Questions for the Media

Questions to Ask

Every social area in life–including social media platforms–has its own etiquette, or an unpublished set of rules that people familiar with it simply know.

Did you know the gym has its own set of unwritten rules? A couple of days ago there was a woman doing super sets consisting of using the back extension machine, and then a barbell. I asked her if I could work-in with her on the first piece of equipment since while she was doing the second set of exercises, that machine would be free for someone else to use.

The reaction really surprised me. She became flustered and then rather than saying, “Sure” which is the common practice, she blurted out “No” to my request, and then said she would be done soon and I could have it. There is nothing wrong with her saying no to my request; it was just unusual since gym etiquette is to always let someone work in with you. She simply didn’t know.

Etiquette. It’s everywhere, and when we break those rules, we communicate a great deal about ourselves. In some cases it’s no big deal, but in some cases it will mark you as an amateur and that is not what you want.

Learning etiquette is a good thing, so with that in mind, there are some rules when it comes to doing media interviews.

Let’s say you pitched various media and you finally landed that interview you’ve been wanting. In order for it to go smoothly, you will need to ask some questions so you will be adequately prepared, but sometimes when we’re in new situations we feel uncomfortable and don’t always know what to ask. What is the etiquette here? One of my missions in this blog is to help you feel comfortable enough to ask the questions that need to be asked.

If you’ve booked an on-camera interview, whether it’s via an online platform, an in-studio interview, or the interview team coming to you, here are some questions to ask. It’s best to do it right when you set it up because you and the media person are both in that frame of mind. It’s easier to do it then rather than trying to track down the person later.

Here are some questions you’ll need to get answered

What outlet is this interview for?
You might already know this, but double check anyway. Sometimes media people work for a number of different outlets, or their work is published on more than one site or channel, so you’ll want to know that.

Do you have a specific angle or approach you would like to take, or may I provide some ideas for you?
Don’t assume you know the answer to this just because you pitched an idea and they said yes to it. Sometimes they have something else in mind for you. You want to be very clear.

Is this a live shot? If recorded, when and where will this interview run?
Again, if it’s live, you’ll be on in real time. Nothing will be edited, unless they do a re-play later and even then, there may be no chance to edit if you made any mistakes. If it’s recorded you want to know when it will run.

How long do we have?
Knowing how long you’ll be interviewed will determine how long and involved your answers should be.

Will we be shooting indoors or outdoors?
This can make a huge difference regarding lighting and what you should wear. You’ll want to pay attention to the weather too. A bright shiny day is very different from an overcast day.

Do I need to be camera-ready?
Camera-ready means you should have your makeup and hair in place and ready to go. Sometimes for an in-studio interview this is provided, but not always.

Do you need any B-roll, photos, or anything else from me?
B-roll is the footage that runs behind you as you’re speaking that tells some of the story. Photos, props, and anything else that will help to tell your story is very helpful on camera. Find out what they need or want.

Do you want me to send you a copy of my book, either digitally or via snail mail? How about a graphic of the cover?
Be ready to do that they ask and do it right away.

If they will be coming to your location to do the interview, ask:
Does it need to be studio-quiet to do the interview here?

Are you interested in a certain type of background? Do you know what you’re looking for? Do you want to be in a certain room of my home or office area?
This will help you to prepare your space for them, and will also give you a feel for the story they want to cover.

Bottom line

The more questions you ask up front the better, although you don’t want to go completely overboard and take up a huge amount of the producer’s time. Get answers to what you need to know beforehand, and then be ready at the time of shooting to get whatever else they might need. Have a copy (or two) of your book there on location in case they forget to bring it for the interview. And most of all, remember: This is a shining moment for you. Have some fun!

To your success!


P.S. Remember, It’s Your Life.





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