I recently attended an informational session about personal branding and it really got me thinking. There are a plethora of marketing and public relations tools out there to help you brand your product or service. But sometimes we forget that the most powerful instrument is the ability to sell yourself. Ask any sales person and they will agree that generally the most lucrative leads come from people you know. And once you establish a relationship with them retaining their business is seamless.
This same concept applies to you, or your company’s, media presence. If your company is lucky enough to get media attention it’s important that during your interview you are true to yourself not just your product or service. It you are able to portray a sincere personal brand you will attract and retain customers.
Remember, people associate brands with the people behind them – and both your company’s and personal brand need to be strong.
I’d like to share with you a few media training tips I’ve gleaned over the years to help you maximize your media interview efforts and help you convey a well-polished personal brand! These tips are particularly useful when going on TV because the medium is so visual and your brand can shine (or not shine) very clearly to the audience.
Prepare for the Interview
You always want to fully prepare for an interview by preparing possible questions and practicing communicating them concisely with your audience. On TV, you only have a few seconds to answer each question, so you want to be polished. Don’t simply spew off information; rather, be conversational and interesting.
Dress to impress but also dress to what your audience will expect. Know the “dress code” prior to walking in. For example if you are going to be interviewing on a TV set you should dress in a suit or business attire. If you are interviewing at a fundraising race, athletic gear might be more appropriate. Some personal brands also have a signature look – like funky colored eye glasses or ruby red shoes. Wear something that is you but also professional for the audience you are trying to relate to.
On the other hand, don’t wear white (it drains your color and glares with lights) or loud patterns or polka-dots. Don’t overdo your makeup, wear too many accessories or open-toed shoes. Instead, when going on TV, let your personal brand shine with a smile, clothing in colors that compliment your skin tone (dark and light solids that pop), and anti-shine power or makeup.
Know Your Audience
Although you will be looking at the reporter when you talk during a TV interview, keep in mind that there is an audience at home watching you. Know the general audience demographics and tailor what you say to meet their needs. Don’t use jargon or big words, keep it simple. Be reminded that for broadcast audiences, the average education level is 4th grade or higher.
Answer Questions in Complete Sentences
Answer every question with a statement. For example, a reporter asks; “Did you know that you always wanted to be an artist?” You say, “Yes, I knew I always wanted to be an artist starting at the age of 8 years old.” Don’t just say, “Yes.”
Also, you should be prepared to handle questions you may not know how to answer. If that happens, simply use the bridge technique to transition into something you do know. For example, if a reporter asks, “Why did the first attempt to launch this campaign fail?” You might answer, “The first campaign did experience some hiccups, however, during this campaign we developed a strategic communication plan which we still use today. Let me tell you more about our plan…” Bridging can help you transition the conversation so it steers towards the messages you want to share.
Remember to enunciate your words clearly but don’t ramble on. Speak clearly and concisely without coming across as if you’re talking down to your audience. Always look at the journalist not at the cameras. Keep your hands on your lap and use gestures to make your point. Remember, too much gesturing can be distracting.
These are just a few tips you can use when doing media appearances and interviews. Remember, the way you convey your personal brand seeps into what people think of your business’s brand. Make sure you nurture both brands for optimum success!