Participating in media interviews is one of the most effective ways of building your authority and credibility as an industry expert.
And being seen and recognised as an authority means earning the trust and respect of your peers, your clients and the public in general.
There’s no doubt that in today’s online and digital world, those who are recognised as authorities and industry experts tend to attract hundreds of thousands of followers.
They’re also the ones generating a high level of traffic to their site, which ultimately helps boost their personal and business profiles as well.
And almost always those recognised authorities and experts tend to attract the attention of publishers (for book writing) and event organisers (for speaking engagements).
Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur, internet personality and well-sought speaker, is one of those who established their credibility, authority and ultimately their millions of followers by building and using their industry expertise.
Though he is famous for being a social media personality, Vaynerchuk spent several years and worked hard on building his personal brand.
In one of his media interviews, he said he only used the Internet and social media as a platform, but he was recognised first as a wine expert and the brain behind the WineLibrary.com, which was considered one of the first wine e-commerce businesses.
So, as you can see, building your authority and credibility brings unlimited opportunities.
But what if you’re not recognised as an industry expert or authority in your field?
Take heart. You’re not alone.
You know it takes time to build and establish your authority and credibility. The good news is that there are many ways and strategies that you can employ to build and nurture your authority and credibility.
And participating in media interviews is just one of the strategies.
So, how do you use media interviews to build your authority?
Despite the prevalence of social media and other online channels, being interviewed and featured in the major publications and broadcast media still carries a cachet.
It’s no wonder that even some of the most popular online personalities highlight their media coverage (for example in Wall Street Journal, Forbes or the New York Times) to add to their credibility and authority.
In the financial services industry, where trust and credibility are very important, it goes without saying that you need to build your authority.
Here are 5 simple steps that you can take on how to use media interviews to build your authority.
- Identify 3-5 interesting topics in your industry – you can pick some current themes that are being talked about in your industry or some trends that are not being picked up by others.
- Research and develop the topic – as the expert, you may already have solid background information and in-depth knowledge of the relevant topics and trends in your industry. If you need to do more research, you can tap into your Media and PR team.
- Identify and approach relevant media – your Media and PR team can use their network of contacts to identify the most suitable journalists who may be interested in the topics you want to talk about.
Given the current media landscape where journalists are moving from one beat to the other, it is important to contact the most relevant journalist who is writing about or interested in the topic you’re suggesting.
Remember that like you, journalists are busy, time-poor and always working on deadlines. Better not waste their time and yours by pitching to someone who’s not writing or reporting about your topic.
- Set–up and do the interview – once you (or your Media and PR team) have identified 2-3 media contacts, you have to make sure that you do all the preparations before you go into the interview.
Gather facts and figures, statistics, industry trends and other background information that will back-up and build your story
- Monitor coverage and repurpose results – once your interview has been published, it’s a great idea to re-use the coverage through the various social media channels. For example, you can share them on LinkedIn, Twitter or you can send brief emails to your contacts to alert them of the coverage.
How to handle media interviews?
Dealing with the media or giving media interviews can be a challenge. This is particularly true if you haven’t done it before and you don’t prepare for it.
Here are some media interview tips that can help you prepare for any interview
Request information – most journalists would be willing to give information on what they want to ask or to cover during an interview. It is best to ask them what sort of information or a general feel for the questions that they may ask.
Do your research – gather facts and figures, statistics, industry trends and other background information that will back-up and build your story.
Do a questions and answers session – this is one of the best ways to prepare for a media interview. A 30-minute Q&A session with your PR or Media team can give you that confidence before any interview. The idea is to list down all the possible questions and the corresponding answers that may come up on the actual interview.
Anticipate hypothetical situations – while most journalists may give you the generic topic they want to discuss during the interview, it is best to anticipate and prepare for hypothetical situations that can be raised on the actual interview. It’s also a good idea to prepare for negative questions that can be thrown at you. Remember your interview preparation is not complete without anticipating the tough questions as well as the generic ones.
You can find additional media interview tips here.
If you are to use media interviews to build your authority and credibility, it is a must that you are thoroughly prepared for each interview. Developing your key points and rehearsing them before each interview will go a long way in keeping you in control before and during the interview.
Some practical tips in doing media interviews
- Know who you will be speaking with – at least get the basic information like the name of the journalist and the publication she/he is representing
- Know the topic – ask for some guide questions or at least the high-level topics you will be asked about. Make sure that you have at least 2-3 talking points or key messages that you can discuss.
- Keep the lines of communication open – tell the journalist after each interview that you will be available in case she/he needs more information for the story.
Types of media interviews
While traditional media (newspapers and magazines) are gradually adapting to the digital world, the media landscape is still evolving and creating new opportunities.
Whereas before most journalists would prefer face-to-face meetings, they are now using all the available technologies, gadgets and means of communications to obtain interviews.
Here are some of the most common media interviews that you can participate in:
Phone interviews – as most journalists are pressed for time, they prefer to do phone interviews instead of face-to-face meetings. The advantage of this is that you can have your notes in front of you during the interview and can refer to them as necessary.
Email interviews – some journalists are now using emails to reach potential interviewees and sources. It could be a more efficient way of using their time.
Similar to a phone interview, this can create an advantage for you in the sense that you can develop your messages and key points in more detail.
Just make sure that you send your email response on time (before the journalist’s deadline).
Pre-recorded TV interviews – you need to prepare punchy and straight-to-the-point messages for TV interviews.
Unlike print or email interviews where you can elaborate and talk (or write) for several minutes on a topic, TV interviews require short, punchy and interesting soundbites.
Live TV interviews – this is one notch higher and more demanding than the pre-recorded TV interview. This usually requires you to be in the studio and be chatting with a news anchor or interviewer.
There’s also the possibility that you will be joined by other people during the interview.
This needs a lot of preparation and it is highly recommended that you do some media training before you do any live TV interview.
Before you say yes to a live TV interview, be aware that going live on TV is totally different from being interviewed on the phone.
The audio and visual components of television make it a strong and powerful medium. And you have to make sure that you know how to use its power to your advantage.
Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Prepare quotable quotes or soundbites – remember that TV is all about audio and visuals. Interviewers and viewers want to hear what you have to say. They will also judge your appearance on TV. So be mindful and ready with soundbites – short, punchy, memorable quotes or one-liners that you can use to send your message across.
- Anticipate difficult questions – the nature of live TV is that the anchor or host can throw all sorts of questions to you. While they may give you an overarching topic as a guide, they may still come up with some difficult questions particularly if there is a breaking news item while you’re being interviewed. This means that you need to prepare and try to anticipate as many of the difficult questions before you go on live TV.
- Beware of your body language – what you say and how you say it matters a lot on television. This means you have to be careful and mindful of your body language. Your facial expression, hand gestures, any signs of uneasiness and discomfort can be read in different ways. So, make sure that your body language is congruent with what you’re saying.
Skype video interviews – as media coverage goes more global, some journalists are now using Skype and other video conferencing facilities to do interviews.
This is a great way of reaching a wide audience as most of these interviews are syndicated to global networks.
Treat this as similar to live TV interviews where you need to have short, sharp and straight-to-the-point responses.
If you are determined in building your authority and credibility, then using media interviews as one of your strategies will be a great way to start.
Contact us if you want to discuss how to implement this strategy and we will be happy to help out.
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