep, too. This will help ensure you come across the right way – it’s up to you to decide what this is.
Have a think about what you want to get out of the interview and plan a few key messages. This could be anything from promoting your business of buying and selling horses, to talking about wanting to ride for your country.
You should also think about anything you don’t want to talk about, such as a recent injury to a horse (owners don’t want always to talk about this as it can affect the horse’s value), or something as personal as a separation from a partner. And prepare an answer in case it comes up.
Give some facts
Journalists love a good anecdote or juicy fact, so it’s a good idea to have a few tucked up your sleeve. Have a think about your biggest win, your best horse, your naughtiest pony, career lows, or ambitions for the future. Anything that gives the interview a bit of personal interest. The better the interview, the better for you, as it will be read, liked and shared by more people.
Reveal a secret
The way to a journalist’s heart is with an exclusive – it keeps their editors happy, and them in work! Tell them something you have never shared with the press before and they will forever be in your debt – and it’s always a good thing to have a journalist on your side. It also makes great headlines, which means more press for you.
Speak clearly and slowly
When we’re feeling nervous our speech often speeds up and we forget to breathe. So, stop, take a deep breath and then answer the question. You could even practise counting to five at the end of each sentence. It might seem like a long time, but if the interviewer is taking notes they will welcome the pause. It can be hard trying to keep up with someone’s stream of consciousness, and good quotes get lost as a result.
Dealing with cameras
There is no denying, having a camera stuck in your face can be intimidating. It has the ability to turn a bubbly, talkative rider into a monosyllabic robot! The first thing is to try and forget the camera is there. You will rarely be asked to speak directly into the lens, so just focus on the person doing the interview. And don’t forget to breathe, pause and speak s-l-o-w-l-y.
If we were to give one piece of advice it’s to be yourself. The best interviews are when the interviewee is chatty, relaxed and open.
Pretend you are talking to a friend and don’t try and overthink your answers, or second-guess what the reader/viewer wants to hear, just be truthful and real. It’s okay to admit your weaknesses and failures – in fact, people love to hear about that stuff. It makes us realise you’re human, and it makes for an interesting article. We don’t want the airbrushed, Facebook version of you. We want the real you!
For more great media and marketing advice get in touch with Ceris Burns Equestrian to find out how we can help boost your brand and grow your business.