Going LIVE, Not as Scary as it Sounds

Many of my clients tell me doing a LIVE interview is one of the most terrifying prospects they can imagine, and while it can be intimidating, there are a number of benefits to LIVE TV/Radio.

The biggest benefit is that you have much more control over a live interview than a taped one. A taped interview is edited and you can bet, it will be the soundbites the reporter wants to use, not bites you would pick.

During a live interview you have several minutes of unedited air time to share your messages with your audience (your clients and potential clients.) A taped story typically lasts 1 minute 15 seconds (or less) compared to a live interview, which can range from 2 minutes to 5 minutes.

Will the reporter ask all the questions you are hoping for? No, probably not. But they don't have to, because a properly trained spokesperson knows how to answer the reporters questions and navigate back to their main messages.

So while they might seem scary at first, a live interview is actually a goldmine for a business owner. More time on the air, more control over what your audience hears, and possibly more promotion for the interview itself.

Still don't feel ready for your live debut? Email me jodie.heisner@bottomlinemediacoaching.com We'll get you there.


5 Tricks for Appearing More Comfortable On Camera

Lets face it, for most of us being on camera isn't the most comfortable place to be. But you and I both know what amazing exposure a news interview, or even a website video can provide.

If your anxiety has you looking like a nervous wreck on camera, here are some tricks for appearing comfortable.

1. SMILE! Sounds simple, but it is the number one thing you can do to make yourself appear more comfortable, likeable, approachable and even more attractive. If the topic is very serious, only smile during the introduction and close of the segment. If it is less serious, I suggest you practice keeping a half smile on your face throughout. This is a trick that works in real life too.

2. Don't look at the camera. This one surprises a lot of people, but if you are being interviewed you should be looking at the host, not directly into the camera. This is simply because you don't know what camera is on you or when. Often you will end up looking at the wrong camera like a deer in head lights. If looking at the host/reporters eyes is distracting for you, look at their forehead.  No one will ever know the difference. (Including the host.)

If you are a first time host or doing your own web video, then you have to look at the camera, but not necessarily right into the lens. The lens can be intimidating for some, so look just above it or imagine looking through it and talking to the photographer behind the camera. This will help you appear more natural.

3. Use your hands. We speak with our hands in real life, so why wouldn't you when you are on camera, in an interview or in front of an audience. Pinning your hands to your sides makes you appear robotic and unnatural. Of course, there is the other extreme as well, the stereotype of the Italian mother whose hands move so much you need to duck when she starts speaking, yeah we don't want that either. A good general rule is to move your hands, but keep them between your shoulders and not above your eyes as you speak.

4. Breathe. For many people nerves can lead to issues with catching your breath, which can also lead to a shaky voice. This is a tip I learned as a child during singing lessons. (As an adult I am an awful singer, but at least I have this take away.) Just before your segment begins take a deep breath in your nose and out your mouth. Then take one more deep breath in filling your lungs and release it as you speak. This will give you plenty of breath to speak with, allowing you to breathe naturally going forward.

5. You are what you wear.Wear something that makes you feel good. Wearing something you aren't comfortable with, even if everyone else tells you look great, will take away from your confidence level. Click here for more on What To Wear during your appearance.


The Top 3 Reasons The Press Release is Dead

p style=”text-align: justify;”>The first press releases were sent out in 1906 and I am afraid they haven’t changed much since then. Public Relations professionals and business owners turn to the Press Release to announce something or get their take on a story to the media.

In this new fast paced digital age the old standard press release just doesn’t cut it anymore. Why?

No Time. At many television stations reporters are now shooting, writing, editing and reporting their own stories, not to mention writing the articles for the website. Radio and print reporters are now responsible not only for reporting the story, but also for putting visuals on the web. Producers are creating shows while creating their own graphics and updating social media. When you send out a press release these people better not have to read through several paragraphs to get to the information they need. I guarantee it will be deleted before they get there.

Social Media. Beyond the traditional press release or even a modernized email pitch (which I recommend), social media is now becoming a preferred method of story finding for many reporters/producers/editors. Getting the word out on Twitter and Facebook is a much more time efficient way to connect with the media. The bonus for the media is that you have to be brief when using social media.

Websites. Can’t get all the info across in a brief 2 paragraph email pitch? You don’t have to, you simply need to convince the media this is a good story. If they are interested they will click on the link to the website with additional information.


Most Public Relations Pros I know agree with me on this subject, but say their clients expect to see that sheet of 4 -8 well written paragraphs touting their big announcements. If that is the case I suggest you attach the press release, but write a quick pitch in the body of the email.

Happy Pitching

Don’t Be Afraid to Call Yourself an “Expert” You Are One

am a media expert. I know my stuff. I have a degree in Radio & Television Broadcasting. I have worked in the field for 10 years in a variety of different roles and I continue to study the ever evolving industry.

How about you? You probably know all the ins and outs of your business. You’ve worked in it for a number of years and most likely went to school in order to do that.

So why is it that so many of you have a fear of being called an expert or sharing your expert opinion?

There are a few reasons I hear from my clients including; not wanting to come across as pompous or narcissistic, the fear that no one wants to hear your opinions/views, or the fear someone will call you out for not really being an “expert”.

Not wanting to come across as pompous or narcissistic.

If you know your stuff, you know your stuff. There is nothing narcissistic about knowing your business like the back of your hand. The average population does not have your experience. People are interested in what you have to say.

The fear that no one wants to hear your opinions/views.

If you were asked to do an interview with the media regarding a segment of your business, they did not invite you just to have you spew a bunch of facts at them. No doubt having facts to back you opinion is a must, but they want your view, based on your experience. If they didn’t they could have simply pulled up the latest study in the subject and been done with it.

If you are giving a seminar or speech, again the people are their to hear your expert opinion on the matter. To find out how you would do it. Otherwise they could probably buy a “For Dummies” book and be done with it.

Your opinion is valued.

Fear someone will call you out for not really being an “expert”.

I think this is what it really comes down to. Do you really know enough to be called an expert? Our insecurities have us question things like this, afterall we are giving ourselves a compliment here, how dare we.

There is no certification program for experts (that I know of, although some scam artist will create one and make millions.)

If you analyze what you know about your industry against the average population’s knowledge, I think many of you can confidently say “Yes, I am an expert.”

An expert doesn’t mean you know everything. It means you know a heck of a lot, you can teach others, you have strong opinions backed up by fact and you are constantly learning more about your subject area.

So how can you get others, the media specifically, to see you as an expert? Some of the best ways are to blog, share opinions via social media, and hold seminars and do speaking engagements. Writing a book is also a good way, but the others can get you to your goal a little quicker.

Still afraid to call your self an expert? My last piece of advice is to simply get over it. (And I mean that in the kindest way possible.

Critique of the Week: Lessons From an Ambush Interview

You have seen these “ambush” interviews before. The reporter approaches a person accused of doing wrong when they are least suspecting it. They wait for them outside their place of work, approach them as they step out of their home or simply try and barge through the front door of that office/home and demand answers.

Recently a Valley Salon owner got to experience it first hand.


So what can we learn from this woman’s experience?

1. It can happen to you. This is a salon owner, apparently struggling financially, no matter her struggles you can bet she did not expect to be the lead story on the local evening news.

2. As a former journalist I participated in this type of interview. 90% of the time we made at least 2 attempts to schedule a sit down interview before proceeding with an ambush interview. I do not know if that happend here, but for most journalists this type of interview is not their first course of action.

A scheduled sit down interview would have given this woman the opportunity to collect her thoughts, decide what her message is and how she plans to deliver it. It would also give her the time to call a professional like myself.

3. Don’t shut the door. Shutting the door in the reporter’s face sets you up for punishment. By doing that you appear to be running and who runs? The guilty. The bad guy.

By shutting that door you also pretty much guarantee the TV station is going to play that clip over and over again in promos and teases for that night’s newscast.

What you should do is tell them you will sit down with them in one hour. Do not answer any questions at that time. Explain to the reporter off camera that you understand how bad it will look if you do not show up for that interview in an hour and that you will be there.

Then call a media coach or your PR agency immediately.

4. This business owner did come back and do an interview, but it did her no good. She was mad, defensive and continually contradicted the reporter. She was not prepared.

In this economy she could have easily gone from the villain to the victim. By explaining that times are tough, she is very sorry for the situation but like many small business owners she is struggling, she could have changed the direction of the story. She then should have told the reporter she now has the money and will pay the women immediately.

5. Had this business owner had a media crisis plan in place the outcome would have been much different.

As business owners we create business plans, sales plans, evacuation plans, but we don’t prepare for a media emergency.

Why? We don’t believe it can happen to us. Whether it is an angry former employee airing your dirty laundry, a lawsuit, a recall or a social media blunder, it can happen to you. It happens to people like you everyday. When handled poorly by the company this type of coverage ruins reputations and can put businesses under. Be prepared.