There is no point in pleading the fifth when it comes to media interviews in the PR space. When a journalist contacts you for commentary on a topic that is in your wheelhouse as a medical and wellness professional, it is a real opportunity for a slam dunk. You know the subject, you advise patients on the topic frequently, and you have a PR team on your side, so there is no reason for any air balls. See below for some dos and don’ts for your next media interview.

Answer all of the questions

Remember in high school (or in medical school for that matter) when you would take exams? The importance of answering all of the questions was clear to you then, and it should be just as clear in this situation. The media professional asking the questions has an idea for how they want to construct a piece, so you should try to give them the thorough, fact-based material they are seeking. This will make them more likely to write, get approval for and publish the article, and can help cement you as a trusted and reliable source.

Respond with full sentences

Sometimes media interviews come in over the phone, harkening back to the pre-email days. Most of the time, they come in over the world wide web. Recognizing the value of your own time (but also that of the media professional you are working with), responding in full sentences takes a bit more time, but goes a long way. Because you have already put in effort to get to this point, you will want to give yourself the best chance of appearing in a publication by responding with polished, full sentences that can be easily quoted. If a journalist has to come back and ask what bullet #6 meant, it could delay or kill an article, and can sour a valuable media relationship.

Be prompt and meet the agreed-upon deadline

Emergencies come up, particularly in the medical field. With that being said, as a rule of thumb: get back to journalists at or before the deadline for comments. This one seems intuitive, but the value of media relationships cannot be overstated. If you are easy to work with, you’ll get more media bites, and your PR effort will flourish.

Be accurate and truthful

As a medical thoughtleader, you have an opportunity to share accurate and truthful information for the public. Media interviews and resulting publicity offers you a platform for providing information and education in articles about things for which you treat patients. Respect that media relations is another venue in which you can help people with their health questions and concerns.