Being interviewed by a journalist can be a daunting task for many accountants. We rarely see CPAs volunteer for an opportunity to sit in the hot seat and answer questions about the firm. We understand this fear and apprehension and believe most of it comes from feeling unprepared. Whether the interview is a paid article in a business publication or an update on the impending tax legislative changes for the local news, being prepared with the strategic talking points that you wish to convey will alleviate some of the fear and provide focus and direction. Below are some tips to help you prepare.
- Start by identifying the messages you want to convey in the interview. There may be initiatives the firm is focusing on that should be mentioned: a recent merger, an anniversary, new leadership, or service lines and niches that you want to promote. Define your key messages and keep them top of mind throughout the interview. When possible, ask for a list of questions before the interview so you can prepare your responses and incorporate these key messages.
- We can’t stress enough how important it is to know your value propositions and incorporate them appropriately into the interview. This applies to both your firm and you personally. Who are your target clients? What makes you different? Why are you in business? How do you solve problems? Once you’ve identified your value propositions, write them down, know them and listen for ways to incorporate them into the interview. If the journalist poses the question, “What services do you provide?”, Avoid rattling off a list of services that all your competitors provide as well. Answer in a way that differentiates your firm and speaks to your target audience, “We help business owners who want to grow. We look for ways they can improve, but we also provide ideas for the future and help implement them.”
- Next, do your research. Before the interview, research the publication or medium and determine the audience. This research will help you position your messages. If the publication targets medical professionals, you’ll want to prepare and incorporate relevant value propositions and messages.
- Ask to review the story before publication. Some journalists won’t agree, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. The journalist may be willing to take suggestions or edits before publication to ensure accuracy, especially if you’ve paid to publish the article.
With proper planning and prepared talking points, even the most apprehensive can become confident. Improve your fluency on what your firm offers so you can show how your firm stands out from the rest. Seize the opportunity to talk about your firm, early and often. If you need advice on how to become a great mouthpiece for your firm, give us a call. We’d be happy to chat with you!