Interviews You Should Decline

Last week we discussed bad interviews and how you can avoid being a part of one. If you missed it, you can read about it here.

This week, our topic is a little bit different yet every bit as important. It has to do with discernment and the fact that there are some media interviews you should just say no to doing.

Now, if you’re doing your due diligence and only approaching media where it makes sense for you to be on the show or in the article, then you will be fine. However, there may be times when you are approached BY media wanting to interview YOU. It can be very flattering, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t investigate who they are and what they want to talk to you about. Some media you should say no to.

Question: How do you know if the interview you’re being asked to do is one you should accept, or say no to doing?

  • The number one reason for declining an interview is if the target audience of the media outlet does not match or reach your target market.
  • You may not think you have the expertise on the topic they want you to speak to you about. You most likely have a sweet spot that you truly are the expert in, but there may be similar topics you’re not quite as confident about. Stay away from them.
  • It may be an organization posing as media when what they’re really doing is a sales call. I’ve got an entire module in my new Media Darling program coming out this fall that is all about how to spot the fakes and not get sucked in and taken.
    Upon learning more about the interview, you may discover that the story is too negative or too critical of others and you just don’t want to be associated with it. This is understandable.
  • You may do some research on the host only to discover that he or she has a tendency to jump on and grill guests and you just don’t want to be a part of that either. Some of this is dependent on personality type. If, for example, you’re very good at holding your own when things get confrontational, then as it’s happening you can speak through the host directly to your ultimate customer and come out doing very well indeed. Of course, this only applies to “live” interviews. Recorded ones or print interviews can and will be edited.

Considerations: Before you decline an interview, however, you must consider the following.

  • By saying no, will it cause any damage to you or your brand? They may be interviewing you to get some quotes. How will it sound if while on the air, the host says they reached out to you and you declined to answer. Sometimes that can be worse than actually doing the interview.
  • Might the journalist or media outlet be important to you in the future? I have often said producers and other media folks have memories like an elephant. If you say no, they may not come back in the future, so consider this.
  • There is an old saying that “no publicity is bad publicity,” but that isn’t necessarily true. There are various ways to get your expertise and your book out there, and publicity via earned media outlets is a great way to do it. But you want to be smart about it, so think about that before you say no.

Bottom line

Media interviews provide a fantastic way to communicate with your target market. Make sure you have newsworthy information to share, strive to offer a win-win with the journalist, say no when you need to, but be sure to consider all the points above first.

To your success!


P.S. Happy Fourth of July Weekend!! In spite of all our differences, let’s find a way to work together and let freedom ring.






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