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How To Handle Yourself In A Media Interview

by Jem Bahaijoub on May 12, 2011 · 9 comments

To maximize on an interview opportunity for your band, you can and should prepare.

You’ve spent months planning, researching, distributing, networking, and pitching your latest record, and it’s finally landed you your first batch of media interviews. Congratulations!

But wait! Before you sit back and relax, you need to prepare.

Being prepared for an interview is not about media manipulation or being someone or something you’re not. It’s about communicating who you are confidently and effectively. This is why preparation is vital.

Here are a few tips that will help you maximize on any online, print or broadcast interview.

Define Your Media Message
Before you go into any interview, make sure you have already defined your media message. A media message is a collection of key points which describes your offering. To identify key points, ask yourself questions such as how would you describe your music? What is your musical story? Define a consistent, clear and simple message which is easy to control, and don’t be afraid to repeat yourself from interview to interview. Repetition and consistency will strengthen your brand.

Remember that the media love quotes and sound bites, so keep your answers short, concise and positive. This will also help you avoid verbal tics, and allow you to utilize your talking time more effectively.

Remember the Basics
I see this happen so often: an artist tells a journalist their life story but forgets their gig details or the release date of their latest record during an interview.

The who, why, what and where are things you cannot forget. Frame this basic information as calls to action – Go to my website! Buy my album! Come to my gig! Before your first interviews, it makes sense to write this stuff down. It’s easy to get caught up and forget the simple stuff.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Who is the most confident speaker in your band? Who is the funniest? Who is a great talker once he gets over his initial nerves? If you’re in a band, it is very important to be aware of these things, as they will help you get the most out of an interview.

Knowing your social strengths and weaknesses as a band or solo artist will help you figure out who is going to talk about what during a TV interview. It also helps you avoid the confusion of everybody talking all at once (or some members talking too much) or the awkwardness of looking at each other blankly and waiting for someone to speak.

Be Yourself
In this age of transparency, there is no point in pretending to be someone you are not. Expressing your personality and emotions will endear you to new fans, and help you build a rapport with the journalist. This will also fuel your most important marketing mechanism – word of mouth.

All of the above tips are commonsense but are easily forgotten in the overwhelming frenzy of managing your career as a musician. So it’s well worth taking time out to ask yourself exactly what you want to achieve in each interview…..and of course don’t forget what your mother taught you – gratitude, courtesy and good time keeping are a must!

Jem Bahaijoub is the founder of imaginePR, a music marketing and PR agency based in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Rockett May 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Great post,

As you said the best option is to be yourself. People see through anything that's not authentic and if you really speak from your own point of view it will be interesting to the fans.

Even if you stumble and stutter it's fine.

- Chris

MaxWillens May 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm

The fan's bullshit detector is stronger than ever these days, Chris.

It can definitely be tough to balance between being prepared and tying yourself up on talking points.

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