You gave a bad interview, now what?

We all are too young to be perfect. Mistakes happen and, even with preparation, sometimes interviews don’t go as well as planned.

Recently, an interview with an important reporter went off the rails. I talked to my client about what went wrong and what to do next. We didn’t want the reporter to feel that she had wasted her time with us, so we offered her additional information that added value to her story. Our goal was to offer the time-strapped reporter material that would help her quickly complete the article and keep the door open for future interview opportunities.

When an interview doesn’t go as planned, there are a number of things you can do:

  • Keep in mind the needs of the reporter. At the most basic level, reporters want the same thing: accurate, reliable information. If you can deliver that information, even after the formal interview is over, reporters will recognize that you are trying to work with them. Mostly likely, you will get a second shot at an interview opportunity.
  • Learn from the experience. A PR rep can work with you to address the issue and put together a plan to avoid doing the same thing again. Be open to suggestions and realize that you will get better with practice.
  • Prepare better. Work with your PR rep to determine what questions the reporter is likely to ask, and do a dry-run with your answers. Keep a list of messages you want to touch on for each interview, and check them off as you discuss them.

Finally, stay in contact with the reporter. After the article appears, send the reporter a quick note of thanks for including you in the piece. If your interview wasn’t included in the article, send a note anyway, thanking the reporter for her time and offering your assistance in the future.

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