Media Training for Franchise Executives | 5 Tips to Ace a National TV Interview

The majority of national TV interviews these days happen at a moment’s notice. Your PR firm calls you and says that CNBC or Fox Business wants you to be on one of their business shows as a guest tonight.

You quickly have to book your travel arrangements and re-schedule everything else you had planned on your calendar. Before you know it, you’re sitting in the green room, getting your hair and make-up done, and the TV producer walks in and says “you’ll be on in 5.” That doesn’t leave you a lot of time to prepare before each individual interview, which is why it’s important to have a general game plan.

Here are five media training tips to keep top of mind heading into any national TV interview:

  • Smile, you’re on camera – Try to keep a smile on your face throughout the interview, but particularly when the anchors first introduce you. If you’re conducting a satellite interview, it can feel awkward smiling at no one… you’re just staring at a camera. But, remember, a blank expression does not fare well on camera, whether your interview is in-studio or via satellite.
  • Key messaging – Be prepared with three key points you want to get across during the interview that differentiate your company from the competition and find a way to weave them into your dialogue with the anchor. Additionally, state the name of your company and the word “franchise” whenever possible in a natural way to get the point across that your company offers a business opportunity.
  • Be prepared to answer curveball questions – The anchor’s questions “should” play directly into your brand’s key messaging and the company news you’re being interviewed on, however, there is always a possibility that the anchor could ask high-level general questions about topical macroeconomic issues such as commodities, unemployment, food inflation, the mood of the consumer, health care or any other timely current events – so be prepared.
  • Do your homework – Watch the show you will appear on to get a feel of the format, the host’s personality and nature of the segment. All show formats are different. It’s good to know ahead of time if the show will be relatively relaxed and conversational — what we refer to as “softball” interviews—or if it will be a straight-up, fast-paced business interview.
  • Visuals – Visuals really bring a TV segment to life. Offer to bring product in-studio (if you’re a food concept and your product is easy to transport) and/or tell the producers that you can e-mail them photos and B-Roll footage via HighTail to feature on the screen during the interview.

Now go knock that interview out of the park!


Written by Debra Vilchis

Debra is an experienced public relations professional with more than 15 years’ experience in franchise industry PR. As COO of Fishman PR, she is responsible for training, management and oversight of teams and accounts and ensuring overall agency best practices. Debra also manages crisis communications for the agency’s clients and conducts media interview training workshops for franchisors and franchisees. Debra’s favorite things in life are Sloppy Joes, the Chicago Blackhawks and stand-up comedy. In her spare time, she teaches first grade at a local religious school and hangs out with her husband and three amazing children, Cassidy, Marlee and Charlie.

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