So you got your first interview—congratulations! We spend a lot of time talking about how to secure your first few press placements. But what happens when you actually do? Well first, I hope you celebrate—this is a big deal!
Then, it’s time to talk strategy. How are you going to make the most of this interview? How will you present yourself? What stories can you tell? How do you remain professional yet relaxed enough to let your personality shine through?
Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. The truth is, giving a killer interview is really all about relaxing into who you are, and letting that shine into the world. So whether this is your first interview or your 20th, check out these tips for how to make sure you’re nailing it every time.
You can also refer to our guide to running a PR campaign for more helpful ideas.
Do your research
When you’ve secured an interview with an outlet, make sure one of the first things you do is to get familiar with the person and the outlet that’s going to be interviewing you. It’s not a good look to have no idea who is interviewing you or anything about the outlet you’re about to be featured in. This isn’t just about what they can do for you—it’s about making a real and lasting connection and setting the tone of the interview.
So, take some time to get to know them. This doesn’t have to be a 5 hour deep dive. A solid half-hour reading some of their writing and getting familiar with it can go a long way. This way, when the interview starts you can kick it off with a compliment on their most recent article, their style, or anything else you feel like you can connect over. This will help set the tone and build your relationship with the writer both now and in the future. It will also help cut the tension. Most of the time, chatting for five minutes before jumping into the interview helps warm you up to each other. This is a very quick and simple way to help the process feel more natural. Plus, as a result, it’ll make for a better piece.
Practice makes perfect
Not all outlets will send you the questions ahead of time—there’s definitely something to be said for more natural answers coming from the guests not having rehearsed every single line of what they’ll say. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice at all. In fact, you should have an idea of at least a few themes you’ll touch on. These can be your new album, music video, upcoming show, etc. Knowing what you want to say about these topics will help the interview flow.
Take a couple minutes in the days leading up to the interview to practice (out loud) the kind of things you might say when asked about your upcoming release, or what inspired you to create it. It’s ok if you trip over your words at first—that’s what this exercise is for. To work out the kinks so come interview day, you’re ready to go.
This also helps you think about the kind of stories and fun facts you can share so that you can be sure you’re giving an interview people actually want to read or listen to.
Tell a story
It’s been proven time and time again that when we’re told a story vs just told facts, the story will stick in our minds. It’s why you can tell me all about your favorite movie that you haven’t seen in 6 months, but not about the historical facts you learned in school last week. Stories resonate with us and so, they stick in our minds. If you’ve ever listened to a podcast, you know what I mean.
So whenever possible, tell a story as part of your answer. For instance, if someone asks how you decided on this album name, it’s not so compelling to just say “oh we tossed some ideas and this stuck.” Instead, paint me a picture. Tell me about the exact moment you decided on this, the feelings, the little details like, how you were all eating a pepperoni pineapple pizza that night, or how you had all accidentally worn the same blue shirt, or the way the room smelled—those little details will help people latch on to your story, and help them connect.
If you’re needing some inspiration, check out your favorite podcasts (music or nonmusic) to listen to their guest interviews. Pay attention to how the guests answer, and which you find most compelling. I’ll bet they’re the ones who are good storytellers.
Follow up with the writer
After your interview, always follow up with the writer to thank them. They’ll send you the story when it’s live but in the meantime, it’s good to send a quick thank you directly after to let them know you appreciated their time. You should do this even if you say “thank you” on the phone.
After it’s live, it’s time to share! But don’t just post it on socials and call it a day. Instead, get creative with it. Create a graphic you can share on socials highlighting some of the best moments or quotes. Tag the outlet and thank them when you share it. Share a story about how you were super nervous/excited/etc about it and you’re so happy you get to share this look behind-the-scenes of your new album with your fans.
Make it interesting and don’t be afraid to re-share a few times—your fans won’t all see it the first or even the second time, so don’t be afraid to share a few times over those initial weeks.
Congratulations again on landing this interview opportunity—you’re gonna do awesome!
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.