Don’t Ask Reporters for Interview Questions Ahead of Time

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So you are being interviewed and you’re nervous. Maybe it’s your first time as a small business owner to sit across from a reporter. Maybe you’ve finally hit the big time and are facing the national media. Or maybe it’s a negative—maybe you have to have a press conference or interview about a crisis your company is currently facing. Whatever the case, your palms are sweaty and you’re worried about the questions you are about to face.

So you consider your options and you think you have found the answer to quell your anxiety. You’ll ask for the questions in advance! After all, why wouldn’t the reporter want nice, well-prepared answers?! It’ll make for a much better interview. It’s genius, right?!

business meeting conference journalism microphonesWrong.

Want to Look Like a Noob?

The idea here is to have reporters and bloggers looking at you as someone in the know. However, if you ask for questions in advance, it’s going to come off as if you are unsure of yourself and your own knowledge. If you are competent in your field, you should have the knowledge and experience to answer questions off the cuff. But asking in advance implies that you need time to research your answers.

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Look, they are coming to you because you are the authority. Have confidence in yourself and your knowledge. If you truly don’t think you can answer everything they might ask, then maybe you aren’t the person they should be interviewing—maybe you aren’t ready.

Want to Look Like You Have Something to Hide?

Any chance that questions in an interview could turn towards a scandal or crisis your company is facing? Are there rumors about your company that a reporter might try to shine light on? If so, then asking for questions prior to the interview is going to seem awfully suspicious. In fact, it’s likely going to cause the reporter to smell blood and cause them to come at you even harder. Why give them more reason?

Instead, face the interview head on. Be prepared for whatever they could throw at you and answer as plainly and truthfully as possible. Avoid rhetoric and hold your head high. You’ll definitely earn more respect that way.

Want to be Taken Seriously Ever Again?

Here’s what it boils down to—you want reporters to take you seriously. You want to develop a relationship with key figures in the media so they will turn to you whenever they need an expert in your field to comment. When your business has a story you want to be able to contact the right people, have them recognize you, and immediately have your “in.”

And if you have your PR people asking reporters for questions in advance, none of the above will occur. So don’t make the mistake.

Have you ever had experience with people asking for question in advance? Have you done it? How did it end up? Tell us your story.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here:

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