TV Interviews

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Love-me-lotsby Yvonne DiVita, Co-founder and Mom to Chester, Emily, Olive and The Grumpy Old Lady

As you grow your blog – with insight and advice from the experts at each BlogPaws conference – your local news will begin to notice. This week I saw on Facebook that one of our best members, and a repeat speaker at our conferences, was invited to be on TV to talk about fostering. She was a little nervous and asked her Facebook friends what to wear and how to dress.

Thinking about that led me to this blog post. I have been on TV numerous times, and I've talked with a good many PR professionals on how to conduct myself during a TV interview. Here are some points to consider if one of your local channels calls and invites you to speak on your favorite topic – anything having to do with pets or animals, of course.

1. Dress appropriately >>> As if that's enough for someone to say. What, you're asking, is appropriate for a TV interview? Wear color – don't overdress, the lights will be warm and you'll be nervous. Dress professionally. You don't have to wear a business suit – if your normal wear is jeans and a T-shirt, you can wear jeans but I'd advise a blouse or dress shirt instead of a T-shirt. Don't wear things in your hair, ladies. Don't wear loud jewelry. Wear comfortable shoes. 

2. Wear make-up >>> Even if you don't normally wear make-up, be aware of the fact that the TV lights will make you look pale without make-up. Don't go overboard, though. Personally, I favor red when interviewed. A red jacket, red lipstick and plenty of mascara. They say more is better for TV. I say, be comfortable but remember that you want to look fresh and collected, no pale and sad. 

3. Have 3 solid talking points >>> Well before the interview, ask the TV personality who is conducting the interview WHAT they want to know or learn. For instance, if they want to talk about the concept of no-kill shelters because a new one is opening in your area, ask them what 3 things they want their audience to know. Then, compare them to the 3 things YOU want the audience to know. In the end, you Olive-close-up may only have time for ONE of your talking points, so choose wisely. 

4. If this is your first time, relax and feel free to repeat the questions being asked >>> For instance, I'm interviewing you and I ask, "What happens to animals that live in a no-kill shelter? Do they live there forever, if no one adopts them?" You smile, look at the camera and answer, "I'm so glad you asked, Yvonne. People are always wondering what happens to animals in a no-kill shelter if they're not adopted out." And… you finish with your answer. This shows that you're listening and it gives you that few seconds to formulate your answer (you should have that answer ready but depending on the question, you may want to change the answer or spin it differently)

5. SMILE!!! Seriously. Unless you do interviews for a living, they can be scary. All those lights. All those people watching you. Knowing there are millions more watching at home. Smiling relaxes you. The bigger the smile, the better. No, don't grimace…smile. Act interested and focus on the person interviewing you. Do some homework. Look at some interviews this person has done before. Are they pushy? Is her or his agenda all that's important? How do they try to make their guest feel comfortable? Pick a particular interview you think went really well, and watch it over and over. Learn from it.

Those are my little bits of advice for being interviewed on TV. They work for radio, also. Yes, you have to be personable and dress nicely and smile on the radio, also.

I hope the PR folks who are part of BlogPaws will comment and share their best bits of advice, also. 

Now, go get'em! 

  • http://www.fidoseofreality.com Carol Bryant

    Spot on, Yvonne! Twice at BlogPaws I’ve led a session on how to get Traditional Media Coverage as a blogger. I’ve also been on television close to a dozen times in the name of dog, dog products, and dog travel, each time WITH my dog.
    One of my greatest pieces of advice is to treat your blog with the same respect you would if your article/post was appearing in the New York Times. We are the modern journalist. We report facts, share information, and many times, break stories. These are the things that of which television clips, segments, and pieces are made.
    I will be appearing on Pet Talk with Lauren Collier in June for “Pet Products for Dog Dads” – on News12CT. Lauren is a meteorologist who also does this amazing pet-oriented half-hour show.
    We all have television and radio stations near us. Pitch and face the media with the same tenacity you do in building a blog and readership. Then when you land a spot, practice, have a family member or friend play “host.”
    And of the “it can be done,” my dog and I were also invited on Oprah Radio’s “Gayle King Show” when Gayle wanted to know “which dog is right for me” – seriously, it can be done. http://youtu.be/GivnknsZ2gw
    I look forward to each appearance as if it were my first; therein lies the magic. Believe in yourself and the rest will follow. Great post, Yvonne!

  • Laura Fallon

    I enjoyed seeing the post from Carol Bryant! I think I have what it takes but not sure how to pitch myself without a known entity getting my foot in the door. I had seen her on TV but she represented fido magazine. Since she represented a major dog magazine, fido friendly and was able to get on Gayle King and Pet Talk because of them, how do we meer mortals attain such celebrity?