Hallelujiah! You landed an interview for a client. Now don’t blow it by failing to ask the reporter doing the interview these three essential questions.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE REPORTER BEFORE THE INTERVIEW
1. Tell me about your story.
Technically not a question, but a great way to gently pressure the reporter to tell you what the heck they are writing about. Don’t settle for vague responses. Listen carefully and ask follow up questions until you feel like you can describe the entire story in one sentence. Once you have a grip on the story, tell the reporter, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but your story is about —-.”
2. Who else are you interviewing?
This may tell you how your client and/or their business will fit into the story. Will a competitor also be interviewed? An ex-husband? What types of analysts or consumers will have a voice in the story? All this info will point to the story’s angle, and whether your client will be viewed favorably or not.
3. How does –client name– fit into your story?
Is your client featured? Will they appear in a quick quote halfway down? Are they a naysayer? If it doesn’t make sense, ask follow up questions like, will my client be a major part of the story or take a supporting role? If the interview lasts less than 30 minutes, chances are it’ll just be a quote. If there are multiple interviews, a photo shoot, or more, it looks like your client is going to be a major part of the story, if not THE story.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE REPORTER AFTER THE INTERVIEW
1. When is your story going to run?
So you can promote, link to, or clean up after, depending on the story. Also ask what time the story will be published online. If you can’t find it after searching the site and Google extensively, bug the reporter for a link.
2. If you quote me, will you be able to link to me?
You WANT that link juice. Media outlets often have very favorable rankings in Google. Plus, it’s great for your online media buzz page and for your client’s website.
3. Is there anything else I can help you with?
Share how the reporter can contact you if they have follow up questions. You’d be surprised how often they do. So if they only have your office number and you’re getting on a plane in 23 minutes to go to Tel Aviv, pass along your cell, wontcha? And make sure you have their contact info as well, in case you need a correction or question about the story.