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Tips for Successful Virtual News Media Interviews

The COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the way journalists cover the news. While digital media and the use of smartphones have been used to conduct interviews as an alternative to meeting in-person, more journalists than ever before are leveraging video platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and FaceTime to execute both live and pre-recorded virtual interviews.

The convenient and cost-effective virtual interview trend is expected to grow in the future due to the rapidly evolving capabilities of emerging technology. It’s important for organizations to adapt by ensuring employees have access to tools and information necessary for participating in virtual interviews that will help the organization tell its story.

Below are Lukas Partners’ recommendations for ensuring high-quality virtual interviews:

Secure Your Connection Connecting to an online video conferencing platform with a wired internet connection is preferable to increase stability and prevent signal loss. Prior to connecting to the program, close any unused applications or programs that could interfere with your connection.

Utilize Proper Tools A high-quality web or phone camera ensures that your video is crisp and clear as opposed to blurry or grainy. A little natural lighting from the sun also can enhance the quality of your video, but be sure to avoid overexposure. Also avoid dim locations. If using a cell phone during your interview, utilize a tripod to stabilize and frame yourself on screen.

Practice Makes Perfect Familiarize yourself with the specified video platform ahead of your interview – this will ensure you are comfortable utilizing the technology. Recording practice videos can help you determine where to look during the interview and how loud to speak. Creating and reviewing important talking points ahead of interviews can help keep your thoughts organized. During the interview, be genuine and relatable. Keep the audience in mind when delivering key messages – be compelling during positive interviews to retain the attention of your audience and show empathy when discussing a difficult topic.

Looking Your Best Virtual interviews are more personal than phone interviews because the interviewer can get a sense of the interviewee’s professionalism and body language. When choosing appropriate attire, consider the organization you are representing. Distracting outfits and body language can draw attention away from your key messages.

Location Matters Determine a quiet location where the interview will be filmed. Ensure the background of the interview is professional and relevant to the story. Prior to the interview, conduct a test by filming on location at a business setting or utilizing company signage in the background. These tactics work well but could come off as a distraction if not executed properly. Zoom allows the ability to upload a virtual background; however, the quality can be poor if a quality camera isn’t used or if the user does not sit or stand in front of a plain wall.


About the Author

Kristen Whitman is a senior account executive at Lukas Partners. Kristen connects

clients to their audience and customers in the best way possible. She knows exactly what goes into making a story memorable and beneficial to target audiences. She also understands how important social and digital media strategies are to a company’s success.

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