How to Prepare and Deliver Media Interviews (Part 1)
Have you been asked to appear in a media segment? The Public Speaker has done plenty. From preparing for the interview, to following up afterward, check out these tips to start interviewing like a pro.
Page 2 of 3
Of course, if you’re actively promoting a book or services, then my advice is to be open to any opportunity. I’ve been asked to be a guest on morning talk shows, many business and financial news shows, sports radio programs, even a show dedicated to hair salon owners, and very recently I was invited to be a guest on a health and wellness show. Since the topics I talk about are about delivering feedback, dealing with difficult people, having difficult conversations, developing inner charisma, accepting criticism, and speaking with tack and grace, etc., my work lends it’s self to just about any audience.
Understand Your Connection to the Audience
However, I’ll admit, when I received the invitation for the health and wellness show, I wrote back and said “My expertise is in communication—are you sure you want me?” The producer responded that the number one thing causing illness is stress, and stress is often caused by poor communication. There was a direct connection to something the audience would be interested in – one that I agreed with, but was surprised that the host was willing to make the connection.
My point is to be confident in your ability to add value. My very first interview invitation was to a well-known financial/ business news show. I wasn't sure why they wanted me. It was a high visibility show and I got worried. I had my PR agency contact them about my concern, and ultimately they decided to cut the segment from 30 minutes to 10 minutes. That was a huge mistake on my part! If they invite you, and your expertise can add value to their program, just say yes!
Prepare Materials and Marketing
If you’re going to start doing regular interviews, then you need to be prepared. Write several bios of different lengths and have them ready to send on a moment’s notice. A longer bio can include more details and history, but a short bio should stick to the highlights. A good rule of thumb is 20-25 words for a brief interview and 50 for longer interviews. Be sure to also include photos of you, your product, and brief list of topics or questions that you can speak to. And if they ask for specific materials, be sure to provide exactly what they ask for quickly.
Author Trisha Ventker provides this tip: “Some radio producers ask for a press kit weeks before the show. I always include a list of possible interview questions along with the approximate time (in seconds) each will take to answer.” However, in my experience, I have found that although some hosts find pre-written interview questions helpful, many journalists prefer to develop their own questions.
If you are promoting a product or service, be sure you have a web address set up ahead of time that’s easy to remember and give it to your host. If there is communication with the host before the show, you may want to remind him of the correct URL. If you can, choose one that has a benefit to your service or product that will be memorable. For example, I use morefromlisa.com, or bonusfromlisa.com, or freefromlisa.com.
How Long Is the Segment?
Ask for the length of the segment in advance and try to stickcloselywithin that time frame, but be prepared for it to go long or be cut short. If another guest cancels, you may be asked to fill more time. But if the host is running over time, you may be given only a couple of minutes.