Congratulations! You are about to be interviewed on TV! Will you be proud of what you see broadcast on TV after your interview? This coveted video will also be posted on YouTube, multiple websites and can be maximized as a sales tool, but only if the results are professional. There is a very fine line between looking like an awkward amateur and a polished professional … these 10 tips will help.
#1 – Don’t be yesterday’s news. If you are interviewed in the morning, it is very likely the news broadcast will include you all day long. If you are the last stop for the video truck that day, your only airing might be the evening or late news. And tomorrow, well you will be yesterday’s news.
#2 – WHO are you? WHO is speaking? Often by the time your interview airs it will have gone through several hands back at the station that have no idea who you are or any of the background that was given to the interviewer on site. Prepare and have in hand multiple copies of background information – the full-complete-proper name of your organization, the address, website the mission and all people who are being interviewed. If you are the publicist, add your name and all contact information – especially after hours cell numbers. Give this to everyone you come in contact with and be certain your website has all the same information. The worst case scenario is the TV anchor says your company or your executive’s name incorrectly – your job is to make sure that does not happen! Remember what you give the camera person or email the assignment editor might go to the intern who is typing in the name of your company and correct spelling is essential.
#3 – WHERE is the interview going to be staged? You need to be in charge of this and not let the camera person or TV station rep tell you or your client where to stand. You decide. Do this ahead of time and do a “public” review too. Are there photos, magazines, papers, even art on the walls that should be removed? Sitting at a desk is usually a bad idea, and outside should not be your first option either.
A lobby with your company name in the background or somewhere your company is active would work too – your message comes across in more ways than just the “talking head” – what is behind, beside, above all matter too.
Do the ‘finger framing” trick to show you what the camera might be seeing – an easy way to give you a different way of thinking about staging too.
Look at the photo here, maybe this man should not have been in front of a light pole?
#4 – Don’t go public! If you’ve ever watched an ESPN interview or the Today Show you have seen the ego-audiences who must get their face in the camera. Sadly this bad behavior is everywhere so choose a spot where that cannot happen – and tell your employees that goes for them too. Shouting while the cameras are on counts too.
#5 – It’s about your company/organization’s name – so practice. It might feel awkward to fill in “Here at XYZ…” but do it or you will end up with a piece that might not ever acknowledge your company. Of course practice your key messages, even practice doing a voice level test – it can all be included in what is broadcast.
#6 – Your answers do not have to match the interviewers every question – You have say 3 things you absolutely want to say – so talk to the interviewer before the cameras start rolling. If questions that don’t match your messages come up – feel free to do what I call “bridging” – use a line like “That’s a good question, but more importantly here-is-one-of-my-key-messages …”
#7 – WHAAAAAAAAAAAAT did he just say? It is so easy to spit out words you did not mean to in an interview. Remember this, it is OK to say “I do not know” or “I am not the best person to ask but I can get you an answer” – it is NOT OK to give an answer that is made up just to fill in the fact that a microphone is in your face and you have been asked a question. This interview in all likelihood will be edited before it is broadcast.
#8 – You could make the viewer dizzy if you wear print or stripes – so don’t. Take a look at almost every elected official; white shirts and subtle ties. Do not wear anything that distracts from your message.
#9 – Glasses reflect and never wear sunglasses. Sunglasses are a huge no, never, nada – they send a “shady” message. And regular prescription glasses reflect – so if possible no glasses or test where there could be low glare.
#10 – You want a copy of this video? Before the interview, hire a video monitoring company to tape the interview every time it is aired. Never count on the station as they are digital and even if they say they can give you a copy, I have had that fall through too often to recommend you counting on it. Get your video monitored and clipped by an outside service and know it is worth the cost.
Just remember a good interview can be a terrific marketing tool, a bad interview will be a marketing problem. The difference really is in the preparation.