There are many do's and don'ts when it comes to conducting an interview with the news media. Each medium is different and therefore has different needs.
For instance, television does really short interviews and they are concerned with background visuals and what you look like.
Radio wants someone who can talk for longer, who has a good voice, and who can answer questions from callers, in some cases. Radio and TV can tape the interview or do it live. Print media is different.
Newspapers and magazines afford you longer interviews and time to have a conversation with a reporter.
Talk to bloggers is also a different animal, as bloggers are not exactly journalists or members of the news media the same way as traditional media. Many bloggers lack training in journalism and don’t necessarily adhere to journalism ethics the way the mass media attempts to do so.
But under all circumstances, you need to get your message out, plug your book, sound energetic and enthusiastic, appear helpful, know the demographics of the readership/audience/listenership, and be engaging and entertaining.
There are probably 100 tips one can give you for conducting media interviews with authority and success; here are seven to begin with:
DON’T expect to see a reporter’s questions in advance. They may not be looking to stump you -- but they sure as hell aren't your friends.
DON’T make belated post-interview apologies or ask to have an answer edited out before broadcast or publication. Do your best in the interview; practice prior to it, not during it.
DON’T be afraid to admit you don’t know the answer to a question, but offer to look into it and get back to the reporter before their deadline. Don't feel obligated to make up an answer on the spot.
DON’T be judgmental about the questions you’re being asked.
DON’T let yourself be cut off or rushed to answer without thinking.
DON’T use professional jargon or statistics your audience won’t understand.
DON’T answer questions with just “Yes” or “No.”
Most important of all: be yourself!
Brian Feinblum is the chief marketing officer at Planned Television Arts (www.plannedtvarts.com) and blogs daily at http://www.bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert.
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