I met A.G. Billig when she invited me to be a guest on her excellent self-publishing video interview series. A.G. is an author, self-publishing expert, and the founder of the award-winning blog Self-Publishing Mastery. For more than 10 years, she hosted and produced live and taped entertainment radio and TV shows. As an author coach, A.G. uses her marketing, self-publishing, and media expertise to help authors become successful. Connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.
5 easy steps to a successful media appearance
By A.G. Billig
If your goal in 2021 is to serve more readers by inspiring or entertaining them with books, consider doing more audio and video interviews. Emerging authors with small audiences can especially benefit from the large followings of established platforms – if they do it right.
A high-impact appearance on a podcast, a radio or TV show, or even on an online summit, will grow your fan base and book sales. It also gets people talking about you in a positive way, and all of us here know that word-of-mouth is still king.
You need to take the right steps to ensure your media appearance is a success. What you do before the show is equally important as what you do during the show, while being interviewed.
Here are your five easy steps.
1. Sharpen your core messages and talking points.
Think about your writing objectives, your book, your target audience, and your author brand and identify the top three messages your readers need to know (these are your core messages). One of your core messages should be your book pitch.
Also come up with five short phrases that describe the topics you can address and are passionate about. These are your media talking points.
As a publicist, an author client’s media talking points help me pick the right media channels for the author. They can also serve as a discussion guide for interviews. You can do the same for yourself, without a publicist.
Having clear core messages and media talking points will help you be sharp and to the point during the interview. It will also put you at ease since you will sit in the front of the microphone or camera with the confidence of someone who knows what they are talking about.
I always remind my clients before an interview to write on a small piece of paper the ideas/information they absolutely must convey, including their social media handles.
2. Become familiar with the show and the host.
As a former radio and TV host, I promise you that the host of the show has your best interests at heart and wants to put you in the best light. But she also has an audience to please.
So get familiar with the show by listening to or watching at least one episode.
Pay attention to the type of questions being asked. Identify the common ground between your books and the show’s theme and build your answers around that.
In doing so, you will get your message across in an interesting and engaging way for the audience – and benefit from a successful media appearance.
3. Test your equipment and setting.
Some interviews are live and others, recorded. Either way, you need to be ready to roll as soon as you are “on air.”
Make sure that your microphone and camera are working properly. If you have a new generation laptop, its camera and microphone should work fine.
However, if you’re serious about doing interviews and even starting your own podcast, it’s worth investing some money into a microphone you can plug into your computer.
For video interviews, check your background and make sure it looks nice, but not distracting. Avoid a blank wall, though—it will come across as cold and impersonal.
Also ensure that your face and body are properly lit so you don’t appear too dark or, the opposite, washed out.
4. Show up as the best version of yourself.
The camera and microphone easily give away how you feel in that moment. So, when you do a radio or TV interview, whether live or recorded, you need to show up as the best version of yourself.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Make sure you build inner excitement about it before the interview starts because that will show on your face and in your voice.
- Speaking of voice, warm it up before the show by singing a song you like, reciting a poem, or reading out loud the book excerpt you will share with the audience.
- Shake your body, dance, or walk briskly in the room to get the blood circulating in your veins and build up your energy levels.
- If it’s a video interview, women need to apply a minimum of makeup—foundation, powder, eye shadow, mascara, and lip-gloss.
- And, even though nowadays authors are being interviewed from the comfort of our own homes, you need to look professional and not as if you just got out of bed. Wear nice clothes that are consistent with your author brand.
5. Be yourself.
As with other aspects of our lives, preparation is key. However, leave room for spontaneity.
In order to have a successful media appearance, you want to be present in the moment, listen carefully to the host, and let your creativity fill your mind with brilliant answers. Don’t be afraid to use humor. It is much needed, especially in times like these.
Remember to stay authentic and shine your true colors, and you will captivate the audience.
Do you have a question about interview prep for A.G.? Please leave it in a comment.
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