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Media Training 101: Tips for a Successful Interview

Authors, especially new authors, often ask what they need to do in interviews. While there are many resources available for professional media training, there are some basics you should know before working with reporters.

Here are some basic rules:

  • Know your book’s content – it's been a while since you wrote it, but you should know what's in it. Reread it if you have to, and know that anything in the book is on the table for questioning in an interview.

  • Plan out the top 3-5 messages that you want to convey. Practice them.

  • Plan out some techniques that will allow you to redirect an interview that goes astray. A journalist may ask something you are not really wanting to talk about. You can carefully turn the conversation around by saying something like "That's a really great question -- I will have to think about that a little more, but in the meantime I can tell you ..." and transition to a topic you do want to discuss.

  • Prepare real-life anecdotes and facts that illustrate your points. People are better able to connect to real world examples - success stories of clients/patients you've helped. It helps them envision their own issues and feel like you're talking directly to them.

  • Practice, Practice, Practice. On video, rehearse your interview responses until they feel natural and comfortable.

To this, I’d like to add a few essential pointers:

1. Mention Your Book: I can’t tell you how devastating it is to an author (and a publicist) when a great interview comes to an end and you realize you never mentioned your book. Hopefully, the interviewer will mention it, but they might not. Be prepared to casually work it into the conversation, for example, you could say, “When I was researching for my book, TITLE OF MY BOOK, I found there were three main things women do to ______.”