How to prepare for a media opportunity

October—also known as Pinktober, or breast cancer awareness month— is right around the corner, which means there are tons of media opportunities for you if your company participates in Cleaning For A Reason by giving free cleanings to women who are battling cancer. So let’s say you have a local radio interview booked in the coming weeks. Whatever you do, don’t panic! I’ve got some great tips on how to prepare for your interview.

How to prepare

The most important prep tip? Practice. Say your answers out loud, in front of a mirror, again and again until you feel comfortable and feel that you’ve got it down.

First things first. Find out how long your interview is expected to last. Usually they are around two to three minutes, but they could go longer depending on your media outlet. This will help you gauge how much time you need to fill.

Then find out if the interview is live or pre-recorded. If this is your first time speaking with the media, you’ll want to know whether or not you have the chance for a do-over if it’s pre-recorded. Even if it is pre-recorded, you should act like it’s a live interview to keep your hosts from having to do a lot of editing. They’re hoping for a one-take interview, with at most maybe one stumble that they can edit out. But don’t plan on practicing your answers on the interviewer; put your best foot forward and act like it’s a live interview. If you do stumble on an answer during a pre-recorded show, you can say “I’m sorry, can you ask me that question again so I do a better job answering?”

Jot down a few talking points and a phrase or two that you want to use. Media people love soundbites, and this will help you to calm your nerves as well.

Be prepared to tell a very short story about why you started your business or why you’re participating in Cleaning For A Reason.

Make a list of questions that you want your hosts to ask you. Most of them love to follow your questions, but you can’t guarantee that they’ll stick to it. It helps them out if you’ve thought through a few short questions they can ask you.

Don’t ramble on; that’s a sure sign of nervousness. Remember that the radio personality who’s interviewing you likes to do most of the talking because they’re the star of the show, not you. Your interview has to be a balanced give and take, not just you rambling endlessly.  The smoothest interviews are where you give a two or three sentence answer with a sound bite or two, and then you pause so they can jump in and comment or ask another question.

Keep it positive. Restate what’s unique about your company. Have your killer sales pitch about your services. When you’re selling, sell what’s important to their audience; is it a show that moms listen to? Talk about how you do excellent work and don’t kill their pets and their kids with harsh chemicals.

If you have time, you can provide some short cleaning tips. People love to hear about some of the germiest places in the home that people never think to clean, like the coffee pot that never gets washed out. You can also mention interesting tidbits like, “Studies have shown that most bathroom toilets have less bacteria on it than the kitchen sink.”

Be sure to insert your company name without overdoing it, like: “At ‘Cleaning Company XYZ’ we do a thorough job without using harsh chemicals that harm your children or pets.” You’ll want to keep reminding listeners of who you are, but not to the point where you mention it in every sentence.

Try to mention that one of the things that is important to you is that your employees are happy. You can also use this as a recruiting pitch: “We know you’ll be happy with a clean home but it can’t be achieved without having happy employees. And we’re always hiring. We’re always looking for that amazing cleaner who wants to work for the best cleaning company in town.”

Don’t compare yourself with local competitor. If you do that, you end up speaking negatively about them. Instead, talk about how amazing you are.

Take this opportunity to send people to your business. Be sure to give your website and once they’re there, have a clear call to action to sign up for more information or a quote.

The most important prep tip? Practice. Say your answers out loud, in front of a mirror, again and again until you feel comfortable and feel that you’ve got it down.

What to do after the interview

Once you do the interview, they usually send you a link to the audio file. You can download this file and then upload it to your own website. Or you can put together a picture montage with the audio and upload to YouTube, and then embed this in your website.

Post this radio interview on your social media channels, and then repost it a few times a year. Just because you did the interview once doesn’t mean you can’t link to it again in 4 or 6 months. Put it on your calendar to remind you to repost.

Send a link to the interview via email to your prospects and customers. You’ll be building your reputation for being an expert and your credibility will skyrocket when you get media attention.

Share the interview with your business networking groups or other local community groups. You could simply mention it before the interview happens, like: “Hey everybody! I’m on the radio tomorrow at noon for an interview about my cleaning company.” It’s not as if they’re going to make sure they catch the interview, but you’ve built up credibility with your network.

Whatever you do, don’t just do the interview and then let it be forgotten.

Recap

It is not possible to over-prepare or over-practice. Create your talking points, not long sentences to read out during the interview, but short snippets that you want to cover. Create questions you want to be asked, and then practice in front of a mirror, out loud, answering the questions you hope the host will ask. Don’t just practice your answers in your head. There is no comparison to practicing out loud, in front of a mirror, and hearing how it comes out.

When you practice you might discover that you ramble on and on. Create a few soundbites and tighten up what you want to share. With your talking points and practice, you cannot be overprepared.

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This is just a sample of the kind of help I can offer in my 16 week Cleaning Business Fundamentals course. For a free 30 minute consultation to discuss whether my course is a good fit for you, simply fill out my owner’s survey and I’ll be in touch to set up a time to talk.

 

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  1. […] doing work that benefits the community. If they want to interview you, don’t be nervous! I have a ton of great tips on how to handle your first (and second, and third…) interview. It gets easier over time as you […]

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