10 Tips for Mastering Your Television Skype Interview

(Editor’s note:  Cam is one of The Hodges Partnership’s media relations superstars. Much of his recent work has been focused on international media for clients like ChildFund International.  This post is a result of his recent success.) -JN

by Cameron McPherson

One of the neatest things about technology advances is how it lets news organizations connect with sources and experts more quickly. With Skype, Google+ and other video calling tools, news networks like CNN and MSNBC can get an expert on the air in a matter of minutes.

ChildFund’s Mark Dasco does a Skype interview with CNN International after last year’s tsunami in The Philippines.

ChildFund’s Mark Dasco does a Skype interview with CNN International after last year’s tsunami in The Philippines.

A video interview via Skype or Google+ is much like a traditional studio interview. There are some extra things to keep in mind though. When we’re coordinating Skype interviews for clients, here are some of the tips we share:

Do not look at your screen: You will look weird. Instead, look at your computer’s camera, so it appears to viewers that you are looking at them. Put a bright sticker or another marker to draw your eyes to the camera.

Know your talking points: Just because you’re behind a computer and not in the studio, does not mean you can cheat by including notes on your monitor. This is broadcast television – the big leagues! If your eyes are reading from the screen, it will look awkward to viewers.

Turn off notifications: Remember how I told you to look at the camera? Turn off email and other desktop notifications that may pop up and distract you during your interview. Also, silence cell phones to avoid unwanted background noise.

Create a backdrop: This sounds like common sense, but if you’re doing an interview from your office, be sure to clean up. It’s also an opportunity to include organization signage in the background. If you have a poster or sign with the organization’s logo, put it behind you.

Practice: Don’t wait until you’re live on CNN to see how you look on the video feed. Practice with a friend or coworker to make sure you and your surroundings look top notch. Test lighting to make sure it’s not too dark or bright. It’s also a chance to practice looking at the camera, something that may not feel “natural.”

Wardrobe: The safest color to wear for television interviews is blue. In general, do not wear white, black, red or patterns, and avoid colors that blend into the background.

Headphones: Ideally, you’ll be able to hear the anchor without the use of headphones, but have them around just in case. Use a pair of discreet, white or black headphones, if needed.

Reduce background noise: Turn the television off. Not only will it create background noise, but the short delay can distract interviewees. Additionally, be aware of other outside sounds that could interfere. Closing your office door is always a good idea.

A Professional Skype username: While it’s unlikely your username will be displayed on the screen, the producer will need to connect with you beforehand. Nothing takes away from an expert’s credibility like “BarbieGirl99.” I suggest a username with your full name and organization.

Keep IT on standby: This is technology you’re dealing with – it will break when you need it most! Make sure you have someone around who can fix any issues that pop up.

Producers will often call and do a sound check before broadcast to make sure the connection is solid. Feel free to ask any questions or concerns you may have at this time. But, remember: you’re an expert and you’re going to do great!

Do you have any tips for the perfect Skype interview? Please share in the comments below.

A great cause: Our first official Facebook landing page

WARNING:  This post is highly promotional both for HDS and our client.  But once you read it you’ll understand why I posted and why you should at least take a look.

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Hodges Digital Strategies’ first “official” Facebook custom landing page, executed for ChildFund International’s “100 Days of Yes” campaign.

While we have already completed a number of similar clients with our new partner Sonali Shetty, this is the first one launched under the new HDS banner and we can’t be more excited and proud.

ChildFund International is a tremendous Richmond-based organization through which you can sponsor a child in some of the poorest regions in the world, providing food and materials to help make life easier for them and their families.

The “100 Days of Yes” campaign is a drive to focus sponsorship activities and get as many new sponsors as we can over the 1oo day period.

The new landing page is designed not only to highlight the campaign, but provides a way for existing sponsors to share pictures of their sponsored children and post some thoughts about that experience.  Folks can page through the photo album to see the pictures and the posts, and of course they can become a fan of ChildFund’s Facebook page to receive future updates, etc.

We’re proud to be working with ChildFund on this campaign with PR provided by THP and social media by HDS and it’s a great example of the combined services these two companies offer under the Hodges umbrella.   We invite you to become a sponsor of a child and a fan of the page and to return back often to look at the picture gallery.

We’re also proud to offer other cost-effective services for non-profits and small businesses who are looking to expand their reach on Facebook.  Here’s a link to learn more.

We’ll be back later to report back on the success of the campaign.  Thanks for indulging this promotional post.

%d bloggers like this: