I got my first interview recently from a TV producer for the show The Balancing Act on Lifetime. It’s a morning show and they wanted to do a series about baby and bridal showers, and since I sell baby shower favors online, they called me and scheduled the interview for later that day.
In a previous post, I talked about how I got the interview in the first place. This all resulted in an experiment to get real publicity from the media.
In this post, I wanted to talk about what I learned from my first interview, including some things I did right (or at least I think so) and some lessons learned.
Prepare for the Interview
The most important thing to do when you know you are going to be interviewed is prepare for it. Even though I got the call in the morning and had to interview later that day, I took the time to do a few things to get ready.
Firstly, I tried to anticipate some of the questions that they were going to ask. This is actually not super difficult because people tend to ask the same questions.
At networking events, people would ask questions like how did I get into selling baby shower stuff. Where do you find your products and how do customers find you.
I created a Word document and wrote out all the questions and answers. And sure enough, the first question she did ask was how I got into the niche, especially since I’m a guy.
Pinpoint Things that Make You Unique
When pitching to the media, they like stories and details about how you are unique. Being interesting is important, so look for ways you can really stand out from other people and keep them entertained.
Try to integrate these things into your responses and think of memorable quotes if possible. One thing that might make me unique is that I’m a guy that started selling baby shower products, even without any knowledge of the product. Although that might not be important for this particular venue, it might be an interesting detail to some people.
Research the Show
Be sure to research the show if you can. Since I don’t have cable and don’t watch a lot of TV, I had never heard of the show. So I went onto YouTube to watch some segments.
I noticed the type of guests they had on the show. What type of people were they? Do they have “larger than life” personalities? Are they super entertaining?
In the few videos that I had time to watch, they seemed like normal people who were knowledgeable on the subject they were talking about. They talked about typical morning show stuff. So this gave me an idea of what type of person they would be looking for.
Follow Up Afterwards
It’s a good idea to follow up afterwards with a thank you. I sent a thank you email with links to some of the sites and pages that I had talked about.
If you actually do get air time, consider sending a card or a small gift. Most people don’t take the time to do this and this will help you build a good relationship with your media contacts.
As you can imagine they were looking for a “baby shower expert”. My initial guess was that they wanted someone to talk about what people buy for baby showers, but I think they wanted more of an expert on how to throw a baby shower. Here are a few key lessons:
1. Position yourself as an expert – All your responses should position yourself as the expert they are looking for. I’m not sure I could have done that, since my expertise is more in business than in baby showers. Although I could have emphasized more about the content that I wrote about baby showers.
2. A few unexpected questions – The producer asked about whether I was using social media and banner ads. It was interesting that they would ask about marketing, but I guess it’s a good way to get a quick feel for how big a company is. Bigger companies do more marketing and bigger = more credibility, which leads me to the next point…
3. It might be helpful to build a strong brand and business BEFORE going for publicity – Having a strong following and being known already certainly helps. I had ideas for building and leveraging a social media following, so maybe I’ll focus on that area first.
4. I might try to follow up using a different approach. That will be the subject of a future blog post. 🙂
What I Plan to do Differently Next Time
In future press releases, I may try to target categories like business, entrepreneurship, and marketing instead of family and baby showers. You can’t fake your expertise and you really shouldn’t try. But better targeting will increase my chances of getting the right exposure.
I don’t think I’ll be the frontrunner for this show’s segment, but it was a good learning experience. Media exposure certainly is possible, even for the little guy and I’m convinced it is worth pursuing.