Your PR efforts finally worked and yo;ve been contacted by a radio or TV producer, asking you to appear on their program. Yo-re excited, but also a little nervous. Rela-'ve been on the air hundreds of times and i's actually a lot of fun. The following tips will help you make sure your time'on the ai' goes smoothly.
Before the Show
Learn as much as you can about the program. Will it be live, or taped and edited for air? Find out who will be interviewing you, and watch or listen to some of his or her past interviews to get a sense of the progra's style. Is the show humorous, serious or confrontational? Also find out who the sho's listeners or viewers are and as much as you can about their demographics.
Understand wha's expected of you. How long is the show and what is the format? How long is your segment and what is the topic yo'll be addressing? Will listeners be able to call in and ask questions, or will there be a studio audience? Find out whether you will be interviewed one-on-one or part of a panel discussion. If there will be other guests, find out who they are and learn as much as you can about them in advance.
Give the show your background information. Send them your press kits, headshots, logo graphics, links to any past interviews, and anything else that might give them some background on your business.
Think visual. For a TV interview, try to come up with interesting ways to display your product on the air. For instance, if you have a pet-related product, could you bring an animal on the show and demonstrate how the product is used? If your product doesn't lend itself to an in-studio demonstration, maybe the show can film you at your business ahead of time. Or you may want to create your own video of your product. But remember it's the show's decision, so don't try to produce the segment for them.
Be flexible. You might get contacted for a different type of story than your original pitch. Be willing to talk about whatever the interviewer wants. You need to think on your feet. Be cooperative and friendly.
Practice. If you're not skilled at public speaking, it's time to get up to speed. Have a friend do a mock interview with you and videotape yourself with an inexpensive camera. Watch the video, pinpoint your mistakes and keep practicing until you feel comfortable.
Be prepared. Think about possible questions you might be asked and come up with answers. Also think about any anecdotes that will help you convey likability and the image of your business. Stay up with industry trends so you'll be able to answer any questions about current events, and also so you can pitch new ideas for topics.
At the Studio
Arrive on time as requested by the studio. For TV, find out ahead of time if you will have access to a hair and makeup person or if you need to do your own. Even if you're a man, bring some pressed powder with you so you can powder your face to prevent shine.
Wear appropriate clothing. Ask ahead of time what type of clothing you should wear for TV. Most stations will give you guidelines regarding color and style (for example, no white clothing or patterns). Make sure your entire outfit, head to toe, looks professional - you never know what parts of you will show up on TV.
Bring your basic info. Even if you already sent the information to the studio, bring a piece of paper with your name, business name, website, logo and contact information to give the studio in case they will be showing any of the information on screen. Also give the host a sheet describing your business and your contact information.
During the Interview
Relax and have fun. It's natural to be nervous; use that energy to make yourself look lively. Sit up straight, smile and speak clearly. Be yourself!
Don't think about the audience. Instead of focusing on the studio audience or looking at the camera, focus on the interviewer. Think of the interview as a one-on-one conversation, and you'll appear much more natural.
Be animated. You need to show lots of energy to come across right on TV, so pump up the volume and animation in your voice and face. On radio, your voice is especially important; smiling can help convey energy and friendliness even when listeners can't see you.
Know your message. Focus on the points you want to emphasize. You should aim to get your main message across in the first 30 seconds of your interview, whether that's a book you are selling, the name of your website, or the name of your product and where to buy it.
Keep it brief. Don't drone on and on; keep your answers short and to the point. Aim for sound bites of 10 to 15 seconds each.
Be professional. Even if the interview is taped and will be edited for later airing, act as if everything you say”even polite chat with the host before and after the show”will be aired and don't say anything you wouldn't want to hear broadcast.
Set the stage. Sometimes radio interviews are taped over the phone. If this is the case, be sure your home or office is quiet during the taping; turn off phones and computers and put up a sign on your door so people know not to interrupt you. And most media outlets insist you use a corded phone. Absolutely no cell phones allowed.
Slow down. Most people talk too fast when they get nervous, so try to slow down your speech and speak clearly”especially when you're saying the name of your company, site, book or product.
Maximize Your Opportunity
To make the most of your TV or radio appearance, let all your customers and colleagues know when the interview will air. Put the information on your website and send out e-mails announcing it. Promote it on your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. If the show will be archived or streamed online, send the link to your e-mail list.
Before the show airs, make sure your business is ready to handle the publicity that may arise. Is your website up to date? You might get thousands of orders, calls or site visitors if your interview is successful, so make sure you can deal with the volume.
Ask whether you can get a copy of the show or interview that you can use to market your business in the future. If the show will run multiple times, find out the air dates. Get as much publicity from the event as you can.
After the show, send a note thanking the producer and interviewer for the opportunity. This helps you develop a relationship and get asked back again...and again. Just as with any member of the media, become a resource and you'll be more likely to get future publicity.