Preparing for media interviews

Ron Jones


Public relations develop and maintain a positive image for an organization. Media interviews are one of the most effective public relations tools to promote America’s Boating Club. Whether for TV, radio, print, or digital media, interviews allow local clubs to share their boating education and safe boating messages.
Whether the interview will be published in your club’s newsletter, on social media, or in local news media, use these tips to share your message with the public.

Tip 1: Be prepared.

Reporters want to gather information and have prepared a general framework and theme for the interview. Prepare by identifying the key message points you want to get across. Mentally run through the questions you know are likely to come up. Know the audience you are trying to reach and target your message points to them.

Tip 2: Be a good brand ambassador.

In an interview, you become the face and voice not only of your local club but also of the national organization. Wear America’s Boating Club-branded shirts and name tags to promote our brand. If the interview or photoshoot is on a dock or boat, always wear a life jacket and an America’s Boating Club logo hat as the life jacket will cover logos on your shirt. To reinforce the safety message, have life jackets for the interview crew.

Tip 3: Be concise.

We live in a world of short “sound bites.” Interviewers aren’t looking for long complex answers. They, and their editors, want short easily understood answers for their audiences. Avoid the use of jargon or acronyms since these are often not understood by the interviewer or the audience. Imagine the confusion of someone hearing about the “Power Squadron,” “USPS,” and America’s Boating Cub all in one interview. They won’t know what organization was being interviewed.

Tip 4: Be confident.

You’re the expert! You’re being interviewed because you know the subject matter and can convey the information to the audience. Strong quotes help you and the reporter.

Tip 5: Be yourself.

Use personal stories to simplify and dramatize your main points. Where appropriate, relate personal experiences or illustrations of your work to support your statements. Telling something about yourself makes you more accessible to the audience.

Preparation goes a long way to making you more comfortable during an interview. Stay on your key message points, and if an interviewer poses false premises when asking a question, correct him or her firmly but politely. Use your time to set the record straight and present facts. You might say, “This is a common misperception. Here’s why…”

When preparing for an interview, remember that your local club and district public relations officers, national Public Affairs and Marketing committee members, and national headquarters staff are available to assist you. Don’t hesitate to call on us.

United States Power Squadrons, America's Boating Club logo

The Ensign magazine is an official channel of United States Power Squadrons, America’s Boating Club, a volunteer organization whose members teach boating skills and best practices to help improve the safety of our nation’s waterways. Learn more.