10 Virtual Media Interview Tips for Authors and Thought-Leaders

10 Ways to Do Your Best in Virtual Media Interviews

Though the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly prompted many changes in how we communicate and conduct book publicity campaigns, virtual media interviews were happening long before stay-at-home orders forced TV studios to adapt. Replacing the old studio remote interview, we increasingly saw foreign news correspondents reporting via Skype, and it wasn’t uncommon for authors and experts to be interviewed via video-conferencing platforms. It’s easy to see why: travel costs eliminated, studio expenses reduced, and convenience for everyone involved.

So for now, when travel bans and restrictions rule the day, and for the future, as video interviews likely become commonplace, authors, experts, and thought-leaders must understand how to be the best guest possible during a virtual media interview. A great virtual interview can propel a book marketing campaign to new levels of success, as you’ll be able to show other shows how good you are “on air.”

Here are some key tips to be the best virtual guest:

  1. Maximize audio quality. Headsets or earphones with a microphone always produce better audio quality.
  2. Keep your computer [and other electronic devices] quiet! Make sure to enable “do not disturb” on your computer, so the dings and pings of email and other notifications aren’t heard. Screenshot of a virtual media tour as an author makes an appearance. Close all other computer applications so that the videoconferencing platform is the only one running. And don’t forget to silence your phone, Apple Watch, and other personal electronics.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the media’s preferred videoconferencing app. Skype and Zoom might be two of the most popular video platforms, but they are not the only media they rely on. Download the media’s preferred video conferencing service as soon as you have your interview details, be sure to familiarize yourself with the platform’s capabilities, test the audio and video, and hold a test call before sitting down for your interview.
  4. Your webcam is your only focus. It’s tempting to look at yourself or other things on your screen during an interview. Don’t! Focus your eyes only on your webcam. Looking away from it is akin to being on TV and not looking at the host.
  5. Stay plugged in. Don’t do interviews with your laptop or tablet running on battery; it’s just not worth the risk of disappearing during an interview because your battery dies or having to fumble to plug in your computer while being interviewed.
  6. Stay in front of the lights. Simple rule: Lighting directed toward you is good; lights or windows behind you are not.
  7. Silence!  Make no mistake, absolute silence in your home during an interview is essential. There should be not talking, pet sounds, TVs, or noisy appliances in the background. If you have young children, be sure to have another adult entertaining them during the interview… preferably outside!
  8. Own the Internet. Virtual media interviews require consistent, strong Internet connections. When being interviewed, tell everyone else in your home to get offline completely! They should not just be off heavy streaming platforms like Netflix or online games, but off of everything to ensure you have the best possible connection.
  9. Don’t cut your head off.  Keep your webcam at eye level. You don’t want your camera pointed up, so you look like you’re looking down or pointed too low, so you lose your forehead. You want to be as centered with as little space as possible between the top of your head and the top of the screen. 
  10. Be wary of the “hot mic.” As soon as the show you’re appearing on begins, pay attention, and be ready to be interviewed. Don’t talk, brush your hair, or do anything else. “Live times” can be fluid on programs, and you could be on camera before you know it.