Media Training: Does Social Media Change How You Should Participate In an Interview?

Traditional reporters are a dying breed. They are swiftly being replaced by a new breed of bloggers, citizen journalists, microbloggers and, in some cases, even by companies. At the same time, layoffs at mainstream media are being announced on a daily basis. , magazines are shifting to online editions and local news is the rising star.

So that must mean that the nature of media interviews has changed, too? Yes and no.

Yes:

  • Remember that stories can be filed instantaneously: there is much less chance of circling back with a new idea or to amend a thought
  • Expect a more a casual tone: a blogger may have built a following that expects a nonchalant, sarcastic or even a dark perspective. Your dialogue may feel very different than previous mainstream media discussions.
  • Realize that you may be asked about “instant news:” stories move with unbelievable speed on the internet, starting as a breaking news piece, then becoming fodder for analysis and finally turning into features – sometimes in the space of hours. Stay on top of the implications for your topic or thought leadership.
  • Segment your audience:  In the past, it may have been enough to consider how your ideas would impact one sector. In a world of hyper-niches, there may be 15 messages for 15 different groups in that sector. Take the time to customize your messages and stories in advance.
  • Recognize that the consumer POV has increased in importance, even for B2B Public Relations: As Todd Defren recently observed, you may soon need to appeal directly to “micro-influencers.” How does that change your approach? This is a significant opportunity for those that are ready to move outside of their comfort zone.
  • Build in search goals:  When possible, drop a few of your priority keywords into your answers. You may even politely ask the blogger if they have a link policy. Some might be willing to consider linking to your site the first time they mention your company’s name.
  • Appear in sync with social media: Do you know who are the social media leaders in your clients’ and customers’ sector? What are the best practices? If you can share that intelligence, you set your interviewer up for success and solidify your value as a resource.
  • Your story isn’t over at “publication:” Once it appears, the “comments” section may keep it alive for weeks or years. Keep tracking the feedback and, more importantly, keep responding to it. Don’t forget to share it with your networks – your job is now to help with “distribution.”

No:

  • Understand that great thought leadership is the ultimate differentiator: good content, fresh angles and provocative ideas are still what matters the most.
  • Be professional, even in more relaxed circumstances: respectful, professional and thoughtful behavior is still the norm. Consider the interviewer’s needs, be responsive to their concerns and share useful information that helps them develop a better story.
  • Read or watch past work by the blogger or outlet: No one should enter an interview cold. If you want to understand what to expect, reach into the past and you’ll find some immediate clues.
  • Identify compelling soundbites: there will always be a long list of sources who can provide background on a given subject. But the folks who wind up getting a quote can package their ideas in a tight, pithy format. The added bonus? Now soundbites can be extended into a LinkedIn status update.
  • Research your competitive set:  For as long as there have been reporters, there have been questions on how your business offer compares to your competitors. Never forget how easy it is to obtain deeper information in a Google world. You could get tougher inquiries as a result.

If you are preparing for an interview, you have some extraordinary new opportunities and a few new pitfalls. Have you taken the time to understand both?

(photo by Hiddedevries)

To reach Elizabeth:

Phone: 212.840.0017
Email: elizabeth@blisspr.com
Twitter: @elizabethsosnow
LinkedIn: Elizabeth Sosnow