I was nervous the day I showed up for my big interview on a New York City talk show. I looked for reassurance at my then teen-aged son who was standing in the back of the studio. He had accompanied me on our trip to the Big Apple from Chicago. I took a deep breath when I realized my segment was next.
I was going on right after the famous soap opera maven, and she was taking extra time. My segment was allotted only 4 minutes so I knew I’d have to be concise. But I was prepared, so when my turn to be interviewed came up, I stayed on topic and those 4 minutes flew by!
But when I watched the edited interview on TV a week later, I was disappointed. The segment had been shortened to only 2 and a half minutes! Turns out they gave the extra interview time to the soap opera star.
And as someone who has spent literally years of my life in an edit room, I wasn’t too impressed with their decisions about what to edit out. So I was frustrated as an author and a TV insider. Even though I’d stuck to my time slot, I’d been foiled by the fact that the show had gone over because of the famous soap opera star.
So even though I had a big advantage as someone who understood how media interviews get chopped up in the edit room, I’d still been burned. So how can you avoid that?
Well, aside from not going on after a celebrity (and who has that choice?) there are a key things you can do. Because even if you stay to your allotted time, when you do a taped media interview, the people making the decisions about how to edit it don’t know you, your book, or your priorities. So…
- Be extremely intentional about what you say during a media interview. You don’t have the luxury of going on a tangent. And if you do, don’t rely on the post production team to simply take it out. Here’s why: we have to make edits that don’t sound like edits. So if the interviewer laughs at the excess content in your tangent, but the previous sentence was not funny, we are stuck with leaving at least some of that tangent in. Even if that means we have to take out something else that’s actually important simply because we need the time.
- Know why you’re doing the interview. It’s not just a casual chat – it should be a marketing asset you’re co-creating with the interviewer that benefits you and your audience – as well as the media outlet.
- If giving examples, be concise. But don’t hesitate to give clues to the editors by saying phrases like “And this is such a crucial point for parents…” Or “My clients tell me over and over that this was the most crucial thing they learned…” But be subtle – don’t say “Hey don’t take this out in editing!”
- Lastly, if you make a mistake and say something incorrect and you KNOW you are on a taped show that will be edited, stop for a beat and then repeat the thing you messed up. The editor will thank you because you’ve made it easy to take out your mistake. Well done!
The post production process is fraught with difficult decisions we media folks make that directly affect you – and how effective your marketing asset is.
But when you do your media interviews with awareness of what can happen in editing, you end up having more command of your message overall – which helps you create valuable marketing assets that grow your audience, boost your credibility, and establish you as the go-to expert in Media and the marketplace.
And if you want to do media interviews that actually boost your credibility and sell more books, get prepared with Profitable Publicity now!