What To Do Once You Land A Media Interview: Part 2

KELLY RIPA, MICHAEL STRAHAN (FILE PHOTO)In my last article, I reviewed some of the points to focus on when doing a media interview.  You’d be surprised at how many people spend time, money and effort into landing an interview, and then put very little, if any, time into preparing for when that coveted interview finally materializes.   That’s a mistake you don’t want to make.  An interview can quite literally be the springboard that launches a company, film, practice, service or product.  But to do so it has to be strategically approached.  It needs to be prepared for.  You need to know your talking points and practice delivering them.

In part one of What To Do Once You Land A Media Interview, I reviewed six points to keep in mind.  Some are obvious, but I’ve found that the obvious points are the ones that most clients tend to forget.  Why?  Because they seem so obvious.  So, never neglect the obvious.

Below are six more tips to review before doing any interview.  Some of these points seem to apply specifically to TV, but that’s not always the case.  Even if you’re doing a phone interview, keeping all of these tips in mind will help you deliver a strong impactful interview

7)  Lead with your most important points.  Interviews can be very short.  If you don’t lead with what’s important, you may have missed your chance.

8)  Breathe.  People have a tendency to hold their breath when nervous, which only creates more anxiety.  Remember to breathe.

9)  Smile.  I’ve seen more media opportunities ruined by people who have refused to smile during their interviews.  Looking grave does not make you appear more profound, it makes you look dull and somber.  Even if you’re doing a phone interview in your pajamas – smile.

10)  Listen.  Don’t anticipate questions.  Don’t think that you know what the interviewer is asking.  Wait until the question is asked and then respond.

11)  If you get momentarily confused, or lose your train of thought, that’s okay.  It happens to everyone.  Take a deep breath and start again.

12)  It’s alright to ask the interviewer to repeat a question.  The last thing you want to do is give an answer to a question you don’t fully understand.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2013

When Should You Launch A PR Campaign?

If you’re reading this in real time, it’s early August, the talk shows are gearing up and getting ready to start production and the monthly magazines are turning their attention to their holiday issues.  There is no greater time to launch a public relations campaign than now.  But what if you’re reading this in December or early June, should you wait, move forward? What is the best time to launch a PR campaign?

The answer is, it depends on your specific needs.  Unless I’m dealing with a seasonal or holiday oriented product, I seldom decide when to launch by looking at the calendar.  What I focus on are my client’s needs and objectives.  If you have a product, or service that is ready to launch, do it now.

If you’re a larger company and are launching a fashion line or new toy line, your timeline is different, you want to launch in time to hit whatever your primary season is, or your industry’s particular timeline.  But if you’re a newer company, or are launching your first PR campaign, your primary focus should be on establishing your presence.  At this point, forget what the big players are doing, your focus and your intent is different.  If you’re a new clothing line, your PR strategy should not mirror that of Ralph Lauren.  That company is currently on a different trajectory than yours.  It has different goals than yours.  If all goes as planned you could be launching that style of media relations campaign in a few years, but for now focus on your own unique objectives.

That can be confusing, because chances are the feedback you’ll get from others will be based on what other companies are doing.  Remember, right now chances are you’re not competing with Paramount Pictures, Facebook, Harry Winston or Revlon.  You might be playing in the same arena, but you’re playing a different game.  Don’t get steered in the wrong direction.  Chances are you’ll end up wasting quite a lot of time and money.

If you’re launching a new product or service, or are a relatively small company and are doing PR for the first time, your objective is to get yourself on the map.  You want to establish yourself and your company.  With that in mind, unless your product is specifically seasonal or tied to a particular holiday, your focus shouldn’t be on when you’re going to launch your campaign but on whether you have your stories, release, media list, bio, pitches and game plan ready to go.  Your focus should be on starting your campaign now.  The media never stops.  They are always looking for new stories.  So, put the calendar away and get ready to launch.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011

PR: The Play

An office.  Two men are sitting at a table.  One is talking very animatedly.  The other is listening and occasionally taking notes.  

Client:  You don’t understand, this is a story that the media will pay you to pitch them.  Listen, I know PR.  I could probably teach you a few things.

PR Consultant:  I’m not quite sure about the way you want it presented.  I mean the fact that you can change people’s lives is great.  But we need to show the media how you do that.  We need to offer them transformational stories with a strong narrative.

Client:  Just tell them to read my book.

PR Consultant:  You can’t always count on them reading your book.  We need to give them short, concise easy to understand pitches that will offer them a good story.  We need to pitch a story that meets the media’s needs.

Client:  (Irritated) What do you mean they won’t read my book?  Do you know how long it took me to write that book?  Do you know how much time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears went into creating that book? (Raising his voice)  And now you’re telling me they won’t read my book?

PR Consultant:   Some will, but our job is to get them to talk about your book, to get them to interest the public in buying and reading your book.

Client:  Well that’s your job.  Do it.  And besides, I’m telling you, it’s easy.  As soon as they hear about my book and read it they are all going to be begging me to go on the show or to do interviews with me.  I’m telling you.  This is basically shooting fish in a barrel.  You should be paying me.

PR Consultant:  Believe me no campaign is easy.  What we need are stories that grab the media’s attention.  The way we do that is by pitching them stories that will appeal to their readers, viewers or listeners.  We need to think backwards from their perspective.  Once we meet their needs, we’ll meet yours.

Client: (Starting to lose his patience) I’m telling you; just explain to them that I change lives.  There’s really no one else out there like me.  I can’t believe Oprah went off the air.  She would have begged to have me on

PR Consultant:   What we need are specifics.  We need specific stories that we can pitch to women’s magazines, news publications, talk shows, etc.  That’s what I wanted to go over today, specific stories on how what you do changed the lives of people you’ve worked with.  Their transformational stories are your best stories.  For example, when representing a physician, I’ll focus on patient stories, that way you can see the impact, the transformation and people relate to that.

Client:  You don’t get it, this isn’t about my clients: it’s about me!  I don’t see why you just don’t send them my book and then call them and get me on national TV.  You’re making this much more complicated than it needs to be.  I tell you once they read my book, it’s a done deal.  This is easy; I should have my own TV show by next season, right?

                                                                                                Lights Fade: End Act One

Yep, true story.  He wasn’t a bad guy, he simply didn’t understand the process or the media’s needs.  More importantly, he didn’t want to take the time to learn how the process works, educate himself and pitch towards his strengths.  What I needed were short, concise, transformational stories.  I needed to be able to show the media how he transformed people’s lives.  To him it was obvious.  It was all about him and it was all in his book.  But the story was not about him, it was about how he changed people’s lives.  His client’s stories were his best story.

As to having the media read the book, the trouble is that nine times out of ten the media’s not going to take the time to read it.  They’re going to look at the cover, read the back page and read a press release.  And you have to sell them on the story then and there.  It had a second act and a good ending.  We met again and were able to come up with some specific story ideas that grabbed the media’s interest and his PR campaign was a successful one.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011


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