Landed 60 Live TV Interviews Without a Publicist – Here’s How You Can Do It Too
July 2, 2021
6 minutes to read
Opinions expressed by Contractor the contributors are theirs.
It may seem at first that TV is a declining media channel, but the data is somewhat hanging. U.S. networks are frustrated with Nielsen’s media consumption reports not because viewership numbers are dropping, but because consumption metrics on other devices like tablets or phones are not being measured. Are people really watching TV less or are they just watching it on different devices?
For networks, this battle is important insofar as audience figures influence demand from advertisers. But if you’re an entrepreneur, a small business owner, or an expert … you really don’t have to worry about these trends.
Why? Simple: the Perception of someone on TV is still incredibly powerful. As entrepreneurs, we need to find credibility markers that can overcome skepticism in the minds of our prospects. Few marketing tactics do this more effectively than earned media and advertising, and few forms of advertising look better than broadcast television. A live TV interview is certainly good exposure, but a better solution is to grab your clip and incorporate it into your digital marketing efforts.
I have done over 60 live TV interviews over the past three years. And here’s the kicker: I booked all of these appearances myself without the help of a PR agency or publicist. If you’re curious about using TV as a way to boost your authority, but want to know how sausage is made before you dive in, here are four steps you can take to get started.
Related: 5 Ways To Turn A TV Appearance Into Permanent PR For Your Brand
Identify your local target stations
My experience is that of television broadcast in the United States, so I will talk about it here. You must first determine the market or markets closest to you. This handy Station Index link gives you the Top 100 Designated Market Areas (DMAs); find your city or metro area, then note the different broadcasting stations.
Once on the site of a station, you will look for a contact page. Almost all stations have a page like this so that they can receive topical advice. Write down the station’s email address and phone number, then put that information aside.
Before going any further: Know that it is not necessary to have a publicist to get into television. However, this painstaking work is one of the main reasons hiring can help. Publicists do this research to free you up, and seasoned publicists often have personal relationships with producers that can dramatically improve your chances of being booked.
Look for a viable news hook
To make the news, your TV pitch must to be new. You can certainly get started with pitching your story to a TV producer to see if they’ll feature you, but including a timely information hook or awareness day can add spice to your reach.
The first time I did a live TV interview, I discussed smartphone addiction and how online marketing is manipulating us. But the way I added urgency to this pitch was to tie it into National Stress Awareness Week in November. The news hooks create a forcing mechanism for a producer; if they want to reserve your location, they must reserve it now and not “someday”. Think about ways you can connect your expertise to a current or upcoming news hook, and your odds will improve.
If you’re not a big news watcher, consider setting up Google Alerts or Talkwalker Alerts to keep you in the know. I teach all my clients to set up alerts for 10 to 30 terms in their sector so that they can keep abreast of the latest buzz in their sector without being stuck in the news. You can configure these alerts for weekly, daily, or real-time delivery.
Related: How to get media coverage for your business
Present an appropriate segment to their audience
When developing your pitch, it is important to emphasize why your pitch is ideal for the point of sale audience. Why do people want to hear about this topic and why do they want to hear about it now? Sell the story first, then explain why you are the right expert to come and discuss the issue at hand.
Call the TV channel and ask to be connected to a producer. If you log in, give a high-level pitch for your story, then ask if you can send more details in an email. You can also try digging into LinkedIn or using an email address data scraper like Voila Norbert to find the producer’s contact details. Finding the right sitter is important, and sometimes that one step alone makes the difference between being reserved and being ignored.
Follow up on your pitch two to three times over the next few days while the topic is still hot. If your topic is really hot and directly related to the breaking news, a next day or same day follow-up isn’t out of the question, but don’t overdo it if you haven’t heard from after a few follow-ups. .
Nail your interview, then acquire your clip
The television moves quickly; be prepared to rearrange your schedule for a potential opportunity the same day or the next. Go over the basics of media training before you go live. I like to memorize a few stats related to the topic of the interview and then lead with those stats to make myself comfortable. As an added bonus, stats and research are a great way to appear more authoritative.
The last step is honestly the most important step of all – especially if you are an online entrepreneur – and that is to get a copy of your clip. The TV producer who booked you might be able to provide you with a link, but if it’s too busy, I use a service like TV Video Clips as a built-in security. For $ 60, you can get an HD copy of your clip if you order it within 30 days of your appearance.
Please keep in mind that reposting your clip in its entirety for the purpose of mass distribution is prohibited. However, you can share still images or short snippets of appearances and integrate them into your marketing and website to give your audience a wow effect.
Related: 6 rules for making your first TV appearance a success
Television can be a daunting medium, but once you master the process, optics are hard to beat. Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to booking your first or next interview and reaping the rewards for years to come.