For entrepreneurs and thought leaders, landing media attention is often critical for spreading the word about your product or service. But it's rare in today's television landscape for an interview to revolve solely around the guest and what they're offering. Instead, most are brought on as expert "talking heads" who can speak to a certain trend or specific piece of industry news.

At Greenleaf Book Group, we see this quite often with our authors. With a new book to promote, authors are eager to gain media attention to be able to share their message but are mostly brought on to discuss a topic tangentially related to the book's content. A doctor who's written a book on aging may be brought on for a segment about a trend in Baby Boomer health. Similarly, an author of a financial planning book may be brought on for a news story about stock market trends.

So with a new product, service, or book to talk about, what is the best way to take advantage of these "talking head" media opportunities? Here are a couple things to keep in mind during your next interview.

Provide Value

Have you ever watched an interview where the interviewee keeps circling back to the same one or two talking points, no matter the question they're asked? Politicians are notorious for this kind of circular answering. And people with a product to sell often try to turn every answer into a pitch for that product.

The interviewer can also try to corner their guest with leading or manipulative questions, designed to get them to talk about a topic in a particular way. So who's in control?

As the guest in an interview, you must take charge of your messaging. If an interviewer tries to steer you toward a response or topic you aren't comfortable with, try to steer the conversation back to your own talking points. But proceed with caution.

Take the interviewer out of the equation for a moment and think about what the audience wants. Provide them with valuable content before you transition into discussing your product or service so that you serve primarily as a resource, not a product pitcher.

Say the Title

Too often, I see authors on TV who do a phenomenal job of weaving the content of their book into an interview but fail to mention its name. The same goes for products or services.

It's not enough to say something like, "In my book, I explore this concept further." Give the audience the name of the book right there. If you can mention it 2-3 times, it will be more likely to stick in their heads after the interview. A book's title also often provides more context for the book's content, outside of the narrow scope of the interview. Repeating the title may pique someone's interest enough to convert them into a buyer.

The same goes for other products and services. Instead of saying, "At my company, we do...," insert the full company name every time. If the audience is interested in what you do, they'll be better equipped to search for your website or additional info on your work.

Give Them a Place to Go

You've caught the viewer's attention. She wants to learn more about your book, product, or service. Where would you like her to go next? If it's a book that's available for purchase, do you want to send her straight to the Amazon listing? If it's a service, would you prefer she visit your website?  

Avoid interrupting the interview to give out a specific URL if you can, but don't be afraid to mention that you have additional resources on your website. Most news channels will post the segment on their own website along with some notes, so spend some time thinking through the next logical steps for the audience. Proactively ensure that the producer has your website or product page information so they can include the correct links.

Interviews can be a great way to build some buzz around a product or service, but you need to walk a fine line between being a resource for the viewer and overtly promoting your brand. Remember that these interviews provide an opportunity for you to help the people watching and, in doing so, establish you as a bona fide expert in the topic at hand.

Published on: Mar 15, 2018