I was recently asked how I would prepare an executive for an interview. Traditional PR pros would create a “Briefing Sheet.” But, to me, that implies that everything and the kitchen sink is relevant to your executive, which it is not. To properly prepare an executive for an interview, try these tips out.

What is the Journalist or Producer Interested in?

You already know the answer to this question. How? They bit on your pitch. They want to speak with your executive about the topic you offered up or they reached out to you independently with a request. Either way, start here. 

Search on the person’s name and the topic to find out what they’ve written about or produced in the past. It may come as no surprise to learn that they’ve written extensively on this subject or related topics. 

What Have They Created in the Past?

Compile a list of links to what they previously created and call out information specific to the interest of your executive and brand. Remember, you’re compiling notes for an executive, they’re busy! Less copy is more, but provide links to more information. Also, try to find videos or reports where their point of view or personality reality shines through.

Identify Their Tone and Style

Just because they may have written on this subject before or may have expressed interest, doesn’t necessarily make them a fan. Find out where they sit in the court of public opinion on the subject your executive will be talking about. Try to lessen the shock value for your executive. You want to provide him/her with information with is both anecdotal and factual. Sometimes, the best place to look is their Twitter Handle, assuming they have one.

Background on the Media Outlet

Don’t make any assumptions about what your executive may or may not know about a media outlet. Just because he/she lives and breathes their news doesn’t necessarily mean that there is an understanding of the nuances of media outlets. Provide more background which includes a link to the publication or broadcast, information on readership, circulation, views, or subscribers, and if the media outlet is part of a larger group.

Those are just a handful of ideas to get your started. Feel free to add more ideas in the comments below.


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