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  • Writer's pictureErica Otero

3 Essential Tips to Prepare for Your Virtual TV Interview

By: Erica Asmus-Otero, InPress LLC
Feb. 13, 2022

Many TV news stations have morning or afternoon segments that feature guests who are invited to speak about specific topics. For someone trying to generate publicity about their business, these interviews provide ample opportunity for exposure. But since we've transitioned into a virtual world, most in-studio engagements have been replaced by online interviews. Zoom or online interviews are easier to navigate (no morning traffic!) and may reduce the amount of anxiety we would otherwise feel in front of TV cameras and, subsequently, thousands of viewers.

But there are still plenty of considerations when preparing for a Zoom or online TV interview. After all, a smart, well prepared interviewee will want to ensure that they are maximizing the opportunity and effectively relaying the message they want to share. Here are a few tips to make sure your online interview captures viewers', and prospective customers', attention.

Memorize Key Points.

If you're the rare breed who prefers to "just wing it" during an interview, then I applaud your confidence. But for the larger percentage of us, you should know - backwards and forwards - three key talking points that relay your message. What do you want your audience to do with the message you are conveying and want action do you want viewers to take? Though you may pull from your mission or vision, your talking points should not be a reiteration of them. The goal with talking points is to tell a person, in a minute or less, what you would like them to know about your business, idea, destination, message, etc. This short summary is often referred to as an "elevator speech." In most cases, TV producers appreciate you compiling a list of questions you would like the anchor to ask. While this is a benefit for busy producers, it also allows you ample time to practice hitting your key messaging points without sounding rehearsed. Even if the anchor surprises you with a question you were not expecting, if you know your talking points you cannot fail.

Prep Your Location.

When the pandemic first started, there were many painful learning curves that came with managing Zoom calls from home. Although there have been many hilarious (and, in some cases, viral) incidents that reveal our humanity, we don't necessarily want to become the news like this poor guy (Professor Robert Kelly).

So, before your Zoom TV interview, make sure you that you are in a location with a door - and lock it! Other tips:

  • Close windows so that the viewers will not hear outside noises, and be sure to turn off your cell phone ringer.

  • If you have a dark office, illuminate your face with a ring light and try to reduce any back lighting if possible by turning on an overhead light.

  • You should also verify that your connection is strong at least 15 minutes prior to your interview. If you typically have a weak or unstable connection while using WiFi, purchase an Ethernet cord in advance to create a stronger connection.

  • And finally, do yourself a favor and view yourself on your computer to adjust your height and lighting. Make sure you do not have anything in the background which could distract from your message. If in doubt, blur it out (Zoom filters.)

Remember: your home or office is your studio for the next five minutes while you're on TV - you owe it to yourself, and your business, to prepare!

What to Wear.

“You want viewers to focus on what you're saying rather than what you're wearing.”

When it comes to TV interviews, the second most commonly asked question I hear from clients prior to an interview, besides "what should I say," is "what should I wear?" The first thing to remember about what to wear is that you look your best when you feel your best. Try to get a good night's sleep before your interview and have an idea of what you plan to wear a day before. As much as you want to showcase your pinstripe suit, you want viewers to focus on what you’re saying rather than what you're wearing. Avoid pinstripes and crazy patterns. Stick to "jewel tones" which, as the name implies, emulate the colors of natural stone. I love the color black but it is not a color I recommend to clients for in studio or even virtual interviews for several reasons. Although this is more of an issue for in-studio interviews than virtual, it's always a good rule of thumb to avoid metallic, shiny necklaces or earrings that are highly reflective - cameras don't like them! Plus, you're here to share your message, not to sell items on QVC!

Online TV interviews provide key exposure for your business or message, but there is still some preparation you need to do to ensure that you maximize the opportunity. If you remember your key messaging points, prep your "at home studio" and dress the part, you will not only effectively drive home your message, but may reap the rewards in the form of new clients or customers.

For additional tips or to just receive constructive feedback on your online presence, contact InPress, LLC to book a one-hour Media Training Session.

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