Think you’re ready for your radio, print or TV interview? It might look easy but taking the time to prepare will make all the difference in your comfort level and success. Here are 9 key steps to success:
One of the first steps in a marketing program is preparing a media kit. If you have one, you’ve probably created a sample question-and-answer sheet to add to your media kit. These Qs and As will give you a great starting point for your media interview. Make sure to go over the information and send this to the reporter or host.
Just like with writing, research is a critical. Read, watch, and listen to interviews with the media outlet or outlets you are most interested in or which are on target for your book. Become familiar with the interview format, the types of questions usually asked, and the length of time for responses. Your responses need to be succinct and on-point. Also, find out whether the interview is live or pre-recorded. That gives you more flexibility in the length of your answers. If the interview will be published via print or online, you might ask for a list of questions that you can respond to. This gives you more time to prepare your answers.
If it’s a broadcast Interview, practice in front of a mirror or webcam or with a friend. Remember to relax and pause for a deep breath if you need more time to respond.
- Help your host
Sometimes, short answers are better because they allow the host to ask another question, take another phone call, or go to a commercial. But, other times, the host will ask an open-ended question that allow
s you the flexibility to expound on your answer. You’ll judge the pacing when you research the show you’re being interviewed on, and by asking the host in advance.
- Express yourself
Readers appreciate a relaxed, authentic approach and want to know your story. And, on a radio program, listeners will “hear it” if you stand and most importantly — smile. Try to match the host’s energy. Your passion – or lack of it — will really come across to the audience.
- Find a quiet spot for your interview
Most interviews will be arranged in advance. If it’s handled over the phone, be sure that you arrange to take t
he call in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. Also, practice your interviews in this space. You’re the expert and the radio host will usually attempt to make you comfortable and at ease.
Take your time and have your talking points in front of you. Make sure to answer questions in a way that presents you and your book in the most positive and interesting way.
- Practice makes perfect
With practice, you’ll relax during interviews and put yourself and your book in the best light. Think carefully before responding to questions, and answer with your practiced responses but avoid sounding canned. The audience will pick up on rote answers so just be natural.
If you feel yourself becoming shaken and nervous, take a deep breath. It’s perfectly fine to tell the host or reporter that you don’t know the answer to the question if you don’t. Just respond that you’ll be happy to find out and get back with them. This gives you another reason to be on the show again!
- Be honest and avoid hyperbole
It’s easy to get nervous and misstate information about your book. Be cautious about this because your audience will know if you’re exaggerating or hyping your book. The host and audience appreciates real, in-depth information about you and your book. That’s why you’re on the show. And, if you make a mistake, don’t sweat. Everyone makes mistakes and you’ll improve with experience.
- Don’t depend on the host to make the plug
Make sure to mention your book title and where listeners can get a copy of your book such as your website, local bookstores, etc. and ask them to follow you on social media. Also make sure to talk about an upcoming book signing or author talk.
- Follow up after the interview
Everyone appreciates a thank-you as a follow-up to the interview via phone or e-mail. This is also a great opportunity to assure that the reporter, editor, or producer who interviewed you has all the information they need to complete their segment. If you have a publicist, this is usually SOP – standard operating practice.