How to Prepare for an On-Camera Interview
As publicists, some of our favorite emails to send or calls to make to our clients are the ones letting them know that we secured an on-camera opportunity for them to share their stories or talk about their brands. While the chance to be on TV is exciting to most, it can also be downright terrifying for anyone who isn’t used to literally being in the spotlight. Getting mic’d up and having a camera aimed at your face adds a whole other element of stress to most situations and conversations that can leave you stumbling for your words. There is good news, though: Your publicist is equipped to guide you through the process and ensure that you and your brand’s message are well-represented and clearly expressed during any broadcast interview.
Laying the groundwork
Once you have confirmed your availability and that the topic of the interview is one you are comfortable with, your publicist will work with the show’s producer to build the framework for your segment. Will you be conducting a pre-interview q&a with the producer before your on-camera appearance? Is this going to be an onsite interview where the crew comes to you, or are you going to the studio? Will your interview be on live TV, or will it be taped and aired at a later date? There are instances where both onsite and in-studio elements are combined for a longer formatted interview. Is there cooking involved in the segment? Are there going to be any props or branded materials involved? These questions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to orchestrating an on-camera opportunity, and your PR team should know how to navigate through all of them to net the best possible result for you and your brand.
Based on the above, your publicity team will put together a media briefing document that will outline the following:
- Background on the show you will be appearing on with specific details on the segment
- Information about the anchor who will be conducting your interview
- Links to previous interviews for your review
- Logistical information about where and when the interview will be taking place
- Questions and specific talking points to weave into your answers
- On camera dos and don’ts
- Overall brand messaging to keep in mind
Practice, Practice, Practice
Knowing that you will only have a very limited amount of airtime (meer minutes in some cases), you must work collaboratively with your team to make sure you are prepped and ready for your interview.
To make the most of your time, here are some tips and suggestions to help you prepare:
- Have a friend or family member conduct and record a mock interview with you. Watch the interview and make sure you:
- Speak clearly and conversationally while incorporating as many key messages as you can about the brand.
- Don’t use fillers like “um,” “uh,” “like”
- Maintain a steady pace while answering the questions with enthusiasm for the brand
- Make eye contact with the interviewer (not the camera)
- Explain your brand without using industry jargon that the general audience will not understand
- Mention the name of your brand as frequently and naturally as possible
- Minimize any fidgeting
- Observe your body language and be aware of your facial expressions
- Make sure that the person you enlist for your practice interviews throws some curveball questions, so you can prepare for any off-the-cuff questions the journalist may ask.
- If you have questions or concerns about your upcoming piece, be sure to bring them up with your PR team well before the tape date, so you have time to work out any kinks ahead of your interview.
Are you ready for your close up?
One of the reasons broadcast segments are so coveted is because it gives your brand a chance to break out of static print media and reach a large audience within a short amount of time. So, in addition to making sure you have your talking points fresh in your memory, you will want to put your best foot forward with your appearance.
- Make sure that you dress for the story you are telling. You don’t want to over- or underdress for an interview. Your outfit should support your message.
- Avoid wearing busy patterns as they matrix on camera and will distract the audience from what you are saying.
- If allowed by the producer, wear something that visibly showcases your brand’s logo to help increase brand recognition.
- Dress the part from head to toe — you never know what is going to be in the frame and what isn’t.
- Keep accessories to a minimum, and avoid any jewelry that makes noise while you move.
- Arrive at your interview camera-ready unless otherwise instructed. (That means having your hair and makeup done.)
- Make sure to get touch-ups before the interview to avoid looking shiny and tame any rogue hairs.
- Keep your makeup natural and jewelry minimal. You don’t want either to distract people from your message.
And three, two, one….
Once the camera finally starts rolling, don’t forget to breathe! You and your team have put in so much work to get to this point — make sure you take some time to enjoy the moment. This is a great opportunity for you and your brand to share your message on a large-scale platform with an engaged audience.
Here at Konnect, we love to see our clients and their brands shine on-screen and are here to help you every step of the way. This was just a tiny taste of what goes into prepping for an on-camera interview. If you want to learn more, ask our team about the media training services we provide.
That’s a wrap!