Media Coaching Can Make Your Interview a Winner
In my book “Celebritize Yourself,” I share my method for getting publicity by offering yourself to the media as an expert. Being a helpful guest on talk radio and TV, and a source of information for print journalists, provides valuable exposure for you and your product, book or service.
I describe how, by writing your own book, you can open the door to the media. Show hosts and journalists are always looking for people who can solve a problem for their audiences, or offer insight into an event or issue. And if you’ve written a book on the topic, you’re considered an expert.
So you have your book and you, or your PR firm, have been pitching timely, topical ideas for great stories or talk show segments to the media, all based on an interview with you. Now, a producer has called and wants you as a guest.
It sounds simple enough: The show host will ask you some questions based on the idea you sent. If it’s radio, you’ll be on the telephone with him, so you don’t even have to leave your house. It’ll be a walk in the park!
Unfortunately, there are a thousand ways to flub a radio, TV or print interview. Unless you’ve got plenty of experience talking with the media, I highly recommend you get some professional coaching. Not only will it help you get the most out of your opportunity for exposure, it will also help ensure you don’t fall flat on your face – or worse.
It’s fairly easy to find coaches to prepare you for radio and TV. You might pay as little as $100 for an hour with a radio coach or $2,500 for an intensive day of training with a TV coach, including on-camera mock interviews and critiques on everything from how you sit to where your hands are placed.
Some PR firms also provide coaching services for a fee.
At EMSI Public Relations, we so value coaching, we offer it free of charge to all of our clients. I’d love to claim we do that for entirely altruistic reasons, but that wouldn’t be true. For one thing, we like our clients to keep coming back to us, and they probably won’t if their interviews go badly. We also like to keep our media contacts happy; they rely on us to provide them with quality guests and expert sources for their shows and articles. If our clients don’t have the goods, we’ll soon find no one wants to book them!
Our coaches are EMSI employees who, all together, have decades of experience in radio, TV and print. With their years working “on the other side,” they know how to prepare clients with tips, mock interviews and constructive advice. Alex Hinojosa has been a radio show host for national and major market radio stations for the past 16 years, continuing to co-host a show with me; Russ Handler was a producer and on-air talent for Tampa Bay’s 24/7 news outlet until four years ago; and Penny Carnathan worked for 30 years as an assignment editor and reporter for The Tampa Tribune and continues to write a column for the Tampa Bay Times.
Interestingly, print coaches are very uncommon in the marketplace. I don’t know why; personally, I rely on prep sessions with Penny before my interviews with newspaper and magazine reporters. It helps me anticipate questions I might not have expected; prepare answers; and remind me of the basic dos and don’ts. (Do remember you are “on the record” unless you preface a response with, “This is off the record.” Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not qualified to answer that question.”)
Even top national talk show hosts have coaches. And yet, we occasionally have clients who decline the service. My advice to you? If you schedule an interview on your own, seek coaching beforehand from a professional, no matter how experienced you are. (Look what happened to Obama!) If you have a publicist that offers coaching, take it.
Getting publicity is like panning for gold. When you get a nugget, polish it – don’t throw it away! If nothing else, you’ll get a boost of confidence that radiates during your interview.
Go for the glow!
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