Over the past decade, what is known as “media” has evolved. Influencers and blogs are increasingly popular and sought after. However, for the majority of Canadians, earned media is still considered to be a highly-trusted source. To earn that coverage and land an interview, knowing whom to pitch, when to pitch and how to follow up are all key. But what happens once you land it? Preparation is paramount. Taking the time to learn how to give an impactful interview is essential. An unprepared interview can have disastrous consequences.
There are a few key points to remember. First and foremost, it is the journalist’s job to run the interview and ask questions, but it’s our job as an agency-client team to ensure we effectively communicate our brand messages. Just like learning any new skill, or getting better at an existing one, training helps!
I am always asked, “what are the most common mistakes made by interviewees when in the hot seat?” That is easy to answer:
- Number 1 mistake: Waiting to be asked the right question. It may never come around. You have to make the opportunity or you may lose it.
- Number 2 mistake: Memorized answers that lack authenticity. Know the subject, be comfortable with it, but do not have memorized answers.
- Number 3 mistake: Taking up too much air time. Know when to stop talking and let the interviewer ask the next question.
- Number 4 mistake: Not knowing proper body posture. Too much gesturing or poor sitting position has ruined many an interview. This is as important in a radio interview as it is on TV. Posture can enhance your voice and the confidence you project.
- Number 5 mistake – Not being honest in your representation of you or your product
So, what is the secret to a good interview? Below are five tips to help you combat these common mistakes:
- Tip #1 – Know your message and get it in off the top – Who you are, what you do and what are you trying to communicate
- Tip #2 – Show, don’t tell – anecdotes, stories and demonstrations are key
- Tip #3 – Energy, energy, energy. Don’t be hyper but also avoid a monotonous voice or posture. Remember to pause and listen to the interviewer.
- Tip #4 – Be mindful of your posture, hands, face and how you position your body
- Tip #5 – Be honest and be sincere
I always close a training sessions with a few key hints. These are my top 5:
- Always practice answering questions out loud, not in your head
- Stand or sit in front of a mirror to see what you look like
- Get different people to ask you questions – have some be knowledgeable about your subject matter and have others interview you cold
- Write down as many questions you can think of that may be posed to you – no matter how silly or ‘out there’ the question may be. It’s especially important to anticipate the toughest questions you may get asked.
- Read past articles and watch interviews to get a sense of the interviewer’s style. At Felicity, we provide our clients with this information all in one place as a pre-interview briefing
Lastly, when you are heading to a TV interview, be sure to wear the right outfit. I tell my clients to wear colour with no busy prints. I also tell them to avoid white, grey and green. If they can, find creative ways to brand themselves without literally wearing their logo. And, always come camera READY! Unless you’ve been told otherwise, hair and makeup should be done, and come with extra powder, brush, etc. Ensure nails are clean or manicured.
At Felicity we work hard to not only garner the best media interviews but to also prepare our clients and make sure they are interview ready. When properly prepared, media interviews can present a huge opportunity to grow your business.