Allen Media Strategies is proud to work with fantastic authors on their book campaigns. Often, we’re hired by both the author and the publisher. Why? Because book publicity is very competitive. With advances in technology, so many more new authors can now get their book into print, which means the competition for publicity and media coverage is tougher than it’s ever been. The power of P.R. to sell books via print and online coverage and radio and TV interviews is well documented. As such, thousands of authors and other guest experts are constantly gunning for media coverage, so getting media pros to notice you and your book is harder than ever. The number one way authors become successful is because they try, and you must try, with the understanding that book marketing is no different than any other very competitive industry. Making others aware of your book doesn’t happen overnight or because of one or two successful media hits. It takes time to achieve and sustain promotional momentum, and it typically takes at least three months to see book sales materialize from a P.R. campaign. The most successful authors we work with spend at least a year promoting their book in one way or another.
Anyone who appears in the media should be prepared to answer questions. But, you should also be prepared to ask questions before your interview. Here are three of the most important items you want to find out:
1) What’s the Format? For TV or radio interviews, you can learn the show’s target demographic audience to help you tailor your content. You can also find out if you’ll be live, taped, edited, etc. You can determine the length of the interview, and whether you’ll be on the phone, in studio, at a remote location, etc. For print interviews, this question can help you determine whether the journalist will just use a quote or two, or if they’re doing an in-depth piece on you and your area of expertise.
2) What’s Your Name? We recently spoke with a popular national TV show booker who gave us an inside secret! She revealed that guests who use the hosts name when answering the hosts questions always received a warmer on-air response. It also gives the impression of an “implied endorsement” from the interviewer, as if you appear to be pals having a conversation. You should also find out what news organization they work for and whether they cover a particular topic or beat.
3) When will it air (or be published)? You want to be prepared to share the coverage with your online followers by tweeting it, posting it on Facebook, etc. as soon as it comes out (with links to video, audio or text) as long as it’s positive coverage for you. If it’s a negative piece, be ready to issue a response if called for (sometimes, it’s best to just let it go if the media outlet has limited market penetration).
If we can assist you in preparing for an important upcoming media appearance, we’re always happy to help!
Allen Media Strategies CEO Burke Allen has been featured in a cover story for INSIGHTS Magazine. In the feature he shares strategies from various insiders on media, marketing, public relations, crisis management, and more culled from his three decade career in front of the camera and behind the microphone.
So, after doing extensive work in the background, you’ve successfully marketed yourself to the media, and now a television or radio station is interested in interviewing you…congratulations! It’s up to you give the best possible interview you can.
We advise our clients to “own the experience” and really knock the ball out of the park whenever they do an interview. The better you do, the more likely you’ll be asked back for subsequent appearances. In this day of instant information sharing, great performances often get bicycled around on the internet to other media producers, who are much more apt to extend an interview invitation to you if you do a terrific job. And, you’ll be proud to use that interview clip for your own self promotion purposes on your website and in social networking.
1. Write down the three to five main points you want to cover, and look for opportunities to work them in whenever possible to the fabric of your interview conversation. Memorize those talking points, and especially on television, don’t refer to your note cards.
2. Include short stories and/or humor to help you make your important points. This will help you to come across as more approachable and down-to-earth. Tailor your humor and the length of your short stories to the particular media outlet’s target audience. Are they younger or older? Conservative or liberal? Urban or rural?
3. Anticipate the questions interviewers are likely to ask and prepare answers that include your main points. Study the host’s prior interviews to find their favorite questions, approaches and interview style (soft, friendly, confrontational) so you’ll know what to expect and how to respond in most instances.
4. Keep your answers simple and short. Complex, lengthy answers tend to bore and oftentimes confuse audiences. Also, research has shown that a lengthy cadence of just one voice, even if it’s yours, will tend to facilitate audience tuneout.
5. Your job is to make the interviewer look good, while getting your main points across. Don’t try to upstage or belittle the interviewer, no matter how silly or off-the-wall their questions may sound to you. You are a guest on their program, and as such, should act accordingly.
6. Practice your interviewee skills by having friends or family members pretend they’re the interviewer and question you as if you’re being interviewed live. Practice both telephone and in person interviews to prepare for radio interviews. Work with a stopwatch, so that you can get used to tailoring your answers to fit within the allotted length of your media appearance. The less time on air you have, the more crucial it is to hit those short sound byte type answers. The longer the interview, the more important it is to continue to revisit the main talking points/themes you need to cover (including in most cases your contact information). That’s because there is a constant coming-and-going phenomenon in electronic media. Many viewers and listeners will miss part of your interview, and if they come in late, you want to make sure they know who you are, what you’re talking about and how to get in touch with you.
7. When you practice, videotape and audiotape yourself to observe and critique your performance. Be conscious of your posture, facial expressions and gestures for in person interviews, and your articulation, speech rate, fluency and inflection for radio phone interviews.