Small Business Owner Tips: How to Talk to the Media

By Rieva Lesonsky

Big ideas blog small business owner tipsYou’ve just found out some exciting news: You’re going to have your first television or radio interview. Being interviewed on television, radio or for a webcast is a big opportunity for a small business owner—but can also be nerve-wracking, especially if you’ve never done it before.

Take it from me (I’ve been interviewed tons of times): It does get easier. To calm your nerves the first time, try these tips:


Know what you’re getting into.

Before the interview find out:

  • How long the interview will last.
  • What kind of questions you’ll be asked (sometimes you can get them in advance, or they might even ask you to supply some questions).
  • Who will interview you?
  • Who’s watching or listening (audience demographics)?
  • Will there be other guests?
  • Is this a call-in show?
  • What to wear for a TV interview. (Forbes has some great tips on this.)
  • Where will the interview take place (in studio? At your business? Over the phone?)

Have a plan.

Know what you want to gain from the interview, whether that’s promoting your business’s tax preparation services to the show’s audience of small business owners, letting the community know about your restaurant’s locally sourced menu items, or spreading the word about an upcoming event you’re hosting at your business. By having a purpose, you’ll be better able to direct the conversation.

Prepare some talking points.

You don’t want to sound like a robot, but you do want to keep some key points in mind. For instance, if you’re promoting an upcoming tax preparation seminar at your accounting business, you’ll want to make sure you mention the time, place and date of the event; what the event covers; and where listeners or viewers can go or call to find out more. 


If you’re nervous about being interviewed, practice in front of the mirror or (better still) have a friend record you and play it back. Once you identify any flaws, work on fixing them. Check out Linda Lovitch’s video on how to improve your speaking voice for radio.

For a TV show, be sure to ask about the visuals.

For instance, most shows will give you guidelines about how to dress and whether they will do your makeup (yes, even men need makeup on air). If you want to demonstrate or display a product, ask whether you’ll be able to do so.

For a radio show,

try smiling while you’re talking to bring energy into your voice. If you’re being interviewed over the phone, standing up can help energize you, too.

Promote it.

Ask when the show will air, and where customers can get more information or watch/listen to the show online. Post links to the show on your website and social media channels.

For help with generating repeat sales, read, “Deliver. Satisfy. Repeat.