If you’ve created a great app, built some nifty hardware or been involved in a great project, it’s possible the media will find out and come knocking on your door looking for an interview. I conduct dozens of interviews each year and have spoken with some really interesting people and others who had a great product but couldn’t convey their story. Looking back, there are some easy things you can do to be ready for your moment in the spotlight.
#1 – Have a story
Stories are important. For example, when I interviewed the creator of a new health-care system, the really interesting part was what drove him to the development. His idea started when he was faced with having to find someone to help him care for a loved one.
While great ideas can arrive spontaneously, they are usually the result of some stimulus. Document that event and create a narrative around it.
#2 – The special sauce
Having been in the media caper for well over a decade I’m going to let you into a secret – there is little chance that your idea or product is unique. It’s likely you will have competitors.
Be ready to answer questions about what makes you special. Think about KFC. All they sell is fried chicken. You can make fried chicken at home. But KFC has their “11 herbs and spices”. The Big Mac is just anther burger but it has “special sauce”
Take some time to identify your “special sauce”. And don’t fall back on tired ideas like better service. But if your better service is founded on a new or better way to handle customer queries or deliver services faster then be prepared to explain it.
#3 – Experiences
You might not be able to name specific customers but stories about how you helped a customer solve a difficult problem are great for illustrating what you bring to the table
Be prepared to work in some real world examples when you asked questions. For example, when you are talking about your product, avoid talking in software or hardware terms. Humanise the application or service so the journalist can get some idea of what it feels like to be your customer.
#4 – Anticipate hard questions
If you’ve been in business for a while and suffered some sort of incident, be prepared to talk about it.
You need a narrative that talks about what happened, how it impacted customers, what you did to fix the situation and what the ongoing impact has been. If you’ve got it right, this can turn into a positive story.
Saying “No comment” is like a red rag to a bull to an experienced journalist.
#5 – Have a media kit ready
A kit that is easily downloadable is a must these days. It should contain
- product shots or screen grabs in high resolution and low resolution for print and online respectively
- headshots of interview subjects (high and low res again)
- dot point list of company facts such as founder names, company origin story, office locations, employee numbers
- up to date contact details for official spokespeople
If you get a chance to practice with a friend you should take that opportunity. If the budget allows, perhaps even get a professional to do some specific media training with you.