Seven Tips for Preparing for a Broadcast Interview

This post originally appeared on SpinsSucks.com on April 10, 2012image of Jerry Anderson of WTOL 11 and Allen Mireles


You Want Me? Not My Client?

Last month I was interviewed on a CBS affiliate’s public affairs program about the viral success of the Kony 2012 video. According to the Wall Street Journal, The Kony 2012 video has set the mark as the fastest spreading viral video ever.

The show’s host was interested in using the video to start a discussion about the power of social media and how it affects our daily lives.

My problem was on the day Kony 2012 was released, I was traveling to California with my younger son. We’d had a full day of hopping between rental cars, planes, and taxis before I even learned about the video. Subsequent days were filled with activity and, while I was peripherally aware of the video going viral, I simply hadn’t taken the time to view it or to learn much about it.

As public relations and marketing professionals, we understand the value of providing background information to the media. We’re accustomed to monitoring current events and coming up with creative links to our clients’ products and services. But we may not be prepared to do the interviews ourselves.

Yet those opportunities can, and will, present themselves. When they do, we should make the most of them. A successful broadcast interview can increase your reach and help build your professional reputation.

Following is how to prepare for a broadcast interview when you, not your client, will be interviewed.

Take some time to research the topic of the interview, the show, and the host of the show. Think through the “five Ws and the two Hs” of the situation and ask yourself:

1. Who is the audience?

  • Who are they interested in hearing about?
  • Who do you know locally that might tie into the topic you are discussing?

2. What topics does the host typically cover in this broadcast?

  • What does he or she hope to accomplish with your interview?
  • What are the facts about the topic you will be addressing?

3. Where will the interview take place? (Make sure you know how to get there–early)

4. When will the show be taped and when will it be aired? (Share that in social media)

5. Why does the host want to interview you, and why is the topic of interest?

6. How does the topic tie into the audience’s community (or does it)?

  • How can you demonstrate your expertise and make the host look good?

So how did it go for me? Well, I watched the Kony 2012 video and other related videos, read every word on the Invisible Children website, as well as blogs, articles, and commentaries. I quizzed friends and family. I thought through the five Ws and the two Hs.

During the show, I mentioned a video project created by local high school students. Using social media, it had been viewed extensively throughout Ohio, which brought the topic back to the local level. The host was pleased and the feedback has been positive.

Remember, do your research. Practice answering the five Ws and the two Hs. Being able to answer the questions for yourself and speak knowledgeably about the topic will help you handle this with poise and confidence.

Then, just follow your own advice: Do what you tell your clients to do during interviews. You’ll steal the show!

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