Being interviewed by the media is a great way to market your business, your book, or your own
expertise. But to truly benefit from the opportunity, there are things you should do (and not do) before, during and after. This article provides advice for how best to capitalize on your time in the spotlight when you are being interviewed by the media.
• Have a game plan. Go into the interview knowing the particular points you want to make and think about the specific words and phrases you can use to convey them succinctly. You should also think about the questions you are likely to be asked during the interview and how to respond to them. However, don’t memorize your answers. Spieling off memorized answers to the questions you are asked is likely to make you come across as uptight and overly rehearsed. Your goal is to be viewed as confident, relaxed and informed.
• Familiarize yourself with the person who will interview you. If you will be a guest on a radio or TV show, understand the show’s format and try to listen to the host interview some other guests so you have a feel for his or her style. If you are going to be interviewed by a print journalist or blogger, read some of what he or she has written in the past.
• Get coached. If you are a media interview newcomer before you even begin to do interviews, consider working with a media couch or pr professional. They can help you refine your message/s, get rid of verbal tics like “you knows” and “like,” which can be distracting to others when you are being interviewed by the media, and help you become camera-ready if you want to do TV interviews. Knowing what to do and not do during an interview and practicing how to answer questions will increase your confidence and help you become a more effective communicator.
• Plan your wardrobe if you will be on camera. Avoid flashy jewelry, busy patterns, loud colors, plaids, horizontal stripes, or anything else that is apt to be distracting to viewers. Also, steer clear of white colors, very short skirts, and if you are a guy, make sure that your pant legs are long enough that there is not a gap between the top of your socks and the bottom of your pants if you will be sitting in a chair to do your interview. You want viewers to focus on what you are saying, not on what you are wearing, your makeup, etc.
• Get enough sleep. The night before you are being interviewed by the media, get sufficient sleep so you won't feel groggy and slow during the interview.
• Spread the word! Promote your upcoming interview on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, on your website, in your blog and via email.
During Your Media Interview
• Stay focused and answer the questions. Also, if you are doing a radio or TV interview, don’t ramble. Otherwise, you risk losing your audience. Also, since your interview may last just a few minutes, you’ll be able to cover less ground if you don't keep your comments “short and sweet.”
• Tell stories. When you are being interviewed by the media, telling an interesting anecdote can be a great to help illustrate a point you want to make, especially if you are discussing a complicated topic. It’s also a good way to engage your audience during a TV or radio interview.
• Don’t be afraid to express your opinions. But don’t come across as overbearing, argumentative or narrow-minded during an interview, and be prepared to support your opinion with facts.
• Look at the host. During a TV interview, look at the person you are speaking to, not at the camera. Also, don’t jiggle your legs, move back and forth or side to side in your chair, etc. You’ll come across as nervous and uncomfortable if you do.
After Your Media Interview
• Say thanks. After your interview is over, send whoever interviewed you a thank you note. TV and radio hosts as well as print journalists are like everyone else – they like to be appreciated.
• Post a link. Share your interview with your clients and potential clients by writing some comments about it and posting a link to the interview on LinkedIn, Facebook and on your website. Also, tweet about it, tout it in an email, mention it in your blog and in your next enewsletter.