Video: Press interviews and using ‘no comment’

Why no comment might not be the best response in an interview with a journalist

Over the years, as a journalist doing press interviews, I had a few interviewees respond to questions by saying ‘no comment’.

It was an answer that said more than was probably intended and not always the best response to trickier questions.

In the video, with a bit of help from Banksy, I explain why and how you can turn a tricky question into an opportunity.

Full video transcript:

There’s a quote that artist Banksy uses that he got from the Metropolitan Police.

And the quote is:

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Video: How to be a great B2B podcast guest

So you’ve been asked to be a guest on a B2B podcast; how do you make sure your audio interview goes well?

Business podcasts boomed during the lockdown, so the chances of being invited to talk on one as a guest are increasing. You may even be pitching to podcasts to be a guest as part of a communications and content strategy.

Audio interviews are similar to any other interview in that you need to prepare, but there are a few other things you need to do to make sure you are a great podcast guest.

In this video, I give a few tips I’ve picked up from my years doing interviews as a journalist – including podcast interviews. More recently, I’ve been helping clients with their podcasts and hosting interviews.

I’m also in the process of setting up my own business podcast, but more on that another time.

Hope you find the video useful, let me know your thoughts, or if you’ve already been a guest on a podcast, did you enjoy the experience?

More stuff on podcasts and press interviews:

Should I start a podcast as part of a B2B content strategy?

Press interview tip: Understanding the journalist’s agenda

The reason some people get quoted more in the press

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.

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How much do you plan a piece of B2B content before writing?

I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say I have a detailed plan for every piece of content before writing it because I don’t.

But listening to a podcast interview with a B2B content writer talking about how they plan features and blog posts got me reflecting on my own approach.

And I realised that I don’t use the same method for every piece.

Photo by Felipe Furtado on Unsplash

Over the years I’ve got fairly adept at planning in my head or structuring as I go.

But when I started as a features writer on a weekly B2B magazine, I would always write out a plan for each piece.

It made writing a lot easier, particularly in those early days when I was new to the subject matter (commercial property) and new to writing features.

Now I adapt my approach depending on the starting point.

Sometimes I’ll get off a call with a client and already have a pretty good idea of the key points and main angle.

Select the juicy bits

I might free write the first few pars before going back to the transcript to start pulling out the juiciest bits, shaping and ordering them.

If the conversation with the client was a brainstorm around a few thought leader ideas, and the task is to pick out the best and write it up, then I’ll hone in on what felt like the strongest or most developed idea.

Listening to how the client talks about something can be a good indicator of where they have the strongest views or ideas. This is also key for capturing the client’s tone of voice in the piece.

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How to moderate a webinar like a pro (part 2)

In How to moderate a webinar like a pro (part 1), I talked about pre-event preparation; in this post, I’m going to give some tips for what to do once you are live and in front of an audience.

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

Lights, camera, action

If you are joining the webinar from home, make sure you have sufficient lighting so that people can see you properly. Sitting with your back towards a bright light or window will throw a shadow over your face.

Position your camera so you can look directly at it; it looks more professional and is more engaging for the audience if you are looking directly at them from the screen.

If you have a standing desk, then moderate standing up as this will give your voice a bit more energy.

Dealing with nerves

It can be nerve-wracking speaking in public – even if it’s a webinar and you can’t see your audience.

Your heart starts racing, your hands might shake and, if you are like me, you talk faster.

Remember to breathe and consciously slow down your speech a little. It not only has a calming effect, but it gives you a bit more thinking time. It can help you feel more in control.

And if you appear calm and in control, it will help the panellists feel calm.

Set the scene

As a moderator, you run the ship; you are guiding the panellists and audience through the discussion.

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