Today we’re talking about prepping for a media interview.

It’s exciting to be contacted by the media to be featured as an expert, but it’s also a little scary to be “on the record.” The first way to prepare is to make sure you have a full understanding of why you’re being interviewed. Then you can make sure you’re well-versed on the subject. Sometimes if you ask, the interviewer will give you a few questions ahead of time. But, not always, so always be prepared.

So the reporter asks you a question. Then what. It’s ok to pause for a minute to decide how best to respond, but don’t take forever to answer the question, and please don’t um um um for 30 seconds. Everything you say can end up in print or on TV, so compose yourself to develop a thoughtful answer that’s on point. Which is why you want to practice.

Keep a few important points in mind that you want to make. This will help you stay on topic. You should also try to think ahead of time and jot down one or two good quotes that support your answer. Strong quotes give you credibility and make a reporter’s job easier. It also makes your story more relatable and memorable.

Be prepared to go a little off-topic, too. The interviewer may ask industry questions or want more information about your professional or personal life to round out the story.

The closing of the interview shouldn’t be a call to action, unless you have permission. In that case, don’t be overly promotional. Your expertise is promotion enough. This isn’t an advertorial, so don’t treat it as one.

This is Robin Samora with the Fast Marketing Minute. If you need more tips about how to get featured in the media, you can find them on my top 40 small business marketing blog at Talk tomorrow!