How to Develop Your Personal Brand on TV
TV is the ultimate branding experience where all the components of your personal brand blend together in a three-dimensional expression of who you are. From your first contact with the producer or media representative, to the final handshake as you leave the studio after taping, each and every interface provides an opportunity to express your very best.
Whether you’re scheduled to appear on network TV or a local cable station, everything you do, from your first interface with producers, to doing the actual interview, is revealing your personal brand. Regardless of the media venue, professionalism trumps all.
Keep your TV debut in perspective. While your heart may beat uncontrollably when you land your first TV interview, the reality is that your reputation or personal brand is only as good as the last interface anyone had with you. How people experience your personal brand is an ever-evolving experience, not a one-time event. Chances are this first-time experience will not be the last time you’re in the media’s eye!
Unless you’re an A-list celebrity, any inklings of being a high-maintenance guest can potentially jeopardize your opportunity. Everyone is busy; and TV shows have deadlines, policies, and procedures. Do whatever you can to meet the host’s requirements, or else you risk the chance that the whole experience may unravel — and very quickly.
Prepare for your TV debut
If you want to make the best impression during your TV debut, you’ve got homework to do! Here are some ideas for how to get ready:
Use a folder to keep all your notes about your upcoming appearance in one place. This helpful reference reduces stress and serves as a useful resource for future media events.
Listen to and follow all the instructions you receive from your producer or other contact. Ask this person what to wear, what to bring, and any other necessary details.
Make a list of the names, titles, and contact information of everyone you interface with. Take notes after each conversation and note any follow-up items.
Watch several episodes of the show. Note the general format, how the host interacts with guests, conversation patterns, segment lengths, appropriate dress, and so on.
Draft notes around your interview topic. Include key talking points. Keep in mind that your interview may be heavily edited and may turn out differently than expected. Don’t rehearse or memorize anything.
Pack everything you need a day or two prior so that you don’t forget anything. If you’re an author, pack several autographed copies of your book to present to the host. Make sure that you have directions to the studio and its phone number.
Following are tips for ensuring that your hair, clothing, and makeup are appropriate for the interview:
If time permits, have your hair professionally styled prior to taping. This is definitely not the time to experiment with a new hair color or cut. It’s amazing what you can do with a little trim and a lot of hairspray!
Clothing does make the man or woman, especially when it comes to your personal brand. Select garments that sum you up at a glance — those that are on brand for you. Accessories like glasses and jewelry are fine but should be muted so as not to distract viewers. Avoid noisy jewelry like bracelets because the microphones magnify sounds.
Don’t wear patterned clothing and avoid wearing solid black, white, or red because they don’t come across well on camera. Also, avoid wearing clothes that blend in with the background. You may want to bring an extra outfit just in case you decide to do a last-minute wardrobe change.
Wear makeup. Not just for women, makeup application is an essential ingredient to freshen your look, even out skin tones, and make you look your best under the bright lights and camera close-ups. The crew will probably add extra liner under your eyes to make them more visible, and depending on the venue, they may actually do your full makeup.
On the day of the interview
Here’s what to do when the big day arrives:
Warm up your voice on the way to the studio. Sing along with the radio or talk through your key points as you’re driving. It’s a great way to get energized and psyched-up at the same time!
Arrive early so that you have time to acclimate to the studio environment. Doing so also helps you calm any jittery nerves. Introduce yourself and shake hands with staff as these simple gestures decrease stress immediately.
Be prepared for things to change. Much can happen between the time you’re invited as a guest and when you go live. Be flexible and accommodating.
After the show
When your interview is over, you still have a few things to do:
Send the host a handwritten note of thanks for the invitation. Few people send thank-you notes, so you’re certain to stand out.
Immediately write down everything you remember about your experience. Describe the people you met, how you felt, what you enjoyed, the highlights of your interview, and anything that memorializes the experience. You’ll be glad you captured the moment because this material may be usable for a future book, blog posts, or other projects. Also, write down how you can leverage this opportunity to further extend your brand message.
Find out how you can obtain a copy of the interview for your own use. Be mindful of copyright issues and how you’re allowed to use the material. Check with the producer for more information and secure any necessary permission.
Celebrate. While it’s easy to do a self-critique of your interview, instead choose to celebrate your success and the fact you’ve had the opportunity to share and offer value to others.
Above all, keep moving forward. Remember, this is one step on a much longer personal branding journey!