Depending on its execution, a media interview can be both a blessing and a curse for your nonprofit. If given correctly, it can be a productive way to spread the word about an organization and its cause throughout a community, but when done poorly there can be potential consequences for the organization. As I take more public relations classes and start zoning in on which nonprofits I’d like to work for, the importance of good media interviews is becoming abundantly clear. After reviewing an article published on nonprofitpr.org, its apparent that I am not the only one who feels this way. I thought this article, titled “How to Give a Good Media Interview for you Nonprofit”, does a great job of describing the role of media interviews in small, medium, or large nonprofits organization. Below is a synopsis of the article and an explanation of the key takeaways I left the article with, take a look.
The first and arguably most important point touched upon in this article is to always be prepared for an interview with the media. The interviewee must have a solid grasp and understanding of the general material that’s going to be covered in the interview in order for it to be a success. Preparedness is always the first step. If the interviewee is clearly scattered or unsure of the topics being asked about, it lessens the credibility of the entire organization which may lead to negative consequences. Adding to this point, this article raises the point that as part of the preparation that the organization must have an idea of the reporter’s angle on the story before agreeing to the interview. Additionally, it may be beneficial for the sake of the person being interviewed to watch clips of seasoned interviewees give interviews to get a better understanding of the proper attitude, poise, etc. to embody when giving an important media interview.
In addition, a person should never agree to an interview in the first place if they do not think they have adequate opinions or expertise on the subject being interviewed about. I thought this was a really interesting note because any media coverage about your nonprofit can be very tempting to agree to. However, this article makes the point that no matter how tempting the opportunity may be, if a person does not know the subject matter well enough, it may do the organization more harm than good. However, it may just take a little time to find the right person within the nonprofit to give the interview. Often times, the best candidate for the interview may be a volunteer, board member or recipient of your services.
This articles reminds us that it is also important to consider what type of interview you’re giving. Is it a phone interview? email? radio talk show or television? Each kind of interview requires its interviewee to act a different way, so be mindful of which type you’re giving and plan accordingly.
It’s also important for an organization to think about who is giving the interview and what media outlet they represent. You always want to understand where the interview will end up, especially with how many different outlets the internet has to offer. The article notes that while this day and age provides many interview opportunities such as blogs and online news sites, there is a catch 22 in that there are also more opportunities to get taken advantage of for political or other purposes. Don’t let this risk discourage your participation in a media interview, its just something to be aware of.
The last important consideration to make when thinking about giving a media interview for your nonprofit organization is to be self-serving without appearing to be self-serving. I found this to be a very helpful piece of advice because its something an interviewee might not necessarily think about, but very important nonetheless. Gregory explains that while some interviews are about your organization specifically, in which case it is perfectly acceptable to put its ideas and message front and center, others are about a cause or issue in general. In this circumstance, it is important to talk about the issue at hand rather than using the coverage to promote your organization specifically.
Throughout the entirety of the article, Hannah does an effective job of reminding us that with some “preparation and positive thinking, you will give a great interview and get better with every opportunity.” So don’t hesitate to put yourself and organization out there every time it feels right.
Image source: http://www.studiokorlando.com/rocking-a-media-interview/