Tips on How to Be a Media Dream Guest
By Annie Jennings - Jan 29 , 2008
TIP #1. Don’t Try to Change the Segment or Story Idea
During the pre-interview, don’t attempt to influence the producer or journalist to slant or change the original segment idea.
You see, the article, story, or segment idea is usually already set in stone by Managing Editors or Executive Producers, and your media contact has very little flexibility. They are assigned to develop a story idea according to a specific set of directives, and they will appreciate your support in moving the story forward.
Always give the media the info they are looking for first, so they can complete their assignment. Otherwise, they might decide to move on to another expert. If you do a great job for them, that is, if you are on message without meandering off topic, they will use you again.
TIP #2. Never Cancel an Appointment with the Media!
Once you indicate that you’re available for the media opportunity, don’t change your mind. Once you commit, the producer or journalist moves immediately to finalize the media placement.
When you make a commitment, stick to it, even if something comes up that you feel is more important. Your word should be worth gold in this industry!
TIP #3. Prepare Talking Points for Pre-Interviews
Prepare at least five talking points in advance of your pre-interview or interview with the media. This way, you’ll appear to have command over your area of expertise and you will avoid stumbling for thoughts or concepts.
If the media doubts your ability or expertise in the pre-interview, they will not use you for the placement. They simply have no choice. Their job is to book top, qualified experts, and if you show you are not that, they have to move on. So think of any contact you have with the media as an audition.
TIP #4. Make Sure the Media Has Your FAST Contact Info!
Always provide the media with your contact info, including your cell phone and fast contact info. When the media moves, it moves fast. If you are actively seeking PR or are booked for a media opportunity already, keep yourself available and able to be reached immediately. If you give out your cell phone, be sure it is working properly and you don’t miss any messages.
If you are traveling to a location for a TV or radio segment ask for the emergency contact info to the producer. If you have trouble finding the location, you know how to reach your media contact immediately.
TIP #5. Go Over the Spelling of Your Name & Credentials with Producer to Make Sure They Are Exactly Correct
Take on the role of fact checker when it comes to making sure your name is spelled correctly, your credentials are exact and the name of your book or company is correct. Just ask the media to repeat the spelling back to you, along with the name of the book.
It is also a great idea to email your media contacts your name, credentials, and the name of your book so there is a reference if needed later.
TIP #6. Don’t Ask the Producer for a Tape of Your Segment AFTER It Airs
Most media outlets no longer offer to provide you with a tape of the segment so you will need to be sure that you record your segment on your own. Ask others to record the segment for you, as well.
You can also try this. Ask the producer if you can bring in a blank VHS that they can pop into their recorder for you so you can leave with a copy. However, if the producer says they can’t do this for you, remember its NO PROBLEM. Don’t worry—you can buy your segment from a professional recording company called Video Monitoring Systems. They record the shows but order quickly because they have a limit on the time they archive the shows.
Also, since it is in your best interests to have a professionally copied tape of your segment, call Video Monitoring Systems in advance to make sure of the details.
TIP #7. Don’t Over-Promote Your Book During the TV Segment
When you over-promote your book in the segment, you create lots of problems for yourself. Instead, pack the segment with your best info!
When you give the show your best stuff, they’ll notice and want to invite you back. Your audience will respond to you, as well, and your book will sell itself.
Showing the cover of the book on the screen is much more powerful than the author mentioning the book in the interview. So be sure to ask if they can show your book’s cover in the intro early in the booking process.
TIP #8. However—Mentioning Your Book on Radio Is OK—But Not Too Much!
The radio host usually mentions the name of your book in the intro, so be sure the producer has a copy of your book. Also, be sure to send a press release that includes a short intro for you, as well as a longer intro that the host could use to introduce you and refer back to during the interview.
In radio there is no visual, so avoid saying, “in my book;” instead, sprinkle in the name of your book when appropriate. You can learn to create a visual segment using language that is, creating messages and conversations that encourage the listeners to create their own images in their own minds.
To learn more about the world of publicity, you can listen LIVE to my teleseminars in MP3 format.