Forgetting your microphone is switched on
Being late for an interview
News is much more likely than programming to take a PR story and so much news is covered with live interviews. If you miss your slot, you may well lose the opportunity completely. Always allow plenty of time to get to a studio. Studios are often down labyrinths of corridors and when you’re being interviewed for national television you should allow time for make up too!
Missing the slot
It’s not just an interview you can miss, you can fail to get pictures to a broadcaster in time too. We can turn a film and edit round in a few hours – but only when we plan for it. That means we might edit on-site and start the editing process before filming has even finished; we’ll keep filming and interviews short to reduce editing time; and our producers will go to the edit with a clear idea of what needs to be put down. In our experience, lengthy approvals (and too many people approving) can also hold things up. You need to agree a finish time
Someone not being on message
We’ve had them all – Key Opinion Leaders, case studies and even corporate spokespeople who’ve not been briefed properly or who have failed to understand the story and have disagreed with the story on air! Establishing 3 or 4 key messages prior to the interviews helps everyone sing from the same song sheet. Write them down, along with any facts or stats you hope your spokespeople will use during the interviews.
Losing your rag on air
Broadcast loves interviewees with an opinion and journalists love to pit one voice against another. But NEVER get angry. Whatever you say must be controlled – so take a deep breath and force yourself to speak slowly; let other guests speak, never shout them down but politely insist on expressing your opinion too.
Not allowing enough time to sell in, so not maximising coverage
Broadcasters work on lists and the earlier you can get a story on a list the better the chances of getting it on air. Nationals (radio and TV) have a weekly meeting, most of them on a Thursday; then they have day before meetings and early morning meetings. BBC regional radio really likes to get prepared – they often book-up a week or more ahead – particularly the mid-morning stories that are more interested in feature-type stories.