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Keren Haynes
Keren Haynes
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Blog Post

How to: Have a successful BBC interview

Keren Haynes
Keren Haynes
View all posts >

In terms of broadcast PR a successful interview is a fine balance between giving the journalist what they want at the same time as promoting your brand or product.  Shout! was given these tips by a BBC regional radio presenter – and they’re very much along the lines of what we would tell our clients.  Most of the spokespeople we work with aren’t guilty of many of these things – but it’s always good to remind ourselves what the unwritten rules of radio interviews are!  Here are the tips:

  • We ask that any product mentions are kept to strictly 2 per interview – your challenge is to slip them in as unobtrusively as possible. Don’t worry about them though, if you forget, the host should draw attention to it.
  • Do remember the BBC cannot advertise products or services and so if we deviate from this, we won’t be able to conduct interviews like this again.
  •  Please don’t repeat the name of your new book/product/service or website over and over. Listeners will get annoyed.  Your job is to be so fascinating that the listeners stay until the end of the interview because they want to hear the host repeat the title.  We will put your information on our station website, especially if you give it to us in advance.
  • Forget there is a larger audience.  You will be much more effective if you speak to the host one-on-one, instead of addressing all those listeners “out there.”  The audience listens one at a time, talk to one person at a time.
  • Try to relax.  Be yourself.  Radio is a personal and intimate medium.  Listeners like to be spoken to in a conversational, relaxed way.
  • Do not bring in a lot of notes and read from them.  We like you and your personality – you’re great.
  • Don’t be rigid. As in normal conversation, the interview may take a turn that has nothing to do with your agenda.  Be a good guest.  The discussion may lead to even better things than you were originally prepared to talk about.  A skilled interviewer does not stick to a script.

Speak to the host as you would to a friendly, but uninformed, stranger you meet at a cocktail party or sat next to on an airplane.  If you can genuinely interest the host in your topic, you will also interest the audience, and will have a very good chance of being asked back.

Shout! offer media training as one of our services, and we’re always happy to coach spokespeople before they go on air.  For more tips on getting the best out of spokespeople read our related guide How to: get the most from your spokesperson or call one of the Shout! team on 020 7240 7373.

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