Press interview tip: Understanding the journalist’s agenda

I was doing a B2B media training session recently, and the topic of journalists’ ‘having an agenda’ when doing press interviews came up.

The assumption being that a B2B journalist will already have an angle to a story or feature and be more interested in questions and conversation that supports that.

A woman sit with a pen writing in a note pad at an event. You can see others sat near her with notebooks.
Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

And as a result, using a press interview as a means of getting your voice or opinion heard, the odds are stacked against you.

Do journalists have an agenda when they sit down to interview someone?

Having been a journalist for 20 years, I can confidently say: ‘Yes.

But it isn’t quite what you think.

A B2B journalist’s agenda will first and foremost be to find an interesting story or useful information for their readers and subscribers.

That’s their job.

If you understand who their audience is, you’ll have a better idea of what the journalist is going to be interested in talking about.

For example, if the journalist writes for a trade journal for property developers, their ‘agenda’ will focus on what property developers are interested in and want to know.

This could include information around what will help them do business, where there are opportunities, market trends, market performance and challenges.

What is your agenda?

But the journalist isn’t the only person sat in a press interview who has an agenda.

If you are a B2B business looking to engage with the press, you are doing that for a reason.

You want to get your story or achievements out to a wider audience. You want more visibility and to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge.

And in raising your profile, you want to win more business.

So the key press interview tip I have is to align your agenda with that of the journalist.

Their job isn’t to do your marketing for you; instead, you need to earn your quote or mention.

If you want your story in the press, it needs to be interesting and relevant to the publication or websites (or podcasts) audience.

You need to give value to the journalist’s readership in a way that reflects positively on you and your business.

Related posts:

How not to annoy B2B journalists and get more coverage

The reason some people get quoted more in the B2B press

Before your write your press release, ask these 3 questions

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