Interview

17 Media Relations Manager Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a media relations manager, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

As the public face of an organization, a media relations manager is responsible for managing an organization’s communication with the media. This can include developing and executing PR campaigns, writing press releases, pitching stories to reporters, and acting as a liaison between the organization and the media.

If you want to land a job as a media relations manager, you’ll need to be able to answer a variety of interview questions about your experience, skills, and knowledge. We’ve compiled a list of some common media relations manager interview questions and provided sample answers to help you prepare for your interview.

Common Media Relations Manager Interview Questions

Are you familiar with the public relations industry standards for writing press releases?

The interviewer may ask you this question to gauge your knowledge of the industry standards and how well you adhere to them. Use your answer to highlight your understanding of these standards and show that you can write press releases in a way that meets the expectations of the public relations industry.

Example: “I am very familiar with the industry standards for writing press releases, as I have been following them since my first internship. In fact, I find it helpful to use the AP Stylebook when writing press releases because it offers guidelines on spelling, grammar and punctuation. I also like to include all relevant information in my press releases, such as contact details, quotes from company representatives and links to any related news stories or social media posts.”

What are some of the most effective ways to reach target audiences through social media?

Social media is a popular way to reach target audiences, and employers may ask this question to see if you have experience using social media for your previous employer. In your answer, explain how you would use social media to promote the company’s brand and content.

Example: “I think it’s important to create engaging content that people want to share on their own social media accounts. I’ve found that creating visually appealing graphics and videos are great ways to get people to share our content. Another strategy I like to use is finding influencers in my target audience and collaborating with them to create sponsored posts about our products.”

How would you respond if a reporter asked a question about your organization’s product that you didn’t know how to answer?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a challenging situation. In your answer, explain what steps you would take to find the information and demonstrate that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get the right answers for reporters.

Example: “If I didn’t know the answer to a reporter’s question about our product, I would first apologize and then ask if they could give me a few minutes to look up the information. If I still couldn’t provide an answer after looking through my notes or contacting someone else in the organization, I would tell them that I would have to follow up with them later. I would make sure to contact them as soon as possible with the correct information so they could include it in their article.”

What is your experience with using public records and government documents as sources for stories?

This question can help the interviewer understand your experience with media relations and how you might use public records to support a story. Use examples from past experiences to explain how you used public records to find information for stories, including what types of documents you accessed and how you organized them.

Example: “In my last role as a media relations manager, I worked with local government officials to access public records that helped me write several news articles about city council meetings and other topics related to municipal affairs. The documents I accessed included meeting minutes, budget reports and correspondence between city officials. I found these documents helpful because they provided insight into the inner workings of the city’s government.”

Provide an example of a time when you successfully negotiated with a reporter to change the focus of their story.

Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to negotiate with reporters and other media professionals. Use examples from your experience where you successfully negotiated a change in the focus of a story or how you convinced a reporter to include more information about your company in their article.

Example: “In my previous role as media relations manager, I had a reporter who was writing an article on our company’s new product launch. The reporter focused most of her article on the negative aspects of our product rather than the positive ones. After speaking with the reporter, I learned that she wanted to write a piece that would help consumers understand the risks associated with our product. I worked with the reporter to provide additional details about the product so she could write a more balanced article.”

If a reporter was doing a story on your organization and wanted to speak with a high-level executive, what would you do to arrange the meeting?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a challenging situation. In your answer, try to show that you are willing to go the extra mile for reporters and their stories.

Example: “If a reporter wanted to speak with a high-level executive, I would first ask them if they have tried reaching out to someone else in the organization. If they say no, then I would contact my manager or another senior member of the company to see if they could arrange an interview. If they were unavailable, I would reach out to other executives within the company until I found one who was able to do an interview.”

What would you do if a reporter contacted you asking for a statement about a controversial issue that your organization was involved in?

This question can help interviewers understand how you would handle a challenging situation. Use your answer to highlight your communication skills and ability to think on your feet.

Example: “If I was contacted by a reporter about a controversial issue, I would first make sure that the organization’s communications team had already issued a statement or provided information to the media. If we hadn’t yet spoken with reporters about the issue, I would contact my supervisor to discuss what our official stance is on the matter. Then, I would provide the reporter with an official statement from the company along with any additional information they requested.”

How well do you know the local media landscape and who the top journalists and bloggers are in your area?

The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your knowledge of the local media landscape and how well you know the journalists who cover your company. To answer, list the major news outlets in your area and describe what type of content they produce. If you have personal relationships with any journalists or bloggers, mention them by name.

Example: “I am very familiar with the local media landscape because I read all of the top publications in my city. In addition to the major newspapers, there are several online-only publications that do great investigative reporting. There are also many popular blogs written by locals who share their opinions about current events. I personally know some of the most influential journalists and bloggers in my area.”

Do you have experience writing press releases? If so, what is the largest volume of press releases you’ve written at one time?

The interviewer may ask this question to determine your writing experience and how you handle deadlines. Your answer should include a specific example of a press release you wrote, the deadline you met and the results of that press release.

Example: “In my last role as media relations manager for a large company, I was responsible for writing all of our press releases. On average, I would write two or three press releases per week. One time, we had an important announcement to make about one of our products, so I worked with our marketing team to create a comprehensive press release that included information on the product, its features and why it’s beneficial to consumers. We sent out the press release to several major news outlets, and within 24 hours, the story was picked up by multiple websites and blogs. The coverage resulted in increased sales for our company.”

When is the best time to send out a press release?

This question can help the interviewer determine your knowledge of when to send out a press release and how you plan your media relations strategy. Use examples from previous experience to show that you know what time is best for sending out a press release.

Example: “I find that it’s best to send out a press release in the morning, as this is when most journalists are checking their emails. I also like to send out releases on Fridays or Mondays because these days have fewer news stories than other days of the week. This helps ensure that our press release gets more attention.”

We want to increase our social media presence. What strategies would you use to increase our follower count and engagement rates?

Social media is an important aspect of any company’s marketing strategy. Employers want to know that you can help them increase their social media presence and engagement rates. In your answer, explain how you would use different strategies to grow the company’s social media accounts.

Example: “I would start by creating a content calendar for all of our social media channels. This way, we could create engaging content on a regular basis. I would also make sure to post at peak times when people are most likely to see our posts. For example, if we posted during lunchtime hours, we would reach more potential customers. Another thing I would do is implement a customer service bot so that we can respond to questions quickly.”

Describe your experience with video editing software.

Video editing software is a common skill for media relations managers to have. This question helps employers determine if you’re qualified for the job and whether they need to provide additional training or resources. In your answer, explain which video editing software you’ve used in the past and what you learned from using it.

Example: “I’ve worked with several different types of video editing software throughout my career. I started out working with Windows Movie Maker, but eventually moved on to more advanced programs like Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X. These programs taught me how to use layers, add effects and transitions and edit audio levels.”

What makes you the best candidate for this media relations manager position?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their company. Before your interview, make a list of all the skills and experiences that make you an ideal candidate for this role. Focus on highlighting your most relevant skills and abilities while also showing enthusiasm for the position.

Example: “I am passionate about public relations and have been working in media relations for five years now. I feel like my experience is what makes me the best candidate for this job because I know exactly what it takes to be successful in this role. I understand the importance of building relationships with journalists and other members of the media, which is why I always strive to exceed expectations. I am confident that I can help your company achieve its goals.”

Which media channels do you think are most important for our company to use and why?

This question can help the interviewer determine how you prioritize your time and resources. It also shows them which media channels you’re familiar with and how you use them to promote a company’s brand. When answering this question, make sure to mention all of the major platforms that are relevant to the industry in which the company operates.

Example: “I think social media is one of the most important channels for any company to use because it allows you to connect directly with customers and influencers. I would also recommend using traditional media like newspapers and magazines as well as online publications. These channels allow you to reach a wide audience while still maintaining an element of exclusivity.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of public relations?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the industry and how you can apply it to a role as a media relations manager. Your answer should include examples from your experience that highlight your skills in public relations.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of public relations is communication. It’s essential for me to be able to communicate with my team, clients and other stakeholders about what we’re doing and why. I also believe it’s important to listen to others’ opinions and concerns so I can address them effectively. In my last position, I had to deal with some negative press when one of our products didn’t work as well as expected. I listened to all sides of the issue before responding publicly.”

How often should a media relations manager update their blog?

A media relations manager should be able to write and publish content that is relevant, interesting and informative. A hiring manager may ask this question to see if you have experience with blogging and how often you would update a company’s blog. In your answer, explain the frequency you would post on a company’s blog and why you feel it’s important to do so.

Example: “I think it’s important for a media relations manager to update their company’s blog at least once per week. This allows me to share new information about the company or organization as well as provide helpful tips and advice to readers. I also believe that posting more than once per week can help increase traffic to the site.”

There is a mistake in a press release that you sent out. How do you handle it?

This question can help the interviewer understand how you handle mistakes and errors in your work. Use examples from past experiences to show that you are willing to take responsibility for your actions and learn from them.

Example: “In my last role, I sent out a press release about an upcoming event at our company. Unfortunately, I forgot to include one of the speakers on the list of attendees. When I realized this mistake, I immediately contacted all media outlets who had received the original press release. I apologized for the error and included the speaker’s bio and information about their presentation. The media outlets were understanding and updated their stories with the new information.”

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