The economics of many social enterprises can be oversimplified into the following: The inherent good of the mission increases their cost of goods (because they employ marginalized talent, reach underserved customers, or pursue some other noble end that will erode margins); and, if they’re lucky, that same goodness reduces marketing costs (by attracting editorial coverage, social sharing, or some other amplifier), thus canceling out the higher costs so that they can pay the bills.

So if you’re working in this arena, leveraging your mission to attract attention isn’t just good for you; it’s critical to your survival.

Attracting media attention isn’t just good for you; it’s critical to your survival. Tweet This Quote

Few things can help accomplish that like a great media interview. If you were born speaking in sound bites or had the luxury of getting formal media training, stop reading. For everyone else, there’s one sure way to make sure you make the most of a media interview, and it can be summed up in one word: “practice.”

In case you don’t have the time or money for a professional media coach to tell you what you should practice, here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

  • Decide what two or three key message points you want to make, and stick to them no matter what—regardless of what questions are asked
  • Front load your messages and be succinct, because you never know how much time you’ll get. The modern sound bite is only six seconds.
  • Show your passion for what you’re doing. Your energy, more than your words, will draw the audience in.
  • Know the reporters’ style and interests. Research them as they would research you.
  • Practice, practice, practice, practice. And practice.

To the first point, use bridging statements to get back to your message points as quickly as possible. Examples of these:

  • “I think the question we really ought to ask is…”
  • “That’s a good point, but I think your audience would be interested in knowing that…”
  • “That’s not my area of expertise, but what I can tell you is…”
  • “Let me put it in perspective.”

To the last point, when you practice, find someone to play the reporter role and run through a mock interview. Do that at least twice, and record each session so your most demanding critic (you) can listen and/or watch and improve your performance with every session.

About the author

Rajesh Anandan

Rajesh Anandan

Rajesh Anandan is SVP of UNICEF Ventures at UNICEF USA, Co-Creator of Kid Power—the world's first wearable-for-good—and Co-founder of ULTRA Testing, a high performance software testing company that employs individuals on the Autism Spectrum. @UltraRajesh