Whether it’s for a fun promotion or to quash a recent scandal, appearing on the news (or other media) can be a great opportunity for you to represent your brand in the public sphere. If you pull it off, you’re the toast of the town, with people everywhere knocking down your door to buy your stuff. Of course if you don’t pull it off, they may all run away screaming instead.

stick man or figure standing behind movie camera - vectorSo it’s important to prepare before you step on stage. It’s best to treat this experience like any other speaking engagement – have an idea what you’re going to say before you say it and make sure you’re not blindsided by anything.

Know How You’ll React

Almost as important as what you’re going to say is how you’re going to handle the experience. Seriously, people freeze up all the time when cameras or mics are pointed at them. If you’ve never been in the environment before, you have no clue how you’re going to react. You may be just fine or you may freak out and stutter every other sentence.

So it’s good to know how you deal with the pressure of being under the hot lights of a TV station, especially if you’re there to defend your business. If you’ve never experienced anything remotely like this before you should try and contact a friend or colleague who has so they can walk you through it all. The simple act of knowing what you’re getting into can calm your nerves and make the appearance go more smoothly.

Get Someone to Grill You

You may or may not know what the reporter is going to ask you when the cameras flip on, but you at least have an idea what subject you’ll be discussing. Some stations actually give you questions ahead of time so you can prepare, but if they don’t, not all is lost.

Grab a friend and have them grill you with potential questions. Have them switch the questions up a little to try and shake you up. The key is to sound natural and relaxed without devolving into “um, uh” territory. Just keep a cool head and the answers will come to you.

If you’re really not sure what the direction of the interview will be, try to think why they’re bringing you on. If the segment is about farming developments in the west and your company recently had a breakthrough with fertilizer, it’s likely going to skew that direction. And don’t be afraid to ask! Most journalism is not “gotcha” journalism, and you will usually know why you’re being interviewed.

Skip the Yuks, but Don’t Be Humorless

Appearing on TV really is all about finding the middle ground. You don’t want to be too stiff nor do you want to be too loosey-goosey. You don’t want to appear to have no personality, but at the same time you want to avoid turning on your stand up comedian side when the camera points your way.

Keep jokes to a bare minimum and on point of the story. If you go off on a tangent that makes no sense (no matter how hilarious) you’re going to irritate the TV station and alienate viewers. Worse, you could end up as an unfortunate YouTube clip…for all the wrong reasons. Don’t be humorless, though, as you may come off as a jerk. It’s all about the middle ground and figuring out what works with your interviewer and your audience.

Do you have any experience in front of the camera? What tips do you have for first-timers?

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