Nailing the Interview

by Clem Boyd | Apr 26, 2024 | Public Relations

The PR practitioner’s bread and butter, the thing that we live for, is the ability to connect the media with stories that support the earned and organic media goals of our organization or clients. We love the win-win of supplying a journalist with a timely, high-quality story that speaks to her audience and providing a platform for our spokespeople to shine as the experts that they are.

And while that connection of journalist with spokesperson may seem to others to be an almost magical, hard-to-discern combination of charisma and word wizardry, the reality is constructing that broadcast interview or online story took a lot of nuts-and-bolts effort. If anything, the public relations professional has more in common with a carpenter than a magician.

While your PR person should be a friendly, good-natured individual who is particularly adept at framing win-win story connections with the media, she should be committed to mastering the specifics that lead to success. Here is a blueprint to follow:

The pitch

Writing the pitch may be just as important as writing the press release. While the press release is typically written in third person, the pitch is your opportunity to speak directly with the media, from the heart, in first person. You can drive home your point in a more personal way about why this story is important for the journalist to consider.

Drilling down

As great as your pitch and press release are, you are competing with hundreds of emails (thousands in some cases) that the media are receiving every week. You will likely need to send that story at least one more time. Maybe twice.

Hammering away

Once you get past the initial exhilaration of having a journalist respond to your pitch, then begins the communication with your spokesperson and your spokesperson’s administrative assistant to check on availability. Ideally, you would have access to your spokesperson’s schedule, but if you do not, then contacting her admin will be part of your process. And this may require several points of contact.

Fixing the date

It may take several rounds of emails and perhaps a phone call or three with your spokesperson and the media person to nail down the interview. Once you do that, your next step is heading to Google calendar, or whatever online digital calendar app you prefer. Select the day and time, invite the journalist, the producer, your organizational leader, her administrative assistant, and other parties who need to know.

Securing the interview platform

If the media outlet is using a digital platform for the interview, make sure you have the meeting URL and include it in the calendar invitation. If this is a radio interview, nail down if the radio show will be calling your spokesperson and what number they will be using or if they prefer your spokesperson to call them. If the radio station also happens to be using a digital app, ask for the URL. Include backup phone numbers for the interview as part of the calendar invitation. You never know when a trusted technology might fail, and you need to go to plan B.


A tech precheck with the media outlet will help ensure your spokesperson is able to access the digital platform. It is unnerving to have the interview time arrive and your expert is not able to join the call. You may be able to schedule the tech precheck a day or two before the interview, or you may have to build in extra time prior to the actual interview to make sure everything is working right.

Join the interview

If this is a digital platform, make sure you include yourself in the invitation so you can jump on once the interview time arrives. There are several important reasons for doing this. First, seeing a friendly face helps calm any nerves your expert may have. Second, you are there as a liaison if any glitches pop up, i.e., your spokesperson is delayed and does not join the call at go time. If an emergency has arisen, you are present to reach out to your spokesperson or, worst case scenario, to reschedule the interview.

After the interview runs online or appears on air, sit back, take a sip of your favorite office beverage, and pause as you consider what you have built. Enjoy yourself as colleagues express amazement that you managed to have your CEO on a coveted media outlet. Only you and the media person really know the due diligence that was required to nail that interview.

Infinity Concepts can help you construct a powerful and effective PR strategy.

CLICK HERE or call us today at 724-733-1200.

Clem Boyd
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