Landing an interview for one of your doctors with a national news site, a morning news show or a popular magazine is always a public relations win. It’s good for brand awareness, lead generation and sales. And when you give the media a source they can rely on, they will be more likely to call on you the next time they need a source.
Yet let’s face it, doctors are a unique set. They may be smart, have years of experience and some are even published authors, but when it comes to giving interviews, it’s not always their strong suit.
Here, read on for 7 common mistakes doctors should avoid when they give interviews.
1. No preparation.
When it comes to giving phone interviews for print or online outlets in particular, it’s common for physicians to show up unprepared. They don’t know what the story is about, the name of the outlet and if it will be a print or online story.
Watch any morning news show that includes sit-down interviews with doctors however, and you’ll see that they’re pros. Although the producer has likely provided them with talking points, these physicians have done their homework and know how to give a great interview. They know how to field questions and bring their A-game.
When you land an interview for your organization, it doesn’t matter who the outlet is or where will it be seen. Make sure your doctors know all the details ahead of time and encourage them to do additional research so they will be a shining source. After all, they’re the experts.
2. Boring the audience.
Your doctor might be the leading expert on a certain disease or health condition, but if she cannot deliver the information in an interesting, engaging way, the story falls flat. On TV and radio, the audience will be bored to tears and in print or online, their quotes might be weak or paraphrased.
Find a consultant who provides media training to help your source or at the very least, rehearse with her beforehand.
3. Talking on and on.
Some doctors love to talk and in fact, that’s probably why you chose them to be sources in the first place. Although your physician shouldn’t give one-word answers, he should answer the questions in sound bites, regardless of the format. Getting succinct quotes and quick sound bites always makes the story shine.
4. Dumbing it down or making it too complicated.
When your physician gives an interview with a health journalist, there’s no need to clarify abbreviations like ICSI or explain what the microbiome is. The reporter speaks your language and they will ask for clarification if necessary.
On the other hand, make sure the physician avoids medical jargon because the reporter isn’t likely to include a quote that includes words like “immunocompromised” or “cryopreservation.” The same goes when your doctor gives a TV or radio interview: KISS—keep it simple, stupid.
5. Having an agenda.
Even if they come prepared, it’s common for doctors to veer off course and talk about what they think the story should be. This can certainly give the reporter ideas for another story, but make sure they know to leave those ideas until the end of the interview.
6. Plugging your company.
When giving interviews, a physician may be asked to talk about what she sees as a trend or what common practice is at their hospital. Yet this isn’t an opportunity to sneak in a shameless plug. Unless the story is about the hospital itself, the interviewee knows who the doctor is and will not talk about how great your company is.
7. No added value.
The last question I always ask on interviews is, “Is there anything else that’s important?” When I ask this one simple question, 9 times out of 10 I get some of the best information of the entire interview, something I never thought of or an entirely new story idea.
Before any interview, advise your physician to have additional thoughts or ideas prepared. If he can give the reporter something extra and of value, chances are he’ll be called again for future stories.