Seriously, who couldn’t use a little bit of free publicity, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re a C-Suite executive, small business owner, or a solo-preneur, for one reason or another the media will come calling…and you need to be prepared to face them. A good interview will help you to put your message “out there”. The bonus is that it’s free publicity!
An Interview Is Forever
It doesn’t matter how good you are at speaking one-on-one or to a group of people in the boardroom. When the lights come on or the microphone is put in front of you, doing an interview is a whole different ballgame. What you say during your interview and how you say it will be forever in the public record as a video or audio recording that can be played back and used whenever the broadcaster sees fit so be prepared.
The 7 Keys to A Killer Interview
Here are 7 key things to remember as you prepare for and execute your media interview:
People relate to real people so be natural, be your self.
Relax. In some circumstances easier said than done I know but relaxing will help you be attentive and in the moment.
A way to be sure you’re relaxed is to be prepared. Know the subject you’re being interviewed about by reviewing notes and documents.
In order to get the most out of your chance in the spotlight, prepare 3 or 4 key messages you want to incorporate into the interview. Have those 3 or 4 points printed out on a single sheet of paper large enough for you to see easily.
Speak your audience’s language by not using industry jargon that they won’t know.
Keep your sentences short and to the point. It will help your audience follow you and depending on how the interview will be used, will make it easier for the editor to pull “sound bites” ensuring a longer shelf life to your interview.
No matter how ill prepared a reporter may seem to be or doesn’t appear to understand the subject matter, never get angry or speak in a condescending tone. This is your time to shine so be gracious.
An important extra point is that you can be in control of the interview. Don’t feel that you need to stick to what your interviewer is asking. If the reporter doesn’t bring up the key points you want to make do the old politician switch-a-roo. Acknowledge the question by saying “that’s an interesting question but…” and then adding the point you want to make.
Not All Interviews Are Alike
Of course, there are different reasons you may be asked to speak with the media and each should be prepared for differently. If you need help preparing for your interview I’d love to help, just send me a note or call me at one of my numbers above.
A Final Thought
When I worked in radio I knew that I was only as good as my last break and that my audience was continually tuning in and out, so I made every break count and you need to do the same. Remember, first impressions are lasting impressions so assume that every time you do an interview that it’s a completely new audience and a new set of people you’re meeting for the first time, make it count!
Early in my career, long before I was working on-air or doing voice overs I had a client that wanted French subtitles placed on an English video I had shot and edited. This was long before the internet and personal computers and honestly, I was lost.
I contacted a local post production studio and hired them to work with me on the project.
It was a long and tedious process and cost my client a lot of money to get done between translator, studio time and my fee.
The good news is that these days, in the digital domain it’s much simpler and cheaper.
What You’ll Need
You’ll need 3 things:
1) a basic text editor,
2) the transcript and
3) the time code of the video you’re creating .SRT subtitles for.
Get a Free App
I use TextWrangler to create my subtitles, it’s free Mac software. If you’re on PC I hear a good alternative is Notepad++ though I’ve never tested it.
1. Create a blank document in your text editor, copy and paste your transcript into it.
2. Break up your transcript into short phrases, I don’t recommend going beyond 50 characters, that includes the spaces between words and punctuation (see an example). If you use too many words they will be pushed down onto a second line and could start obscuring your visuals.
3. Then number each line sequentially on the line above it as in this example:
4. Then finally you need to add the time code for each of the phrases, like this. The time code on the left is when the subtitle will appear onscreen and the time code on the right is when it will end.
5. Once you’ve finished preparing your document “save as…” and simply add .srt to the end of the file name…and you’re done!
Upload Your .SRT
When you upload your video to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, etc., upload your newly created .srt file along with it!
I suggest that while you’re at it that you create French and Spanish translations to cover all of the bases. It is after all the World Wide web. Note: each language will need to be its own separate .srt file.
Click here to watch my final profile video. Be sure you have CC (closed captions) activated to see how it turned out. You can toggle between the English subtitles and French translation.
Free Bonus Swipe File Click here to download a swipe file to get you started on creating subtitles for your video in the .SRT format! Open it in your basic text editor and modify it as you like.
I hope this was helpful. Leave your comments and a link to your finished video with subtitles below.
As much as the media seems in a state of flux these days the one thing that remains is the need for an organization to disseminate it’s story. Despite the many options via social sharing, the one stable constant is the press release. Proper usage of the press release, remains paramount to get the media’s attention.
While it is rare that a media outlet will use your press release verbatim you can be sure that not following the standards will get your press release tossed into the trash.
In the 25 years I worked in radio, it was a daily task (or toil) to go through the press releases I received. I would often make snap judgment calls because I just didn’t have the time, sometimes without even opening the envelope or reading the email.
Press Release Guidelines
Here are the guidelines you should follow to assure your press release will get noticed and more importantly get your organization noticed:
Keep it to one page – The point of the press release is to peak the interest of the media outlet, writing your entire life story isn’t going to do the job. It will bore them if they even read it at all. Give them one basic thought or idea and a call to action for more information. That’s it.
Use proper formatting – As a broadcaster/reporter rushes through the day’s pile of press releases they need to see what they expect to see in a scanable way. Make it easy for them by including these 9 elements:
For Release Date – right at the top of your press release, is the release date or time. Sometimes there is a reason to withhold information until a certain time, mark that date and time here. If it’s for immediate release mark it as “For Immediate Release”.
Contact Information – put your name and contact information right below the release date info. Make it easy to contact you to get more information or to set up an interview. Use the heading “For More Information”.
The Headline – is by far THE most important part of the press release. Without a good headline, no curiosity will be generated to dig deeper into the story. Write several headlines, come back to them later in the day and see which one grabs your attention the most.
Dateline – is what goes just before the story. Put the location and the date of the release, followed by a dash (-) and then begin the body of your release. It can be bolded or put in between brackets but should stand out as not part of the story.
First Paragraph – now that you’ve hooked them with your headline, tell them what you’re going to tell them in the first paragraph. Don’t get flowery with your writing, tell them the facts to support your headline. More details will come in the second paragraph. Beyond that let them contact you for more information. Remember this release needs to be one page only.
Quotes – beyond the headline and the first paragraph include quotes from the important people around your story. Put simply, quotes bring the story to life by putting real people into the action.
A Call to Action – should fall to the bottom of your content as a final push for them to contact you for more information or to setup an interview with you or with the personality of the press release. Whatever you do, do not hype your organization here. The point is for the reader to take ‘action’ like visit the website for more information or contact you. Hyping or selling here will get you tossed.
The Boilerplate – is a concise paragraph about your company. It’s an old newspaper term to describe a “block” of text that would be used over-and-over again. 2 sentences should suffice.
End of Content Marker – (# # #) is an old print media sign that there is “no further copy to come”. Other ways to mark the end is: -30- , XXX (Roman numerals for 30) or simply -END-. There is no logical reason to include these today, but can be seen as a respectful tip of the hat, signaling that you know what you’re doing and can be trusted.
Send it to the right person – Know your audience. Sending a press release about your new fleet of trucks to a light rock music radio station will get tossed and a guarantee that anything you send after that won’t even get opened. Build your media list carefully and diligently remembering that people change jobs. Keep it up to date.
Follow up – Wait a day or two after you know the press release was received and send an email or make a phone call to your list. See if they have any questions or would like to set up an interview. Don’t ask them “did you get it”…”did you read it”. The key here is to be a resource to help them do their job. Think of it as a partnership.
If you’re dealing with print media, you may want to include a link to high res pictures they can use.
NOTE: If you’re looking for wider distribution than just your local market I suggest using PR Web. In a head to head comparison with eReleases done by Soulati Media, PR Web was found to give greater online exposure.
Bottom Line: Mastering the art of the press release will give you the media canvas you need to build your organization’s brand identity.
My work as a full time voice over talent depends on my voice always being in shape to work. More often than not, especially during the winter months, friends ask me what I do if I catch a cold. The short answer is, I don’t.
I do have a few tricks up my sleeve in the unlikely event that I do catch a cold, but the best defense is to sidestep them. Notice how I don’t say “eliminate” a cold because the common cold is, well, common…and impossible to entirely eliminate. But imagine if you could lessen the severity of a cold when you do get them.
Introducing this little concoction that my wife and I have been taking every morning for the last two years.
Here’s What You’ll Need
Fresh Organic Lemon
Why Organic Lemons?
Organic lemons are smaller, more juicy and don’t have any chemicals in them. I also feel that the medicinal component of organic lemons is more potent.
Why Organic Honey?
Most off the shelf honey is filtered before it’s bottled to get rid of impurites in the honey. Unfortunately, by filtering the honey it also takes out the component of organic honey that will boost your immune system.
I am far from a health food, granola type but trust me when I say that using organic lemons and honey is the key to the success of this drink.
How Much Is Enough?
Depending on how juicy your lemons are you’ll want to use a quarter of a lemon…you need about a table spoon of lemon…squeeze that into your cup. Lemon is a powerful antioxidant, it protects the body and strengthens the immune system.
Then squeeze out about a table spoon of honey into your cup and top it with your hot water.
Make sure your honey gets dissolved into the water…stir it up to be sure.
Drink this first thing in the morning, every morning before you eat your breakfast to make sure it gets straight into your system and starts doing it’s thing.
Do this every morning and you’re sure to survive cold season unscathed. If anything you’ll find that if you DO catch a cold it’s not going to be as severe.
As easy as that, you now hold my secret weapon in fighting off a cold!
Try it out and let me know how your did in the comments below!
When it comes to writing style I don’t consider myself a “traditionalist”. Two things that I insist on when writing is spelling and punctuation. Both of these things have improved by using two apps on a regular basis: Hemingway and Grammarly.
If you’re writing a script for a commercial, a TV promo, an ebook, blog post or any form of online social media, these two tools will make sure you stay on track.
Grammarly – is more than a spell checker. It checks your grammar, spelling and plagiarism (premium version only)! You read that right. According to their website, “Grammarly’s plagiarism checker cross checks your text against over 8 billion web pages, detecting plagiarized passages and highlighting sections that have been previously published elsewhere”. Another plagiarism checker is Unplag. Learn about their free plagiarism checker here. Or if you want learn more about plagiarism click here.
The web browser plugin checks that comments or posts are grammatically correct.
Grammarly is available for free as a plugin on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
Hemingway – is a web tool where you simply cut and paste your document and get instant feedback. Sentence structure and phrasing, even passive voice alerts are included.
My personal preference is running my text through Grammarly and then taking it to Hemingway for final touches.
“The man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life” – Muhammad Ali
As someone who just turned the big 5-oh I’m not going to argue with that statement from “The People’s Champion” .
Truth be told, I’m certain if I had attended my 25th reunion I would have seen my friends as pretty much the same as they were back in our University days…perhaps slightly heavier, but generally no change. That has never been my approach to my personal life or business.
I’ve had Melodyne in my audio production arsenal for many years and have used it only occasionally to play around with for radio imaging voice overs. It’s main purpose of course is to fix out of tune singers in music production. I call it the more beautiful sister of Auto-Tune.
The other day a friend of mine sent me a video interview his son had done with Dr. Gerald H. Pollack talking about The Fourth Phase of Water [video]. The interview was well done, good questions, great information, nicely edited but at one point in the video the thing all sound guys fear the most when doing these kinds of documentary interviews, outside the location a truck started backing up! Beep, beep, beep, beep….
While it’s understandable given the location and while slightly annoying, I thought it would have been better to find a way to get rid of it in post production. The best they could have done was to play with the EQ and try to knock it down a bit so it wasn’t as harsh…but then I had a thought!
I opened up a new session in ProTools and imported the video with it’s audio track. Loaded the Melodyne plug in on the audio track and voila! There it was as clear as day…!
I highlighted it and hit delete. And as simple as that, the sound of the backing up truck was gone! Amazing!
Of course there is a bit of EQ tweaking to do but for the most part Melodyne had done the job.
Try it out next time you have the same issue, you’ll be amazed too!
I’ve always said when you have the right tools you can make anything happen. The same goes for my voice over business.
I’ve been asked a million times before what software I use (ProTools), what microphones I use (TLM 103 + MKH 416), what’s my mic preamp (BAE 1073MP) I’m even asked about the plugins I use to process my voice, which depending on the job, is just a combination of compression and EQ. But nobody ever asks me what I use the majority of the time, in my office to help me run the business. What’s up with that?
The tools I use day-in-day-out to run my business are just as important and in some cases MORE important than what I use in the booth.
For that reason, I’ve decided to share the 5 most indispensable tools I use to run my voice over business.
Wunderlist (Mac/PC) – My assistant and I live in the same city, by car about 30 minutes away, but thanks to Wunderlist I don’t need to call and ask her what she’s working on, see what’s she’s finished or to give her more information on a specific project. Wunderlist sits on my computer desktop in my office and in my iPhone. No matter where I am my assistant and I are able to keep the business on track.
Fetch (Mac) – I’ve been using Fetch since they invented it to quickly and seamlessly upload finished audio for clients to my online web server. Each client has a ‘Fetch droplet’ on my computer that is directly connected to their password protected folder on my server. I just drag and drop finished audio and zipped files onto the clients droplet and off they go! (PC Alternate: WS_FTP, 20% off with this code: Fetch20)
Typinator (Mac) – Typing the same thing over and over to clients when sending notifications that their audio is ready to download from my server (especially during TV sweeps) is a thing of the past with Typinator. I’ve set up simple codes that instantly expand into larger messages and shave off time when sending emails to clients. (PC Alternate: AutoText)
MaxBulk Mailer (Mac/PC) – Communication is one of the most important aspects of my business. I’m in touch with my clients regularly with general information, like new blog posts they might be interested in, an article that I’ve read or vacation notices. MaxBulk Mailer is the software that I use to stay in touch. It resides on my office computer and lets me email to my entire client list (or just a segment) quickly and easily anytime it’s necessary.
Zoom.us (Mac/PC) – Thanks to the internet and web cams, traditional conference calls are a thing of the past. I believe reading peoples facial expressions and body language is just as important (and sometimes more important) than hearing only the tone of voice. For that reason, I started using Zoom to meet with clients to discuss projects before and after I get into the booth. I use it when doing live webinars with my voice over students and also to meet with my assistant for our weekly face-to-face.
The tools you use should help you achieve your goals not interfere with them or bog you down. Each of these tools helps me to get to where I want to be faster and more efficiently. Check them out!
David Tyler is a creative communicator and voice over talent with 35+ years of experience in the broadcasting.
His mantra of ‘Stop Communicating and Start Connecting’ is his counsel to anyone attempting to use media, old or new, broadcast or online.
He writes and lectures on “The Art of Communicating Ideas.”
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