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Simple & Easy Media Tips to Giving Good Interviews

Mar 4, 2008
Who doesn't want to get the word out about their company, service, or product? As a publicity expert with more than twenty years experience in the field, I have encountered hundreds of companies who have wanted the same thing. My answer is to appear as a guest on local radio, TV news shows and/or gain editorial coverage in print which will enable you to get the word out to thousands (and possibly millions) of consumers.

From my experience, here are some tips that will help anyone get started in the race to attract attention from the broadcast media - radio and TV.
How To Know if You Are a Good Candidate for Radio and TV.

Almost anyone can be a candidate for radio and TV, but if you are a company with consumer-oriented products you are a perfect fit! If you are a professional firm with legal, financial or consumer related services this would work for you too. With specialty radio and TV programs on law, relationships, lifestyles, health, gardening and more, there are definitely shows out there that can be a perfect match for your message.

Does Practice Make Perfect?

Oh, definitely. The professionals who are in the media all the time make it look very easy, but actually it's a skill. The more interviews you do, the better you get at defining your message and honing your presentation skills. And once you do a few radio call-in shows and speak to a few hosts, you'll find that the questions you get are similar. Usually, there's one area of your message that's really interesting to people and you can start to craft your answers to respond about that area.
Where To Focus Your Pitches.

Local radio shows on the 250-watt or 1,000-watt AM stations are a great place to start. There's also internet radio, which is becoming more popular and could be another good way to get started. With more radio shows going to national programming the weekend programs are also the best place to find radio shows that are looking for guests.

For TV go after your local morning news programs or weekend lifestyle segments. And there's also community-access cable, which can be relatively easy to get on and can provide wonderful experience and a way to build up your confidence on camera.

How to Spark Producer Interest.
Well, first, stay up on the news. Listen to the radio, read newspapers, watch TV. That helps you figure out what's in the news and how your message might tie in with it. Once you have an angle or tie-in to a current news story, put together a press release that positions you as an expert on this issue and sells them on why they should have you as a guest. Remember, pitch your expertise as a solution to a problem that's making news - don't go in with a sales angle!

Getting Prepared for the Interview.
Make sure you're fully prepared with facts, figures, and anecdotes to talk about when you're on the air. Make up a cheat sheet or note cards loaded with your best information and key points. Most TV interviews are going to be very short -- three to five minutes at most -- so you really must know your message before you go on the air.

Do some dry runs with a friend or business associate acting as the host, so you get your answers down. The audience can easily detect the difference between a guest bursting with knowledge and one whose knowledge well is drying up. If you don't have much to say, you'll lose the audience's attention and any credibility that you were building with them.

Do As Many Interviews as Possible.
There is no such thing as overexposure; you want to conduct as many media interviews as you can. The more interviews that you do, the more buzz you will build about your company, product or service. And you should make yourself available at a moment's notice, if need be. Talk radio interviews are typically done from your home or office, so that makes it very easy.

Think of media appearances as instant promotional opportunities, and be available day or night. Anytime you're on the air, you're going to boost your company, product or service's visibility and sales.

How To Get Invited Back.
You need to sparkle on air. Enthusiasm speaks loud and clear, so in order to keep the audience attentive you need to maintain a high level of interest throughout the interview.

Remember, media is about entertainment. So you want to be both informative and entertaining, not boring. Do that and you'll find the host jumping in to help you promote your message.

How to Give a Good Interview: Eat, Sleep and Turn Off Your Phone!
It sounds obvious, but the first thing is make sure you're really well-rested and well-fed. Your attention isn't going to be focused if you're hungry or tired.

Also, if you're doing a radio interview from your home or office, close yourself off in a room where there are as few distractions as possible. Get your cell phone out of there! Then, try and relax and be yourself. Nobody knows your message like you do -- so you really are an expert. Have fun with it!

And don't be too hard on yourself after your first appearance. No one goes out and bats a home run the first time at the plate. So try to be as comfortable as possible and as prepared as you can be, and then enjoy yourself.
About the Author
Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on publicity for authors for nearly two decades as CEO of Event Management Services, Inc (EMSI). If you would like to receive her free Ebook "How to Be a Great Talk Radio Guest" visit http://www.emsincorporated.com.
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