Media Training: How to Ace Your Next TV Interview

Imagine you just returned from vacation and endured a grueling 14-hour flight through seven time zones.

Naturally, you are jetlagged and want nothing more than to go to bed.

Then the phone rings. The local news station wants you to be on the news that night for a 5-minute interview. Can you be at the station in two hours to tape the interview?

That’s what happened to Susan Zimmerman, co-owner of Mindful Planning, a personal finance firm based in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

She called me after the interview and asked for my advice on what she should have done – if she had time to prepare.

This situation could happen to you. If you pitch your services to the media, or if the media finds your website, they could call you for an interview that has to be done right now.

What should you do?

Here’s what I told my new coaching client:

  1. Create a travel kit. Just like you have a suitcase containing your essentials for travel, have an interview travel kit prepared for the interview. It contains your product, your book, your visuals, your props and a sheet containing your talking points. You’ll be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
  2. Think visually. TV is a visual medium. The TV station wants to show anything that looks interesting. The TV camera gets bored if it shows two talking heads. The TV camera wants to show your book cover or your product. Bring it. You’ll make the TV producer very happy.
  3. Identify yourself. Let the producer know how you want to be identified. You can be Susan Smith, president of XYZ Company, or Kim Smith, author of Kim Smith’s Guide to Everything. They don’t care. They just have to have something. They will flash whatever you give them as the title that displays when they introduce you.
  4. Promote your website. Let the producer know your website address. They may or may not show it on the TV screen. But if you don’t give them the info, they never will be able to promote it.
  5. Don’t promote your stuff. Don’t say, “In my book.” You’ll look like you are trying to sell something and you will lose your credibility. The TV people will be very happy to promote you if you lay low. They will say, “We’re here with Kim Smith, author of Kim Smith’s Guide to Everything” and they will show the book cover. If you promote yourself, they might cut short a live interview, or if the interview is taped, they will cut your self-promotion. Promotion is more sincere when they do it.
  6. Get a list of questions the reporter will ask. If they can’t show you the questions, find out what the general topic is and imagine the 3 questions they will ask – or the 3 questions you wish they would ask and then create short answers.
  7. Use those 3 answers whenever you can. Weave them into whatever question the reporter asks so you will have a greater chance of sharing your talking points.
  8. Ask for permission to use the video on your website. Or ask them for the link to the video so you can link to it.
  9. Let your clients, prospects, fans and social media followers know you were on TV. Send them the link to your website if you can post the video there, or to the TV station website if they don’t give you permission.
  10. Get a screen shot of the TV screen showing you with the reporter. Post it to your website and blog so new prospects will see you have high trust because you were interviewed on TV.
  11. Dress for TV success. Get your colors done and your wardrobe picked out. If you wear the wrong clothes or the wrong colors, no one will hear your message.

Susan said, “I know I’ll ace my next TV interview. Thanks, Dan.”

If you follow these tips, you’ll be prepared for that last-minute phone call from the media!

What tips can you share?

Dan Janal helps small businesses get publicity so they can sell more products. My clients get terrific results from my coaching, consulting, done-for-you services and do-it-yourself tools. For info, go to www.prleadsplus.com or call me at 952-380-1554.