Monday, November 18, 2019

Successful Media Coaching For Authors In 20 Steps

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When authors are scheduled to be interviewed by the news media, they feel anxious and excited, which is what they should feel.  They also want to do well and perform at a high level. So what do you need to know to kick butt in your interviews?

Over the last several decades I have media-trained well over 1,000 authors one-on-one. The most common mistake that I see is that authors are either under prepared or overprepared. Some think because they talk a lot, perhaps as paid speakers or because they are good communicators, they don’t have to do any prep. Others, feeling insecure and worrying about even things that don’t exist, over prepare by trying to over-analyze the media outlet or trying to remember, word-for-word, what he or she wants to say.

Neither approach works well.

Here’s what does:

1. Now why you are doing the interview.  Is your message intended to push book sales, brand yourself, get people to your website, influence people, impact lives, get others to post on social media about you, or sell some other product or service? Once you prioritize and identify your goals, your message should fall in line to support them.

2. Preparation for your interview begins once you have an interview scheduled. Practice with someone. Record yourself to observe flaws. Be aware of how you sound and look. Make sure you exude good energy.

3. Prep for the topic that you anticipate they will discuss. Have stats/facts/stories at the ready to support the key points you want to share.

4. Draft suggested interview questions, perhaps 12-15 of them, and order them in a way that tells a story and allows you to get your most important points heard. Send those questions – along with your book, press materials, website link, and social media handles to the media outlet interviewing you.

5. Be aware of the news outlet’s demographics and style.  If you know something about the person who will interview you, even better.

6. Know what’s trending in your area of expertise and be aware of the news cycle. Is there a way to connect your message to what’s being discussed now?

7. Watch interviews in all forms – TV, podcast, radio and print. Look at and listen to athletes, politicians, CEOs, actors and other industry experts just to see different styles.

8. Can you tie into an honorary day, holiday, anniversary, season, or special event? If so, it makes your message that much more timely and relevant.

9. Relax, and take a positive approach to this. It will be fun. Yes, fun.  You’ll feel the adrenaline rush and love the whole process. Here you are, given an opportunity to talk about what you know best and love – you!  The interview is usually one-on-one, and most are done by phone, Skype or email.  Some are in person, such as for television. It’s a situation where you are just having a conversation and it’s your moment to be heard and shine!

10. Think of which of these four approaches you will take in the interview:  entertain, inspire, educate, enlighten. Maybe it’s more than one of those, but as you provide your content it needs to be filtered through a persona.  Context is key. People need to feel you are coming from a certain perspective or vantage point.

11. Think of how you’ll make an impact. Touch them emotionally.  Feed into their desires.  Explore their curiosities. Acknowledge their prejudices. Play into their mindsets. Surprise or challenge them.  Be helpful.  Be funny.  You choose – one way or another, you’ll connect with others in the interview.

12. Determine which message you will share and an action step that you want them to take. Do not blatantly say “buy my book,” but lead them to your site for a free download of something useful.

13. Have six key points to make in every interview – regardless of what they ask you.  Make sure you say the title of your book when answering – and not say: “in my book…”  Offer a give-away that’s on your website. For every point you make, support it with a statistic, example, or short story.  Lastly, mix in your credentials – to justify why they should listen to you.  Don’t read off a resume of jobs and degrees, but preface an answer with something like: “Well, in my two decades of seeing patients as a nutritionist…”  Another time you can say, “Having treated over 1,000 people for obesity…”

14. You want to come across as interesting, resourceful and likeable. Where possible, sprinkle in wit, enthusiasm, and mention things that indicate you are experienced and knowledgeable. Speak with conviction, optimism, and confidence. Believe in yourself and others will believe in what you say.

15. Appeal to their push-buttons, whether it be politics, religion, sex, wealth, health, entertainment, sports, human interest, etc.  Give solutions and identify problems. Be contrarian or confessional.  Issue a wild prediction, shock us, or make a firm demand or accusation.  You can’t be neutral or sit on the sidelines – pick a side or latch onto an extreme.

16. Never answer just yes or no. Aim for a 30-second answer. Speak in soundbites and headlines. Avoid a dull monotone voice. Use catch phrases and buzz words but park the professional jargon.

17. If you don’t know the answer, say so, and move on to what you do know.

18. If you feel cut-off in your answer because they moved to another question, resume your answer and then answer the next question.  You can say: “Great question but I just want to add to your previous question…”

19. Bridge your answers when you get a question you’d rather not answer or focus on.  Grab a word or phrase from the question and use it to answer something they did not ask but seems related.

20. Lastly but most importantly: celebrate your your moment in the spotlight and feel good knowing your voice is being heard.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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