When the media contacts you, respond immediately!
  • Nine tips for media interviews. How and why I was interviewed on CTV’s Pattie Lovett-Reid’s show.

    October 08, 2012

    9 tips for Media Interviews. How and why I was interviewed on CTV’s Pattie Lovett-Reid Show

    Now I can add to my profile – “As Seen On CTV” (Earlier this year in “The Toronto Star” was added)

    By Maureen McCabe

    Thanksgiving is the time of year to gather with family and friends and to reflect on and rejoice for all that is good and abundant. For our American friends, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated in October because it’s cold in the North and the crops are harvested sooner! For me, there was much to celebrate and be grateful for this year as my first TV interview as a Marketing Consultant aired on Friday evening, October 6th.

    I was excited and absolutely thrilled when I heard that I was selected to appear on CTV in my capacity as a Small Business and Start-up expert. (And I say this with humility).

    Here’s my story – behind the story!

    I was contacted by a 20-something year old rising CTV producer, Caitlin. The reason I reference her age is that Caitlin did what most young people do these days. In addition to using “keywords” (what you type into Google when doing any search) she further researched my business using social media sites before making contact with me. Caitlin left a phone message and within minutes sent an email. Following, I have included her email for two reasons: the subject line was clear and she provided a phone number for follow-up.

    Subject Line: CTV interview request


    I am writing from CTV News Channel in Toronto. I am working for The Pattie Lovett-Reid Show. In an upcoming episode we are looking at how to get a small business off the ground. More specifically, for it to have an online presence. We would like to set up an interview with someone who can walk through the steps involved. The interview would be tomorrow.

    You can reach me at 416-xxx-xxxx.


    TIP 1:  Media PR

    Whenever the media contacts you, drop whatever you are doing and return the call immediately. If an email is sent and it also includes a phone number – contact them via both phone and email. You may have the opportunity to be interviewed but you likely aren’t the only company being contacted. Perhaps a response is required about a negative story about your company – yikes! Regardless, responsiveness is key!

    In March, I had the luck o’ the Irish when Alyshah Hasham, a business reporter from The Toronto Star contacted me about a U.S. small business start-up whose video was going viral. I have also blogged about that interview with a wee bit of Irish humour. How I got found by The Toronto Star.  Three YouTube tips to leverage the power of social media.

    Marketing makes the horse thirsty and sales makes the horse drink the water. In this case, I wanted to provide the most refreshing water to close the sale – that is be chosen for the coveted interview.

    TIP 2:  Customers buy based on needs and wants – producers do too.

    During our conversation, I probed so as to understand the nature of the show. Because the emphasis of the interview would be on start-ups and online marketing, I only provided concrete examples of my experience and client success with start-ups. Learn more about effective need-based selling and communications skills – it’s not all about you by reading my blog.

    TIP 3: Dress for Success (Plus hair, make-up, and a manicure!)

    Imagine the thrill when a few hours later Caitlin called to advise that I was the chosen one. Now I knew how Moses felt! I was pleased, okay let’s just say that I was ecstatic and immediately called my dad to share the good news.

    Like any woman I knew that I needed a new outfit to “look and feel” my best and ran to the mall. Well not literally. I drove quickly while calling hands free (there’s a smart law and big fine in most Canadian provinces about dialling while driving) my hair stylist with an urgent. “Please squeeze me in tomorrow afternoon for an appointment, pleassssssssse!”

    “Why did I need a new outfit?” my dad inquired which was echoed by some male colleagues when I told them the great news? Men! The host, Pattie Lovett-Reid dresses well, wears bright colours, and is always coordinated. I purchased two suits – yes two! I didn’t know which colour she would be wearing and didn’t want to clash with her. Imagine me wearing pink and her red that would have been catastrophic for the viewers’ eyes.

    TIP 4:  Powerful Phrases

    How did I prepare for the interview? I prayed, seriously – and I planned, more then what I was going to wear. During the interview, there were four key messages that were important for me to deliver to help start-ups and small business owners on how to market their business without them breaking the bank.

    • To be successful you need a marketing strategy and plan – a roadmap.
    • Key must-know tips for a great homepage – sharing candidly the mistake that I made on my first site. You’ll have to watch the video to learn what “must go” in the top right corner of your site.
    • Video is an alternative to a website for start-ups.
    • Seven reasons why you should showcase your business with a marketing video.

    As a pianist I know that no matter how the performance goes you always end with a final chord and a big smile. My concluding phrase, if I could somehow squeeze it in during the interview was that marketing is not an expense – it generates profits.

    TIP 5: Drink water with a straw

    On set with the lights pounding down, I had to remove my jacket. My brain began to wander, if this two-piece suit for tax purposes was my marketing uniform, would the jacket still be tax deductible? I kept on repeating to myself “Maureen focus, focus!”

    It’s not unusual to be thirsty or have a dry throat while on TV. Patti paid me a compliment when she saw my straw and commented that I was a PRO! For other helpful tips read my blog, Top 10 Tips for a Great Video Shoot.

    NOTE: I added a post-script (P.S.) to those 10 tips. TIP 11: Find out if your hands will be on camera – if yes, get a manicure. I didn’t realize that they would film mine while demonstrating how to use Google’s free keyword research tool. Had I known, I could have added it as yet another legitimate business expense.

    TIP 6:  The show must go on!

    Over a year ago, I was in a car accident and still experience the pain of whiplash. I had been in more than usual pain over the past couple of weeks and requested that the appointment for the next round of nerve blocker injections be moved up by one week. I didn’t feel I could call the doctor’s office to reschedule the urgently requested appointment since they had just confirmed it hours earlier. So, the doctor’s appointment and the interview would be on the same day.

    Five hours before the interview, I had 14 nerve block injections (essentially, a local anaesthetic), then managed to have my hair done, changed clothes, and had a wire (microphone) inserted beneath my dress and through my underwear, as if done by magic – all whilst having a numb neck. Why do you think I am sharing such personal information? Did you notice during the interview the odd hesitation or two – perhaps not but I did.

    TIP 7:  Promote the show – before and after

    I alerted my closest friends to the broadcast, a few offered to record it on their PVR. I only own a VCR/DVD player and that wasn’t going to help. I updated my LinkedIn, Facebook (personal and business), tweeted, and Google Plus business page. Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide were waiting with anticipation to watch the show. Because Justin Trudeau announced that he was running for Liberal leader, The Patti Lovett-Reid Show was pre-empted. If you ever thought that I would vote for him – you’re wrong, this was the clincher!

    After the show aired, I tweeted a thank you to Pattie on both my dad’s and my behalf, a grateful Toronto Marketing consultant.

    I was curious, how many marketing companies were approached? I called Caitlin, the up and coming CTV producer to find out. It was 6-10 – more than I expected, but I wasn’t surprised that not all had responded or in a timely manner. After reading this blog, they will likely follow Tip 1.

    TIP 8:  Importance of an immediate response

    As a professional, your voicemail should be updated daily – no excuses. All calls and emails should be responded to promptly, but as business owners working late hours and some weekends it’s easier said than done. Sometimes we’re just stretched too thin. In the case of the media, you now know that you must respond within hours!

    A client of mine, Toronto Psychotherapist, Allen Fraser has been contacted twice this year for two interviews. He believes it’s due to his website and marketing video, produced by yours truly, seriously. You can read his glowing testimonial.

    Allen responded immediately the first time and was interviewed for the 6:00 p.m. news. Great visibility and credibility for his practice. The second time, he didn’t respond quickly and felt very guilty telling me about the missed opportunity. In fact, the journalist called him the next day still wanting to interview him. But that’s okay – we’re human beings first and business people second. Allen has taught me that we have to learn to be more gentle with ourselves – and no, I’m not his client yet!

    TIP 9:  How to promote any TV interview

    The show aired, I got to watch it online – once or twice… okay about a half dozen times! I have updated my website, added it to my homepage and video gallery, have written this scintillating blog, emailed clients and prospective clients, and the list continues! Whenever a prospective client contacts me, I always inquire how they found me. Do you ask this question? This is a topic for another blog.

    Now I can also ask “Did you see me online or live on The Pattie Lovett-Reid Show?

    Thank you Pattie and the CTV team for this wonderful opportunity to share my knowledge and to assist helping Canadian business owners and start-ups. In addition, I would like to thank you for the publicity it has brought to McCabe Marketing!

    And to the readers of this blog, written by a demure, reticent marketing consultant – here’s the link to view all of the videos in my video gallery.

    If you would like more information about how you can increase your sales leads, remember. A picture is worth a 1000 words. A minute of video is worth 1.8 million viewers. A TV interview is phenomenal for your business profile. Find out how right here!

    If you have a question or comment about this blog, please write it below. It will help Google with a nudge ‘n a wink to move me up the page. Thanks!

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  1. Sean Cooper, Professional Freelance Editor, Writer12:29am,

    Excellent TV interview full of useful tips for building your business on a limited budget. I’ve already implemented some of your tips like adding my contact information up top and I think my web page has improved already. Great advice!

  2. Pattie Lovett-Reid, CTV host04:11pm,

    Maureen, this is a terrific blog and so honest. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was you came on the show. I had no idea you went to so much effort and I’m blown away. It was my lucky day. Anyone interested in further information from Maureen I blogged about our discussion and it is posted on our website.

    Maureen I look forward to having you on the show again – plus you already have the new outfit. Never worry about clashing with me – the interview is about – YOU! Thanks Pattie

  3. Janos Molnar, Inventor04:55pm,

    Great stuff, you looked and spoke fabulously. It proves that marketing (yourself, your client or a product) is art AND a lot of effort.

  4. Rick Shea, Marketing Effectiveness Consultant07:33am,

    Well done, Maureen! I thought you came across as an authority on the subject and you expressed yourself very well, concisely, with the right amount of confidence. You also provided good, usable advice.

  5. Scott Ground, Small Business Starter01:33pm,

    Love the video, Maureen! You provided me with some amazing marketing concepts that I’ll be incorporating in my web-site. Looking forward to the outcome. Thanks again! Scott

  6. Shayesteh04:51pm,

    Easier said than done!
    Your interview was insightful and useful. Thanks.

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