Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Be an Interview Pro

So you have your first interview coming up. Great! You get to talk about your book. Media interviews are a chance to spread the word about your platform, your book and your brand (and yes, this includes Internet media such as bloggers and BlogTalk Radio).

But wait, you're scared as heck! Whether you're doing a radio, TV, newspaper or Internet interview, you need to make sure you nail it. Here are a few tips to help you do great on your interviews:

Know what you want: Determine the one main thing you want to accomplish with this interview. Do you want to tell people about your book, your business or your event? Do you want to send people to visit your website to buy your book? Should they go to your blog or sign up for your ezine? Or, would you like to leave them with a question to ponder or a broader outlook on your expertise? Decide what you want to be the purpose or outcome of the interview.

Prepare: You know your stuff. After all, you wrote the book. So what main points  do you want to cover (3 to 5 should do it)? These are your talking points. Jot down your main points and think about what you want to communicate for each one. Always be prepared for the inevitable wrap-up question the interviewer will ask: "Do you have anything else you'd like to add?" This is your chance to hammer home your main points and to steer listeners/viewers/readers to your website.

Ask for the questions: Sometimes, interviewers are willing to share the questions they plan to ask. Even better is if they ask you for a few points you'd like to discuss. Jot down five to 10 questions you feel most comfortable answering and practice your answers. Even if the reporter or host doesn't share the questions, s/he should at least be able to tell you the focus or direction for the interview. Will the discussion focus on a topic related to your book, the process you underwent to write the book, a main character or storyline, or something else? Ask if anyone else will be interviewed (during a morning news show, for example) and, if so, who the other guest(s) will be. Then find out what you can about those guests.

Know your interviewer: Listen to previous shows (for radio, including Internet shows), read prior stories (for print journalists or bloggers), and view previous news coverage (for TV reporters or streaming video hosts). Take note of not only the "beat" the reporter/interviewer covers (business, health, parenting, community, etc.), but also of her/his general interests, the way questions are asked, how much time guests are given to respond, how the host follows up to guests' answers and how the host typically wraps up the interview or show.

Be quiet: For telephone and Skype interviews, get in a quiet place. There's nothing worse than a crying baby or a barking dog in the background while you're giving an interview.

Practice: Do this alone or with a friend. It'll feel weird at first, but you'll thank yourself later once you've completed a successful interview.

Own it: Remember, they called YOU for this interview, so own it, baby! Okay, even if you begged for the interview, you still need to own it. This is YOUR interview; keep it focused on your main points even while responding to the reporter's questions.

Relax: Go through some basic breathing techniques prior to your interview. If you'll be recorded (and even if you won't) you'll want to sound confident and sure of your answers. If your voice is quivering or you keep coughing to clear your throat, you risk sounding uncertain.

So now you're ready for your big interview. Go for it! And be sure to post any questions you have for making your next interview even better.

By the way, I'll be the guest on The Hollis Chapman Show on Friday, August 24th at 1:00 p.m. EST. Tune in to hear the interview, ask questions and perhaps win something!


Anita Paul, known as The Author's Midwife, coaches aspiring authors to write a phenomenal book and helps current authors use their existing books to leverage their business. She is the author of Write Your Life: Create Your Ideal Life and the Book You've Been Wanting to Write, and is the creator of the Write Your Life program, through which she has created a dynamic system to Write Your Book in 90 Days or Less. She has owned The Write Image for 15 years, and has had her freelance articles featured in over 25 publications in the U.S. and Canada. Anita is also the host of "Book Your Success".

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