How to Be a Media Star

From Inc.:

How hard can it be, really, sitting down and doing an interview with a reporter? We ask you questions, you answer them. Simple, right?

Apparently not. That’s my conclusion after spending well over a dozen years on the “asking” side of the table. It’s confirmed by the questions I get, over and over: How do I get press for my company? How do I not screw up an interview?

How you get press depends quite a bit on what you’re trying to get press for. Maybe I’ll tackle that in another column. But how you conduct yourself during an interview doesn’t vary much. To wit:

Write the headline on your story. If you’re giving a reporter an interview, it’s because you have a story to tell, right? Well, can you summarize that story in 12 words or less? That’s how many words are used in a headline—and a generous one at that. I’m not saying a reporter will use your headline. But you want to take the time to come up with a succinct, compelling summary your story. If you don’t know what the headline on your story is, then who does?

Know how much time you have. Is this an hour interview or do you have 10 minutes? If it’s 10 minutes, and you start with, “Well, let me give you the 50,000-foot view,” you’re on the express train to irrelevancy.

Don’t read from a script. This is the surest way to guarantee you won’t be quoted. Even if you manage the most wonderful turn of phrase, it’ll sound flat. So sure, practice your answers. But remember: A good interview is a conversation. So have one.

Continue read the rest of the story on Inc.