When you have the opportunity to be interviewed, you will no doubt have thought about the key messages you want to communicate. This is important and the right thing to do. It comes under “being prepared.” But you also need to know what reporters are looking for in a story and it may not always be what you are interested in talking about. Before the interview, be sure you’ve researched the media outlet and read/watched the last few stories the reporter has written. If the reporter feasts on controversy and you don’t want controversy, think twice about doing the interview. But if you are good to go, this is what you need to know about what reporters want:
- What’s new. Reporters are always looking for “what’s new.” Are you announcing a new service, a new president, sponsoring an important event, releasing the results of a survey?
- Trends. Trends in your industry that are affecting the way business is being done, impacting large numbers of people, influencing public policy.
- Stories with a beginning, middle and an end. Reporters love to hear the words, “For example,” because they know they are likely to hear an interesting story that will clarify and possibly even entertain.
- Conflict. Differing points of view on important subjects of wide interest, i.e., health reform, the economy, the environment, etc.
- Visuals. Charts, graphs, product samples and other visuals that will improve their understanding of the story, and stimulate the interest of their readers or viewers.
- Juicy quotes. A sound bite for television, a lead or “grabber” for a newspaper article.
- Oddball angles. Man bites dog. The expected turned on its head
So, when you’re preparing for your interview, see how many of these “wants” you can include.