Let’s face it, as a small band, what you need and crave is publicity. Phone-ins are still a huge part of a bands PR machine and whether it’s for a small local music paper, a music blogger, or even, if you’re lucky enough, a major newspaper or popular radio station, you need to be prepared. Putting in some serious preparation for media interviews can be invaluable. You really can reap the rewards by gaining new fans and generating valuable buzz.
As a band or artist starting out these interviews can be somewhat daunting, even if you’ve been somewhat ‘around the block,’ it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re doing and blow a massive opportunity. So, with that in mind, we thought we’d share a little advice to some of the new and upcoming acts. What to expect, and how to circumnavigate the minefield that is ‘the interview.’
What we have decided to focus on here today is the art of the phone interview. Easy right? Just answer the phone when the interviewer calls and away you go… Not so fast. The moment that phone rings, or whether you’re using an Internet service like Skype, you’ll be expected to be on. You may have to think on your feet, think outside of the box, and if you’re live on air, be very careful of what you say and don’t.
Hey, perhaps you’re naturally gifted in this department, charming and quick on your feet, but for those of you that may be lacking in this department, perhaps we can help.
Here are a few insights as to what you might encounter and expect, and more importantly, how you can prepare for what might lie ahead.
This isn’t the scouts, but believe us when we say ‘be prepared’ preparation is everything when it comes to phone interviews. As a general rule there are a few questions you can pretty much always expect to be asked during these interviews, so as a novice it’s perhaps worthwhile getting your responses in order for these basic Q & A’s beforehand. There are a few questions that nearly always come up with these type of interviews. Tell the audience: “How you would you describe your sound?” is almost a guarantee. “Who would you describe your biggest influences?” And more often than not it will end with “What’s up next for you or your band?” Keep this mind also. Whereas it’s key to have the answers to those fundamental questions in the back of your head, try not to be too robotic with your responses.
Be Calm and concise:
Striking a balance with the length of your answers is key. Let’s remember that an interview is basically a conversation between you and the Journalist. The interview, 9 times out of 10 is for the listening audience to get to know you and your music. Now here’s the key, should you go into detail, yes, but, there is a real difference between interesting, detailed answers and going off into a ramble about something that takes up time and frankly isn’t of interest to the journalist or the listening audience. Keep the conversation flowing, take your time, but keep it concise.
Plug, Plug, Plug:
There is no better time than an interview to promote your music, your brand, up-coming shows, you name it, this valuable airtime is a massive opportunity to sell, sell, sell. Keep in mind that a strong social media presence is vital when it comes to branding you and your music, so use the interview to push your website and social media addresses. Remember, you may have people listening in that may have no idea who you are and where to find you. Yes, we know that sounds redundant that we’d have to remind you to do that but you’d be surprised that in the heat of the moment, and perhaps a little flustered, many artists forget the fundamentals.
Do your research:
Just as would if you were going on a job interview, take the time to know the radio station, blog or publication. For the most part, the interview will be with a station or publication that deals with the same genre of music as you, but even then you need to know your audience. There are certain stations and blogs that are more PC than others so remember, do your research. You may want to take the time to check out some of their previous interviews, this way you can get a better gauge of their speed, style and what to expect.
Enjoy, relax and engage:
We know it’s easier said than done but the key here is to be yourself. If you’re not naturally gifted with the charm offensive, or automatically witty on demand, you can follow these basic rules when it comes to you and your interview. Be polite, to be as honest as you can, friendly and never be late. All of these will make a difference to your audience as well as your interviewer.
So there you have it. What’s important to remember here is that building a rapport and relationship with people in the music and entertainment business is key. If the person doing the interview happens to like you, it’s highly likely they will stick with you and support you as time goes by.