(By Randy Lane) We’ve been flooded with coverage of the Meghan and Harry bombshell interview. However, there’s much to be learned from Oprah’s masterful interview skills.
Pre- and post-teasing
CBS managed to hype the interview with teases that created attention and mystery without giving away the stunning reveals. Oprah increased the audience past the 17.1 million TV broadcast by saving enticing nuggets to run the next day on CBS This Morning and OprahMag.com. That is part of the beauty of taping and editing interviews.
- Implement major teases for big guest interviews a day or two before it airs. Tease the interview at the same time it will run since most people listen at the same time based on their daily schedule.
- The most effective way to build cume and TSL with interviews is breaking them into smaller chunks over two or three segments. At the end of each segment, deliver a must-listen tease around the best upcoming question.
- Increase audience exposure by replaying it in a different hour the following day and capture brief clips to run in promos in all dayparts.
Rather than badgering Meghan and Harry immediately for not answering an emotional or provocative question, Oprah brilliantly circled back later with the same question, sometimes twice. To Harry, “You said you love your brother and always will love your brother. You didn’t tell me what the relationship is now, though.”
Oprah let the conversation breathe
When Meghan was describing her suicidal thoughts, Oprah didn’t rush to fill the silence. She listened and let the emotion of the moment play out.
Oprah is an active listener
Prep! Prep! Prep! Then, write out or bullet point your questions, so you’ll have them in mind. Preparation enables you to be an active listener and to follow up by digging deeper with another related question or with better commentary. Instead of having a boring Q&A session, you’ll have a captivating conversation.
Oprah asked when, how, and comparison questions
Open-ended questions like “when” takes the person to a scene and setting that will likely prompt a story or a longer answer. “How” questions like, “How were you told to handle tabloids or gossip?” accomplish the same. “Comparison” questions also bring out stories, “Kate was praised for cradling her baby bump, but the headline about you said, ‘Meghan can’t keep hands off her baby bump for pride or vanity.”
Oprah took provocative questions off herself and attributed them to stories online and in the tabloids (“There were rumors about you being Hurricane Meghan — about you making Kate Middleton cry?”).
CBS’s big mistake
Although CBS raked in about $20 million dollars in ad revenue, there were widespread complaints from cable-free households who couldn’t find the interview.
- Stream-listening to radio is surging. Be sure to frequently message your audience on how to access your station/show across all digital platforms.