How I Fell in Love with Media Interviews…and How You Can Too!

AlexiaCommunication, Public Speaking

The Wednesday the week before Thanksgiving in 2010, I pinched myself as I was cleared by security to go up the elevators at 10 Columbus Circle. Living in New York and teaching public speaking at CUNY’s John Jay College, I walked by this building twice a day, three times a week, for 2 years. Most days, I was envisioning a time when I would not walk by the doors but instead walk in them, and then go up to CNN where I would be interviewed.

While sharing my top tips for landing a job during the holidays on CNN feels much longer than 5 years ago, I can still recall knowing that day that the segment would be a game changer for me – both in terms of how I saw myself and how the world would now see me. Although most people would never know the very boring story behind how I got on CNN – that a client and dear friend facilitated an introduction to a producer on the show at the time (which is one of the ways so many media interviews get booked, from a simple email to a producer), saying I was interviewed on national media was an instant credibility enhancer.

I’m excited to introduce you to my pal, Ellie Brett, who is an incredibly dynamic media interview teacher and coach and, in addition to securing herself some impressive media coverage, is quickly becoming a go-to expert for speakers, business owners and thought leaders looking to meaningfully sashay their way on camera. Like me, Ellie believes that EVERYONE has the capacity to integrate her/his powerful storytelling and big ideas to be of service in the world. It’s no wonder we clicked as soon as we were introduced! Ellie has an upcoming workshop on the subject (details at the end), and for you to get a taste of Ellie and the breadth of her experience, I set-up a short interview with her. Enjoy.

Ellie, please tell my audience a bit about you.

Sure thing! I am a recovering TV news reporter on a mission to help business owners, experts and authors use their unique voices in interviews, videos and everyday conversation to create the change they want to see.

I was a reporter for nearly a decade on NBC, interviewing people everyday, spending hours gathering soundbites and footage, then distilling it all into a couple of minutes of live TV each evening.

When I left news in 2009 to start my first business to help women get over heartbreak, I realized that I had to use everything I’d learned about sharing other people’s stories to share my own. I was ready (and a bit nervous) to use all my skills and reveal my unique voice. And guess where I was sitting just a month after launch? Across from Kathie Lee & Hoda as a guest on the TODAY Show!

I soon could add SHAPE Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Cosmo Radio, and The New York Times to my list of media appearances. And, in a flash, I had a national audience of people eager to read my emails, share my words, and work with me.

Not long after that, people started asking me how I could help them do the same thing: use every second of a media interview or video for maximum impact and keep the momentum going once the interview was over. That’s when my company, Media Bombshell, was born.

I believe we each have a story to share and a message the world needs to hear, and I’m on a mission to give people the tools they need to own their voices and share their wisdom with ease.

What are the different ways that entrepreneurs and thought leaders can use media interviews?

There are more platforms than ever for interviews: traditional TV, radio, print, {and now!} podcasts, Skype interviews and online articles. It’s exciting stuff!

Interviews are a majorly under-appreciated opportunity. I believe an interview is simply a conversation with a purpose, and I’ve seen them used in so many ways, like getting in front of new audiences, getting known for your work (and becoming the go-to expert in your field) and winning clients, which ultimately means making more money. And this is just the start. They’re also very legitimizing, great for finding new partners, and a fabulous way to hone your message. I could go on!

Where should one be in her/his career or business for a media interview to make sense?

I’m here to tell you that it’s never too early. I hear a lot of people say they don’t think they’re ready for interviews yet, and they should just wait until they’re more experienced, more known, making more money, you name it.

See, I think that’s backwards! Interviews can be THE CATAPULT that takes you to the next level in your business. So instead of waiting for your business or your career to be “big enough”, why not help it get there through interviews?

I totally agree! Now, to make this vision a reality, how does one find press-worthy interview angles?

You have to be able to put yourself in the mind of the interviewer: what are they looking for and why? Most of the time, they want angles that will be incredibly relevant to their audience and will leave their viewers/listeners/readers with valuable takeaways.

So, when you’re coming up with angles, here are three things to think about:

  1. What are the questions you get asked all the time by clients or potential clients, or even when you first introduce yourself to someone? These are great fodder for creating angles that the audience is really interested in.
  2. Is there a way to make your work relevant to any current events? This is always a great way to make your content especially exciting for interviewers.
  3. What would make you tune in? And would you be so excited to hear the content that you’d stay tuned the whole time? If you’re not really into the content, chances are no one else will be either.

What are the 2 biggest mistakes you see experts make in media interviews – and how can my readers be sure to avoid them?

They try to fit too much into a single interview. Think about it as a chance to share a few insights and let the audience get to know you, but don’t focus on giving them everything all at once. In interviews, fewer topics with more in-depth insights is pretty much always better.

Second, they just show up and answer the questions. The best interviews are the ones where both sides come prepared, know their stuff and are able to have fun.

You’ve got an awesome virtual workshop coming up, How to Be a Media Darling. Would you please share what you’ll be covering and what participants will take away?

Yes, happily! Here are the top three things:

  1. How to be unforgettable.  I’ll show you how interviews are so much more than just looking good while answering questions… and how you can leave the audience wanting more by using your personality.
  2. How to build a strategy so you’ll be ready for anything. I’ll teach you how to focus on the most important pieces of your message so you can use every second of an interview effectively, even if you only have three minutes.
  3. How to turn your interview into money (every question into an opportunity), so your audience (and potential clients) feel like they get to know you from an interview & walk away wanting to work with you.

Are you as psyched about this workshop as I am? You can click here to sign-up for Ellie’s How to Be a Media Darling.