| |

Got a media interview? Remember to talk

I just interviewed a source for a corporate client article.

The experience was painful for both of us.

I’d ask an open-ended question . . . she would answer with one sentence.

I’d try to draw her out a bit with another question on the same topic . . . I’d get one more sentence — maybe.

She wasn’t uncooperative — it’s just that she was shy and not terribly comfortable with the telephone interview process. I eventually got what I needed, but I had to work twice as hard to get half as much information as usual.

If this had been a magazine, newspaper, or newsletter assignment, I would have concluded the interview quickly and found another source. Time is money in this business.

Talk — and talk some more

There’s a lesson in this for authors fortunate enough to get interviewed by the media: Talk. And then talk some more.

When you do media interviews, you don’t need to be a Chatty Cathy (pictured — pull the string in her back and she talks!). But you do want to answer most questions with more than one sentence. It might take a little practice to get the right rhythm — how much is too much . . . how much is not enough? — but you’ll get a sense of it with experience. It’s OK to ask the interviewer if you’re sharing too much or too little detail, too.

Note, too, that even if the interviewer has asked you a “yes/no” question, you don’t want to answer with just “Yes” or just “No.” Provide that information, then explain your answer.

Be quotable

The best way to be quoted by the press is to answer questions in a way that makes you, well, quotable. Think about what you need to communicate ahead of time, plan the best way to say it, and then answer questions as well as you can without being too brief or too wordy. If you need help, Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates has templates you can use to develop your messages and create soundbites with them. (Soundbites make you oh-so-quotable!)

If you don’t, your information might not make it into the article or segment, and you will have wasted your time and the reporter’s.

What do you do to make sure you get quoted when you’re interviewed by the press?

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

Similar Posts


  1. This is encouraging and most helpful. I was once given the advice to have a pithy sound bite prepared in advance of the interview and slip it in at the appropriate time — but only one time!

    1. It was good advice, Peter! Some people have a knack for talking in sound bites, but the rest of us need to think about it ahead of time. One of the best examples I’ve seen is David Zinczenko, author of the “Eat This, Not That,” series when he appears on The Today Show.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *