How to Avoid Getting Blindsided in a Media interview

Never go into a media interview without doing your homework. You should be clear about who the interviewer is and where he or she is coming from.

Google the interviewer's past materials and figure out what his likes and dislikes are. What's her political bent? What's his take on business, especially yours? Has she ever voiced an opinion about your area of expertise? Are the questions confrontational or informational? Does he interrupt the interviewee or let the guest complete the answer? For example, Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business News often asks questions that are laced with her opinions while Charlie Rose is more neutral. Chris Mathews of MSNBC and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News Channel come from different ends of the political spectrum but they have at least one thing in common: it is rare for either to allow their guest to answer a question without interruption. And they are not shy about telling you what they think about your opinion.

What's the background of the host or reporter? Do you have anything in common like growing up in the same city or attending the same college? Commonality can help create rapport.

If you've read or seen one of their stories and found something genuinely interesting, mention it to them. Everyone likes praise.

Now take your research beyond the person asking the questions. Find out who the audience is. Is it the right one for your message?

It well maybe that by doing your due diligence, you'll decide that the style or the point of view of the interviewer is not a good fit. If you turn it down, do it gracefully. You never know when it might be the right time and subject for you to be interviewed by that person.

Media interviews can be very helpful in promoting your business. Just make sure that you do them with your eyes wide open.