…that’s just the start!
I was reminded yet again recently of why I do the work I do. As many of you know I wrote my first book ‘Imperfectly Natural Woman’ 11 years ago. I had written it because a publisher came to me and asked if I’d considered writing it, she had heard me speaking on the radio about natural health and wellbeing and alternative stuff, everything from eco laundry balls, through to organic skincare, fermented foods, raw cacao and reducing plastics (yes, I was seriously ahead of my time!).
The book was my life’s work, it came out just after the birth of my fourth child, and it was literally like having a fifth baby. When it didn’t rate – anywhere, when it wasn’t on the shelves in ANY stores, when no journalists were interested in the press release my publisher sent out – I was gutted. Furious actually, and beyond frustrated. I was also determined that this stuff I was sharing would be heard – somehow. I took matters into my own hands and started hustling, I found that journalists and producers are usually happy to hear from an author directly, even if you have invested in PR, and the turning point came when I was invited onto what was then the drive time show on BBC Radio 2. It was with Johnny Walker, he had recently come through his own health challenge and was very open to hearing me wax lyrical about everything from superfoods, through cleaning the house without chemicals, EMF protection, natural skincare, even eco sanitary ware!
The phones went mad, the reaction was great, I came away buzzing and went to sleep a happy bunny feeling proud that I’d got my message across and hopefully inspired a few more people to try a few holistic approaches, albeit ‘imperfectly’.
I couldn’t believe when the following morning, my publisher rang me at 7am to tell me the book had gone to Number One on Amazon best sellers overnight knocking ‘The Da Vinci Code’ off the top spot! Suddenly the branches of Waterstones and other stores (yes there were more back then) wanted to order in hundreds of copies of the book, (the publisher had sold out and needed to order an emergency print run) …suddenly every journo and producer in town wanted me to talk about the book. Fortunately, I have been in the media for years so I knew how to attract and maximise opportunities but I surely recognised the importance of making the most of media opportunities.
As time went on I became more aware of other authors promoting their books, and experts promoting their work and just how powerful being able to articulate your message really is.
There was one occasion when we interviewed a hypnotherapist who had written a book, their publisher had managed to get them the slot, on mainstream radio, speaking to nine million people, I was thrilled because I love being part of bringing this stuff to the general public, sadly the hypnotherapist and author, who was no doubt a fabulous therapist and excellent author, was a shockingly bad interviewee, he/ she (not saying!) had done zero preparation, was incredibly nervous (that’s understandable) and hadn’t got clarity on their key messages. Even the most basic questions floored them. It was painful.
Fortunately for us, we were pre-recording this interview so it was dropped. Dropped! ….and the potential had been there to sell a cool 35k books…. ouch.
A similar thing happened a few years later and it was at this point that I started to do the work I do now, coaching and inspiring everyone to recognise that ‘You’ are the brand, not your book, your product or service, it’s YOU we want to connect with, and unless you have clarity on your USP, your story, which bits of your work you want to talk about – it’s difficult to connect and to ‘like, know and trust’ you. Being a great interviewee is not rocket science. These are skills that can be learned. You can fake it till you make it (or till you become it).
On one occasion a new author came in and blew it from the off, literally putting her head in her hands after we asked the first question and saying Oh s**t….Thank the Lord that was pre-recorded.
We ended up working together and that author is now regularly on TV and Radio
Surprisingly despite the rise and rise of the key influencer and confident Instagrammer, I had another experience recently where I was shocked to see that an author, who will of course again be nameless, came in to our studio totally unprepared. He / she couldn’t answer even the most basic background question without stumbling and laughing, saying, thank goodness this is a pre-record! Thank goodness indeed. Now with some skilled editing that interview ended up sounding great, but my question is, what was the author doing, not bothering to invest in that opportunity? Why hadn’t they taken the time to think through what they might be asked? To decide what the key points they wanted to get across were, whether there were aspects of the book or their own story they wanted to flag up? Even worse this particular author was accompanied by a press officer from the publishing house whose job it was surely to ensure that their authors were going to do a good job of ‘selling’ the book.
Not everyone is naturally confident speaking in public or in an interview situation. Not everyone finds it easy to form clear and concise statements about their own work. Not all brand owners find it easy to craft their mission statement or elevator pitch. But all of this is possible, and you don’t have to be an excellent ‘orator’ to come across well in an interview, you just have to be authentic, and enthusiastic.
The confidence comes from knowing you are prepared, from pre-empting what the tricky questions might be, and knowing exactly how you will answer them. Start with my post on six classic interview questions you must ask yourself about your brand
Even worse than being nervous while being interviewed, is to be disinterested, and yes, we have interviewed authors who couldn’t really be bothered, and trust me if you sound bored talking about your book you won’t be inspiring people to go and buy it! Nothing is worse than hearing someone who doesn’t sound enthusiastic. Ultimately people do business with those they like know and trust, and you will come across as trustable and likable if you share your story, your information, with passion and authenticity.
I’ve created a PDF document titled ’Be A Great Interviewee’ – sign up here to receive it>>
If you want a ‘speed coaching’ session getting clarity on your USP, and key messages and how best to maximise your media opportunities I can do this as part of a Power Vision call or a VIP session. Click HERE for details>>
I look forward to seeing or hearing you on the air very soon!