Mastering Media Interviews for Authors

Media interviews are an ideal way to boost visibility and credibility. As an entrepreneur or professional media coverage is incredibly valuable in business and book sales. The good news is that when you’re a book author it’s substantially easier to get media coverage than when you’re not!

It’s just another reason to stop procrastinating and write your book now!

But, the reality is that media interviews are easy to mess up. And, authors make mistakes all the time.

You only have one opportunity to shine in that interview, so here’s 10 tips to master those media interviews .

If you’ve written a nonfiction book, chances are, the media is going to want to talk to you. They’re always looking for content and they’re looking for experts to talk about different things on their show. When the media comes calling, you want to make sure that you are prepared. And these ten tips will help you master the media and make the most of it for your book and your business.

Number one, is to show up for your interview.

It seems obvious, but here’s why it’s included in this list.

If you’re doing podcast interviews or radio interviews, it’s really easy to get time zones mixed up. Double-confirm the time, and make sure you’re showing up for the interview at the right time.

If you’re on a TV show, and you have to start really early in the morning, give yourself extra time. Some of my media interviews required me to be in the the greenroom at six A.M. If you’re driving around at 5:30 in the morning trying to find the location of the TV studio, and you get lost, guess what? You’re going to miss your interview. And on live TV, it’s going to run without you.

Make sure you know where you’re going and leave extra time so you don’t miss that interview.

Number two, is prepare in advance.

If it’s a TV show, watch it before you go on it. If it’s a radio or podcast interview, listen to a few shows, make some notes about what they like to talk about. Most importantly make a note of the host’s name and the show name and have it on a cue card. It’s easy when you’re under pressure to forget important details, like who you’re talking to. So, have it on a cheat sheet, and then you’ll always know.

Number three is have water handy.

It seems obvious again, but you can get rushed onto a set and you suddenly get this dry cotton mouth that happens when you’re nervous. Have water handy so you can take a quick sip and carry on. Don’t worry about bringing it onto the TV set with you. They will tell you where you can put it, or ask you to pour it into one of their sponsor mugs to drink from.

Number four, read your book as a refresher.

Sounds funny, ’cause you wrote the book, right? But by the time media interviews are happening, it may be three to nine months after you’ve been deep in the trenches of your book and you forget what you wrote.

Picture this … you’re live on TV and the host of the show is opening up to page 123 and saying, “Now here you say … Tell me what you were thinking when you wrote that.”

Do you remember your book well enough to be able to explain a random passage from your book? If not, refresh yourself fast!

While most hosts do not read your book and will use the questions you submit to the show producer, the odd one will pull from your book. Avoid any awkwardness or missed opportunities by knowing your material.

Number five, stay up to date on the news, especially news specific in your industry.

Knowing what is happening in your industry is critical for creating relevant pitches for your media outreach. It also gives you something trending and topical to talk about when you’re on the show, which the show will always appreciate. If you do this well, you could become a regular guest of your local show.

Number six, think of this as a speed date.

Typically you only have a couple of minutes and they go fast, so you want to have quick tips. No long stories. Prepare short antidotes and little soundbites. Hit ’em fast and hit ’em hard. The time will be gone before you know it.

Number seven, prep your talking points in advance.

Every show producer will ask you for questions or talking points. Create questions that lead into the answers that you most want to talk about. And write those questions word for word, because a lot of hosts will actually ask them word for word.

But, here’s the trick. You don’t have one question and one answer. Have multiple ways to answer each of those questions, so not only will you keep your interviews fresh, but you could go a slightly different direction if that show needs it. You want to be prepared so you can be flexible.

Number eight, invest in the right equipment to do home interviews.

I’ve been on shows where you Skype in, so you don’t have to travel. Here’s one example here:

It’s great because you don’t have to travel. However, you will not look like a pro if you don’t have good lighting, great audio, and a good backdrop.

I’ve seen shows where you can see people’s closet and see the clothes in them. It’s even worse when you see their messy office! It decreases the credibility of the guest. It’s really distracting as an audience viewer. And the show won’t like it either. If you were a great guest, a lot of times these shows will have you back again and again and again. So, spend a few hundred dollars and get great equipment and you’ll look like a pro and probably get invited back. The above interview was in my office. But, I’ve done them at home in my messy bedroom. I just put up a bluescreen background. It’s not as nice as my office but it works too!

Number nine, send people to a specific page with a specific offer.

You can have them go to your website but you’re more likely to get a response to a specific offer.  Go to where you’re going to find a fantastic resource on eight ways to sell a thousand books for under a hundred dollars.

Now they’ve got a reason to go to that page, sign up for your newsletter, and you can build a relationship with them.

Number ten, don’t be freakin’ boring!

Let your personality come out. Have some fun with it. The shows are really looking for character and personality. They want great interviews. And that only happens if your character comes out and you have a little fun with it. If you’re too nervous or you try too hard to be perfect you won’t shine!

Alright, when you’re a book author the media is going to call you. These ten tips will have you so much more prepared!

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