Monday’s blog post hinted about the importance of sound bites.  Getting your sound bites in order is essential for those media savvy enough to invite quality media interviews to take their stories far and wide. Over the weekend, I engaged in a rather compelling online conversation with Robert Middleton about the value do-it-yourself publicity actions can deliver for a growing business with proper message planning and preparation. You can read that exchange at this specific link.

Whether or not DIY publicity pays off has a huge amount to do with proper message planning and interview preparation. That is why, today, I am honored to feature as a guest blogger Susan Harrow to Authentic Visibility.

PR Secrets Founder and CEO Susan Harrow

PR Secrets Founder and CEO Susan Harrow

Susan Harrow is a respected media coach, marketing expert and author of Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul (HarperCollins), The Ultimate Guide to Getting Booked on Oprah, Get Into O Magazine and Get a 6 Figure Book Advance. Publisher’s Weekly called her book “Sell Yourself” a “Rumi-meets-Seth Godin public relations handbook.” Hundreds of people who’ve read it call it their “Publicity Bible.”

Her clients include Fortune 500 CEOs to celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs and best-selling authors and people in unusual professions like a voodoo priestess and leaders in banning racism, who she helps to double or triple their businesses with PR. Dozens of her clients have appeared on Oprah, 60 minutes, CNN, CBS, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Donny Deutsch, and in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Parade, People, Vogue, Elle, O, Forbes, Time, Inc. and more.

She has been featured, profiled or quoted in USA Today, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Woman’s Day, Ladies’ Home Journal, Women’s Wear Daily, Entrepreneur, Salon Magazine, Pink, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Orlando Sentinel, and Investor’s Business Daily, and on NPR, national/syndicated TV and radio.

Take it away Susan Harrow!

Turn Media Interviews into Opportunities & Sales

Many people don’t understand what sound bites are. They don’t know how to create sound bites that sell. Reporters and radio and TV producers want guests who are clever, entertaining or quippy. They consider the interview a success if you are succinct and sassy. But while that may make a pleasant interview, and please TV and radio hosts, it typically does nothing for your reputation, your opportunities, or your sales. In other words, you probably won’t get the results you want.

I have one client who is a fantastic guest who has been on numerous national TV shows. She makes everyone laugh and have a great time. But have those interviews sold books or gotten her higher speaking fees. No. Although she’s a polished guest, she still has a lot to learn. Her need to be liked has eclipsed her true north goals.

Remembering to keep the end in mind will help you stay on track. Before every interview review your intentions and what you want to cover that will get you the results you’ve set out for yourself.

You want to develop sound bites that speak to who you are, what you do and how well you do it. Sound bites are the essential messages that will create sales and recognition. They consist of anecdotes, analogies, stories, one-liners, and facts that you can speak in 10-30 seconds. They should be singly focused on what you want your audience to know. To turn media interviews into sales here are 3 things you can do.

1. Incorporate Your Past into Your Present Experience.

Camus says, “We are the sum of our choices.” We are curious about how your childhood dreams have influenced the career you’ve chosen. Your past often has hidden predictors to your future interests and life decisions. If you don’t want to go back as far as childhood then go back in your professional career. Sarah Newton, The UK’s Top Teen Coach, said that when she was a juvenile corrections officer what she heard from teenagers most was that they didn’t feel heard, understood or respected. “The most important thing a parent can do is listen,” says Newton.

Often sound bites like Newton’s seem simple. But it takes work to distill your ideas down to their essence. It’s the unadorned statement that is often the most powerful.

Another way to link the past to present is to demonstrate how your passion drives your profession. “People think I am disciplined. It is not discipline. It is devotion. There is a great difference,” says Opera star Luciano Pavarotti. Choose the words that show your devotion. We want to be involved with people who sparkle when they speak.

2. Include Client Successes.

Many of my media coaching clients don’t want to brag. They believe it’s unseemly and gauche. I encourage them not to talk about themselves, instead speak to how their product or service has impacted their clients or customers.

Tell a story that centers on that success. Marty Friedman, seminar Leader and author of “Straight Talk for Men About Marriage,” says, “An attorney who came to one of my seminars said he didn’t really think he got much out of it-until he got home and his wife wanted to have sex with him-for the first time in months.”

“I guess I must have learned a little something,” the attorney admitted with a big smile.

Friedman tells a very succinct story with a powerful punch line. Doesn’t this sound bite convince you that his methods are so potent that they work on non-believers and difficult people like attorneys?

3. Show Your Suffering.

The people I’ve known who have suffered deeply are funny, sarcastic, and wise, but not saccharin. Sweetsy talk about love, gratitude, thanks and understanding comes off as facile. So much of what we hear in the media today is shallow talk about accepting things the way they are, often coming from people who don’t.

Love, understanding and forgiveness aren’t sickly tender. True sentiments frequently come out of bitterness, hopelessness and heartache. We trust those people who are vulnerable and have suffered or who have failed over and over again and are willing to share their insights – without plumage. We want to see the underbelly of your beautiful self. Don’t be afraid to show it. We’ll love you even more for standing out and being real.

Dr. Vicki Rackner, CEO of Medical Bridges and Medical Editor of the Hope Health Letter which reaches over 3 million people says that at age 40 she made a radical choice: to close her private practice to be with her son, Meir. “As the operating room door closed, another opened. I can’t tell you that everyone lived happily ever after because we’re just at `once upon a time.'”

In closing her business, the choice she made to to forgo surgery in favor of becoming a patient advocate, goes against the grain of what society might deem is proper for a board certified surgeon with a full practice. You know right away that she is thoughtful and has tremendous empathy and insight. As a patient wouldn’t you want her on your side? I know I would.

Sound bites, speaking in condensed language to convey your points, is an art to be practiced daily in and out of media interviews until it becomes a natural way of speaking that you can do for every media interview.

If you incorporate your past into your present experience, include stories of your client successes, and show your suffering during an interview you’ll be perceived as an expert, increase your sales, and develop a following all while demonstrating your humanity.

Download the free teleclass “How to Become a 60 Second Sound Bite Genius” to learn how to create sound bites that reporters and audiences love, avoid committing the 3 deal breakers that automatically eliminate most guests from getting on national TV shows, tell captivating stories to attract media and inspire audiences to buy at this link.

Thanks Susan, for helping Authentic Visibility readers understand how to turn media opportunities into business building opportunities.

Later this week, we’ll hear from Media Skills Training Founder Lorraine Howell, who has even more to contribute on the subject of making the most of media opportunities. Stay tuned.