This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog PR Nonsense.
Ever since Forrester Research’s 2008 report, How Video Will Take Over The World, marketing and PR pros have been all over the rise of video content, especially since Dr. McQuivey found that just one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words! So, it’s no surprise that the media has caught on to the trend, too. These days, journalists are more frequently conducting remote video interviews with expert sources via Skype, a Google+ Hangout or even FaceTime. But, have marketing and PR firms’ media training services evolved to also incorporate training for these kinds of modern interviews? All too often, firms focus on the phone interview and in-person briefings, but, now, remote video interviews need to be added into the mix as standard. Beyond the interview content and topic messaging, below are five top tips to get spokespeople started when faced with a video interview for the first time!
On a phone interview, it’s easy to simply redial the number if you’re disconnected, but on a recorded video interview, a technical glitch may mean the difference in getting your interview published or not. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure you have an adequate webcam and microphone and that you’ve tested it to avoid any tech failures during the real thing. As part of that, it’s also important to consider the lighting and acoustics so that there aren’t unflattering shadows beneath your eyes or distracting echoes reverberating around the room. Also, be sure to turn off your cell phone and close any notifications that may pop up on your screen during the interview.
With the flexibility many companies afford employees these days to work from home, there’s a high possibility you may be connecting from a home office or remote workspace. In any video situation, but especially in this case, it’s important to consider what’s in the camera’s view behind and to the sides of you. Dirty laundry? A half-finished sandwich? The kids’ playpen? No one wants to see that when you’re trying to present yourself as an expert in your field or on a specific topic.
And, speaking of presenting yourself, it should go without saying to dress professionally, but something that may not be immediately thought of is color choice. Yes, it’s important not to blend into your background, but, even worse is if you disappear altogether and become just a floating head! Some publications superimpose a background with green screen technology, and, even though this may be more common for in-person video interviews, as a rule of thumb, don’t wear green and risk floating-head syndrome.
4. Eye Contact
Eye contact is a key way to show you’re listening and engaged; but, guess what, on a video interview, you don’t want to look at the journalist’s eyes, but, rather, look at the webcam! By looking into the camera lens, this will give the appearance of eye contact. As such, it’s also important to ensure you put the camera at eye level so you’re not causing any double chin action or appearance of closed eyes by looking down, or a giraffe-like neck by straining too far to look up.
5. Body Language
The eyes are only one part of you that’s visible on camera though! Even if you’re making eye contact and are seemingly engaged on that front, the rest of your body can still give off a different vibe. You’ll want to lean forward to show that you’re involved and keep hand gestures to a minimum. This, combined with regular eye contact, is crucial at all times – even if you’re not the one speaking – since the final product may show a split screen or you entirely, even when the journalist is asking questions. Therefore, reactions to questions and occasional nodding can also help. What other tips would you recommend for remote video interviews with media?