do’s and don’ts of publicity and interviews

Publicity is invaluable, make sure you treat it as such.  Although you feel you are providing the media with a good story, they are doing you a favor by letting you tell your story.  Much of securing publicity is based on relationships so agencies and people like myself take it very personally if the interviewer or producer doesn’t have a good experience.  It is our livelihood at stake and our reputation on the line.  Stories we set up are a reflection of us, believe it or not, so PLEASE OH PLEASE take heed to these do’s and don’ts outlined below:

Do’s:

1. Show up for an interview on time, or rather early, dress appropriately and be prepared (common sense right?)

2. Be flexible!  There is a good chance the interview time may change, they may cancel at the last minute, cut your interview time or they may pull the reporter from the story.

3. Be conversational and light-hearted.  Think of it as a conversation with someone that is interested in what you do.  Show enthusiasm but don’t overdo it so it seems insincere.

4. Be clever but avoid industry jargon.  Speak so the average reader/viewer/listener will understand.

5. Get your point across without sounding like a commercial.  They have paid advertisers for that!  Although your intent is to promote your product or service, their goal is to educate their audience.  You must find a way to do both.

6. Have visuals for TV and good photos for print.  The more visual you are for TV the more likely you are to be asked back and something is more likely to be printed if you have a really good, professionally taken photo to go along with the story.

7. Accommodate producers, writers, etc. every chance you have even if it’s last minute.  They will remember that and call you the next time they need a story idea or fill in.

Don’ts:

1. Don’t get upset when the interviewer doesn’t ask the questions you want them to ask or let you show something you want to show.

2. Don’t be monotone and boring. No one will be interested in what you are saying if you don’t sound interested in what you are talking about.

3. Don’t just answer their questions in one or two word answers, expand on their question.  Make it a conversation rather than a question and answer session.  The questions are only to lead the discussion.

4. Don’t be surprised or irritated when you ask for coverage and they tell you it’s going to be at 5 am with a 4:30 am arrival!  That’s how morning TV goes, deal with it and be happy you are getting exposure.

5. Don’t expect the entire story to be about you.  You may be one resource among others or you may only be a part of the story.

6.  Don’t let an opportunity for exposure go!  Rearrange your schedule, bring in extra people, or do whatever you have to do to accommodate the media or story.

7. Don’t wing it, make sure you are prepared.  Know prices, facts and all details possible about the product or service you are promoting.  Be the expert!

Publicity is free and gives you credibility, but it’s not always easy or the way you want it to be.  The more you do the easier it gets, so be patient, open-minded and learn from your mistakes.  No one expects you to be perfect.  The more you do, the better you will get and the more recognizable you will become.  Remember, it’s all about creating a BUZZ!

One Response to “ do’s and don’ts of publicity and interviews ”

  1. RAUL AYALA says:

    GOOD ADVICE,

    AS A PUBLICIST AND MARKETING CONSULTANT I BELIEVE ALL OF THE ABOVE TIPS ARE GOOD AND SHOULD BE STUDIED, WHEN IT COMES TO NEW PR PEOPLE PITCHING IDEAS TO MEDIA AND THEIR CLIENTS. I HAVE SEEN SOME PR REPS TRY TO OVER POWER THE PERSON WHO IS DOING THE INTERVIEW JUST TO BE SEEN AS A POWER PLAYER. BIG NO NO!

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