If a producer called you today and offered you an interview on a television show tomorrow, would you be ready? If that question scares you a bit, don’t worry. You can start becoming “media ready” right now by going through this checklist and using the tips I provide to prepare yourself.
You will need the following 3 things on your checklist:
1. Media Bio 2. Core Message 3. Target Audience
Clearly defining those things can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you’re just getting started. It’s easy to over think this, so I suggest you try and do the checklist below in just 25 minutes. That may seem quick, but I give you specific examples to make this process as easy as possible. You will no doubt go back and revise things, but think of doing this checklist as creating a first draft.
Okay, let’s get started!
- So the first media must-have is a Bio. And not just any Bio, but one that is particularly suited to a media interview whether it be in TV, radio, print, or online. You need a Media Bio. Here’s a fictitious one with all the key elements you’ll need. (Please note that any resemblance to any real person is unintentional and purely coincidental.)
Jane Smith is a family travel expert and the author of the new book The Single Parent’s Guide for Traveling With Kids. After coming home exhausted from her last vacation with her three children, Jane came up with a practical, no fuss system that makes traveling with kids fun and relaxing for the whole family.
Notice how this Bio answers these specific questions:
- What is your name?
- What do you do? (In this case, she’s a family travel expert…this differentiates her from another type of travel expert.)
- Why would you be interviewed? (An interview could be tied to something happening in news currently, or because of a recent accomplishment like an award being given, or that the interviewee was just named as the new head of some organization, or a new book came out, as in the example above.) *If this doesn’t feel like it applies to you, no worries. Skip it for now!
- Who is your audience? (In this case above, it is single parents who want to travel with their children.)
- What problem do you address? (Many media interviews are done to address a problem or challenge that the show’s audience is facing. In this example, the problem is that traveling with children can be exhausting. Parents will relate to that.)
- How do you address or solve this problem? In other words, what benefits do you provide your audience? (In my example, the author addresses the problem by creating a simple system parents can use when traveling with kids.)
Put a timer on and set it for 10 minutes. Write out your Media Bio using the elements noted above. Don’t expect it to be perfect right off the bat. Read it out loud. Ideally it should take about 10-15 seconds. If it’s longer, that’s okay for now. Make your target goal 15 seconds at the longest. Then, check “Media Bio” off your list and go to the next item:
- Know your Core Message. Here is an example that would work for another fictitious character. James, a vegetarian restaurant owner and chef who has written a cookbook might state his core message as follows:
I teach new vegetarians how to prepare delicious and filling meals in less than 20 minutes a day.
This chef’s core message tells us the following:
- What he does: He teaches his audience how to prepare vegetarian meals.
- Who he will serve: His audience is new vegetarians; people who might need extra help preparing vegetarian meals because the whole concept of changing their diets may be intimidating or overwhelming to them.
- What he is going to help with: He knows that people new to a vegetarian diet might be worried that the food won’t taste good or be truly filling, so his recipes will address those concerns.
- What benefits he provides: Vegetarian cooking using this chef’s recipes and techniques won’t take a lot of time – only 20 minutes a day.
Now set your timer to 10 minutes again. Remember, just like in the example above, your core message should have these elements:
- State what you do
- Include who you do it for
- Say how you will help those you serve
- Declare some benefits your audience will receive
Write it out, imperfections and all. Don’t be intimidated. It’s literally one sentence J Check it off your list and move on to the last item.
- Know your Target Audience – the people who are served by your book, product, or story. As you can see in the first two items on the checklist, your audience must factor into both your Media Bio and the Core Message. You want to be clear on whom you serve because it should align, at least in general, with the audience of the media outlet on which you are interviewed. Take a look at this example using another fictitious person:
Dr. Rodriguez’s target audience: Senior citizens recovering from heart attacks, who are open to a holistic approach to diet, exercise, and stress management.
This statement tells us that the doctor is serving the needs of a very specific group, and it’s not just people over the age of 65. The senior citizens he treats are recovering from heart attacks and they are open to a holistic approach to their recovery. So, when you consider your audience, make sure you think about any characteristics that set them apart from the general population.
This time set your timer to just 5 minutes. Write down the ideal people who will benefit most from your message. Describe them as specifically as you can. When the timer goes off, check this last item off your list.
In less than a half hour, you have prepared your message for the media. Over the next few days and weeks, I encourage you to come back to what you wrote and improve it each time. It won’t take long before you have a well-defined Media Bio, a Core Message to deliver in interviews, and a clear idea of the people you serve in your Target Audience.
I hope this checklist has been helpful to you. If you’re serious about getting publicity for your book, brand, or mission, I have a wonderful resource for you – my 30 Day Media Mentor course. I wish you media success!