“Lights, Camera, Action” Isn’t Always the Case
You’ve landed yourself a media interview… so now what? While securing the opportunity is certainly the first hurdle, if you want media coverage that packs a punch it’s all about preparation. Showing up, smiling pretty and answering questions is the easy part. Telling your story in a way that captures the attention of your audience and leads to a desired outcome takes intentionality and confidence. When executed properly, media interviews can result in new customers and partnerships, ROI and increased brand awareness. This is the power of public relations at play.
Over the past year, media interviews have gone from being in-studio with lights, cameras and staged sets to being conducted primarily over Zoom, with the spokespersons sitting in their living room or home office. No matter the location of the interview, three principles transcend you have to look the part, sound the part and be the part.
Look the Part
When preparing for an interview, be intentional about the way you dress. Journalists on our team warn us how the camera can get confused by busy patterns and bright colors, stay away from these options if at all possible. Solid-colored blouses, pants, dresses and jackets tend to stand out. Hair should be styled in a way that is not distracting to you or the camera and makeup should be natural-looking, accentuating your features.
This should go without saying, but dress professionally from head to toe. You never know if you’ll have to stand up suddenly to grab something out of arm’s reach (or, God-forbid, usher your waddling toddler out of the room). The last thing you want the audience to see is your pajama pants (no matter how comfortable or festive they may be). It was a good laugh for the nation when ABC News’ Will Reeve thought his lower half wasn’t on camera and sported a blazer, button down shirt and boxers look on camera during the thick of quarantine, though.
Sound the Part
Many people just worry about showing up and answering questions correctly, missing the HUGE opportunity to market their brand., To strategize your response and take charge of the interview, preparation is key. Not only are media interviews an opportunity to position your brand, but it’s also a chance to tell your unique story. What you say matters, especially when you only have a few minutes on-air. Start brainstorming what you’re going to say by asking yourself the following questions:
What will the audience care about?
How can you tell them in a way that is beneficial to them?
What is the desired outcome or call to action?
Record yourself talking through your thoughts and practice with a friend, coworker or family member to get feedback. Noticing tendencies like filler words, voice inflections and body language allows you to make corrections and apply feedback to make your interview more compelling. We recommend memorizing a handful of talking points you want to be sure to hit on, this way if you feel the conversation drifting you can rein it in.
Be the Part
You’ve practiced, picked out a killer outfit, now it’s time to perform. It’s natural to be nervous. Let your personality and topic knowledge shine through! You should come across as authentic, confident and prepared. Simple gestures such as smiling can make the audience see you as genuine and relatable.
Remind yourself that you are the expert and the media is coming to you for that reason. You have valuable information to share with others and people want to hear it. . Put your preparation to work! While you’re at it, engage with the journalists, editors and producers and begin to cultivate relationships. You never know what this could lead to; a friendship, future interviews, or becoming the go-to community member for your industry.
Media appearances are not a walk in the park, many people overlook the strategy and practice that goes into a great interview. This is why as an agency we offer media training to organizations and individuals. Each media training we do is rooted in research on the given industry, individuals and organization. Our PR team guides you through the process of determining your unique messaging and practicing effective delivery with on-camera exercises to provide you with detailed, applicable feedback. For more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!