More Things to Avoid Before and During a Media Interview

Tips: Things to Avoid in a Media Interview

As a publicist and media trainer, my work involves helping authors develop their overall messages, hone their skills to become fantastic at influencing others, and then pitch and land media outlets for interviews. In fact, I am delighted to say that this past week has been quite successful for a number of reasons, including this story in INC Magazine featuring Kelly McDonald and her book How to Work with and Lead People Not Like You. She was thrilled and so was I! In a world where it is possible to buy your way onto many media platforms (at an unbelievable price!), it is so much better by far to earn your way there. However, there are hoops to jump through and it requires that the author has unique and compelling information and is able to deliver a great interview.

Whether it’s a print, audio, or video interview, there are fundamentals regarding what to do, and what NOT to do when preparing for interviews. Last week I mentioned three of them. If you missed it, you will find them here.

More things to avoid during a media interview

Review and prepare for the right interview
This is for those of you who have written more than one book. For example, I am currently writing my next book with the working title of Pitch & Land Media Interviews. Because of this, my mind has been wrapped up in the key messages involved with finding, pitching, and landing various media. However, I have my own podcast interview coming up this week which is on my current book, Media Darling: Shine Through Every Interview. To deliver the right key messages, I must have the correct book at the top of my mind. Therefore, I am currently reviewing the press kit and am paging through the book as well. If you’re an author with more than one book, be certain you do the same thing.

Remember: “Reread your book or at least your press materials so you deliver the right to information in your upcoming interview.” It’s easy to forget, so remember to review.

Other things to do and NOT to do

Don’t be a prima donna
This may seem obvious, but I have seen it happen way too many times when an expert is big within their industry but the media doesn’t know them at all. Sometimes there is an expectation of preferential treatment, which isn’t going to happen.  Sometimes it comes across as an attitude of “you need me” and while it’s true media outlets need content and experts, it doesn’t have to be you. There are a lot of other people out there now competing for these prime spots. We want you to get them.

Don’t be late
Also seems obvious, yet there is kind of a relaxed attitude out there among some people. “As long as I text you a few minutes before we are supposed to meet, it’s ok that I am late.” Um, no. It’s not. Never be late to an interview. Period.

Don’t be someone who caves under pressure
Yes, you may feel like a lot is on the line. Yes, you might be nervous. Yes, now and then there will be surprises, but your job is to be cool and calm under pressure. If this is something you’re not sure you can do, then media training is the next best step. Being flexible and able to take things in stride makes you a great candidate for being a Media Darling.

Don’t be annoyed the host hasn’t read your book
They haven’t read your book. Oh, occasionally there will be a host or journalist who does, and that is a particularly wonderful thing, but don’t expect it. This is why a press kit is invaluable. Most will at least read the pitch letter with talking points.

Don’t say this to your publicist
Never say, “I think I am beyond this kind of interview.” This is like nails on a chalkboard to a publicist. Not that anyone ever hears that sound anymore, and if that is the case, go here.

I remember the Chicken Soup for the Soul guys, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hanson, who, even at the top of their game, never, ever said no to an interview. Not for any reason, including size, audience numbers, time of day (or night), nothing. They always said yes. You just never know where something is going to lead.

And just for fun…

A few dos before a media interview

Do close windows and doors
Interview time is when the neighbor decides that now is the moment to blow the grass clipping away. It’s also when kids love to come into your office to see you, so let them know you have an interview coming up and consider putting a sign on the door that says something like, “Don’t you dare.”

Move your energy
Take a walk around the block or do a few jumping jacks to get the blood and your energy flowing. Breathe. This gets you in your body, alert, aware, and ready to go.

Be familiar with the media outlet
Take the time to listen or watch some of the shows that have already aired, or read the publication and stories from the journalist you’re going to be interviewed by. You can learn so much just by taking some time to do this. If you want to be great at delivering interviews, take the time to know who you are going to be speaking with and plan accordingly.

Bottom line

I decided to write on this topic today because I have an interview myself coming up in just a few days, which I mentioned up above. It’s a new podcast from a host who is a longtime podcaster and radio host and I’m excited to have this opportunity. I promise to share the link here once I have it and will fill you in on the show details at that time. Wish me luck!

To your success!


P.S.  I want it that way.

Thinking back to my radio days (daze) and all the boy bands. Who can forget these guys?







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