6 Tips to Prepare for a TV Interview

Hoping to land a TV Interview? Television markets in some parts of the country still respond to Media Alerts and Press Releases. If you are in one of the top 10 markets in the country, it is likely you are paying for any airtime you secure. Throughout the rest of the country, it is possible you could be called upon to respond via an interview is if a news story rises from pop culture. And if you have barraged the news desk with frequent content in press releases, the good news is, they will likely call you. Why? Media folks are on tight deadlines and, well, they are a bit lazy, and that is because they are forced to be by the time restraints.

For the sake of our post here, imagine you received a call from your local TV station asking for your opinion on a news story that is pertinent to your practice area. Remember, the media decides which parts of your responses will be used and which will never see the light of day. Naturally, you cannot control the entire piece, the reporter and time will dictate what happens. However, you can be relaxed and prepared, and if they have time to fill, fewer moments of your interview will wind up cut from the piece. It is not unusual for news reporters to return to good sources for stories. If you play your cards right, you could be called upon for commentary again and again.

One way to increase the chances of this happening is to be memorable. Be friendly with the reporter and the camera guy. Bring your business card and ask each of them for theirs. When you get back to the office, send the reporter a Shock & Awe thank you package with loads of your information stuffed inside. Let him know how much you appreciated being a help to him or her and how you would welcome additional opportunities to assist again.

You can prepare yourself to be ready to maximize your impact during this interview.

  1. Be sure to bring a copy of your book to the interview. It may not have any relevance, but then again it may. Without it, you do not even have the chance.
  2. Try to wear the clothes that best defines you and your practice. If your firm is traditional, be sure to wear a suit. If your firm attracts casually-clad snowbirds, wear business casual. The idea here is to be sure you give the first impression you want and do it purposefully.
  3. Keep your busy patterned clothing for happy hour. Think solid colors rather than prints.
  4. Think of an example for the topic they asked you about so you do not have to search your brain for one. Think of a way to revisit a testimonial you have received from a client to interject if the opportunity presents itself.
  5. Have a typed document with your website, your full name, the name of your firm, location and phone number. This you can offer to the reporter to use in case there is an opportunity to print it.
  6. Think of how you can educate their viewers with this situation. Leave them with a tidbit that the audience can learn from you, and mention how you can and DO help people dealing with the same situation.

Most news stories are shown multiple times. They can be recycled, shortened, and combined with other stories. It is also common for the clip to be placed on the channel’s website. You can use the clip in a blogpost to gain more mileage from it and post it as an archive on your website as well.

The more time you spend recording your own videos the more you can help condition yourself for these interviews. I encourage you to post short videos on your blog from time to time to support the topics you write about. When you are more used to being in front of a video camera, you will appear more comfortable, credible and trustworthy. Yet, do not wait for that to happen before sending the media adapted blogposts of yours regularly. Remember, it can pay off in building a relationship with the media. You never know, you could be asked to offer regular content as more and more news sources seek more content sources.

The media can be a great tool. Many are forced to pay for every bit of air time they ever receive, yet there are many smaller markets where these scenarios are real opportunities. If you are in this situation, prepare now by taking the time to be ready for it.


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