Remote video interviews are becoming the new normal as newsrooms remain closed or socially distanced and as content shifts even further to online distribution. That doesn’t mean you have to write off the television or video interview. As an agency, we are preparing our clients to do remote interviews via video for the foreseeable future.
In fact, it is working to our advantage because many of the interactions that would have otherwise been phone calls can now be done via video, which highlights a personal connection. There are several ways to prepare to succeed. You need only wrap your head around what makes a great storytelling interview. Once you have a good angle, think about how the video presents the story.
Set Yourself Up
Set yourself up to succeed by dedicating a space to your interviews and purchasing some video and lighting equipment that upgrades your appearance online. If you already have an interesting background, this can be as simple as setting up a tripod and making sure the light is good. You want the light focused on your face. Further, make sure you are taking the video from a high angle, not a low one.
Not unlike traditional media training, pay attention to what you wear on camera and how you deliver your answers. Most, if not all, of the same principles apply.
This is easy to do for clients. One thing we’ve done is a video audit where we do a video call and assess what needs to be improved. While most interviews can be done in your home or office, there are still some that work better from a studio format. Bespoke studio setups can still be arranged safely. Many of the studios that otherwise do satellite media tours are offering space for interviews.
Because of a decreased demand for shared space and increased demand for video interview spaces, you can also check with local coworking spots to see if they can accommodate you. They often have socially distanced and safe spots to do an interview.
Simply doing a Google search for “film and TV studio for hire near me” pulled up more than 10 spots within five miles of my office. Don’t be afraid to invest in a little professionalism — it will pay off as your resulting interviews look and feel persuasive to watch.
Last but not least, set up close to the value in your story. If you’re telling a story about animals, be near animals. If you’re telling a story about a product, show viewers how it gets made or packaged.
Provide Other Visuals
One characteristic that makes straight video interviews awkward is that they do not cut away to other visuals that tell the story. Even if the information is interesting, staring at someone the entire time makes it hard for a viewer to stay focused.
Prepare some segment-ready videos and content to share with a television producer. These can be background footage or presentation materials.
If you’re not working with a producer or a more sophisticated newsroom, you can cut away to visuals yourself by using professional video-calling software like Zoom. For a high-profile media interview, it’s worth hiring a visuals producer to create some of these for you. On the spot, you can use graphics programs like Canva to do it yourself, but again, it all needs to be in keeping with the quality and tenor of the story you’re trying to tell. Our team is skilled at setting this up and managing it for clients on the back end, so they just have to be prepared for the interview questions. However, it is not difficult to create a professional result with a few attractive slides, videos or photos.
Practice Makes Perfect
Especially if you’re showcasing your own cut-away graphics, you need to practice. “Practice makes perfect” is a popular saying for a reason — it’s true. Not unlike any other media training, run through everything more than a few times before going live. The more complicated your presentation or the information you’re sharing, the more you need to practice.
Nothing about telling a story to the media has changed in principle; we just need to think about how we can present ourselves and clients in the best light using new tools.
Here’s a bonus suggestion: Save all of this new video footage. Take advantage of your new ability to do great videos, and make more of your marketing and sales video-based. People aren’t going to be getting together as often, so finding ways to remain affable and provide a personalized experience is going to be very important.