by Carolyn Edlund
Have an interview opportunity with a member of the press? Reduce stress and plan for a positive outcome with these tips.
As a visual artist, getting press coverage can be an effective way to promote your work and gain recognition. However, doing interviews can be daunting, especially if you are not used to speaking publicly about your art. Whether it’s for a feature in a publication, a podcast, livestream or television spot, you will want to make the most of the opportunity. That means presenting yourself and your work in the best possible light.
Let’s look at some ways to get maximum value from an interview with minimum stress:
Before the interview, do some research on the journalist and the outlet that will be conducting the interview. Look at their past work and get a sense of their style and interests. This will help you tailor your responses to their audience and make the interview more engaging.
Think about what sets your work apart and the message you want to convey to the public. Perhaps you want to highlight your inspiration, your creative process, a cause you support, or something else. Having a clear idea of what you want to say will help you stay focused and on topic during the interview. Prepare some key talking points up front, and practice your answers to common questions that may come up.
Focus on clarity
During the interview, avoid using technical jargon or overly complex explanations. These only serve to confuse the audience and can become tedious. By using concise, easy-to-understand language that anyone can relate to, your audience will better understand your work, stay engaged and feel connected on a deeper level.
Authenticity is key to giving a great press interview. Be true to yourself and your work, and don’t try to be someone you’re not. You might convey authenticity by telling a story about an experience that made a big impact on your career as an artist, whether it was positive or negative. Even relating a story about a disaster that helped you learn a valuable lesson is something your audience can relate to. They will appreciate your honesty and be more likely to remember you.
Stay on message
During the interview, be sure to stay on message and keep the discussion focused on your work. Don’t let the conversation veer off into unrelated topics, or get sidetracked by questions that aren’t relevant to your art. If a question is asked that you don’t feel comfortable answering or that doesn’t relate to your work, politely redirect the conversation back to your art.
Stay calm and composed
Giving an interview can be nerve-wracking, but early preparation and practice will help you handle it. Remember, the interviewer also wants a successful outcome, since it is their work product. A professional press member will work with you to ask interesting and compelling questions while making you feel at ease in the conversation. Consider them an ally who will help you get your message out to readers or listeners.
It’s important to be gracious and professional during any interview. Treat the journalist with respect and gratitude for the opportunity to share your work with their audience. Even if you don’t agree with their perspective or opinions, avoid getting defensive or argumentative.
After the interview, be sure to follow up with a thank-you note or email. This is a great opportunity to express your gratitude again, and to provide any additional information or materials that you may have promised during the interview.
These tips can help you go into any interview with self-confidence and poise. Giving great press can help you make the most of the opportunity to share your work with a wider audience and build your reputation as an artist.