Landing a TV interview isn't about who you know; it's about offering the right stuff.
Whether it's a national business show or a local lifestyle segment, television coverage offers credibility and exposure that's hard to get elsewhere. For businesses looking to build their brand, getting a TV interview or story on your company can be a significant marketing boost. But securing this type of broadcast coverage can be elusive if you don't know what producers and reporters are looking for.
I worked in television news for more than 10 years before making the leap to public relations in 2002. Since then, I've helped countless companies land television interviews, from major network talk shows to TV newscasts in top markets.
If you want to get on TV, make sure your pitch has these five critical components:
How does your company or expertise relate to what's happening in the news today? Look for ways to attach your business to current topics. In TV this is often referred to as a "tie-in." Whether you're latching on to an important news story or a pop culture trend, relevancy is key.
Timeliness is critical in TV. Why is this a story now as opposed to six months ago or six months from now? Answering that question will make sure your pitch to TV shows offers timeliness. You'll notice this is an important aspect if you watch experts being interviewed in TV segments. That's why the accountant is on TV in the weeks leading up to Tax Day to talk about preparation tips, or why the travel agent is on right before spring break to offer an inside look at the best flight deals.
3. Point of view
If you're asking media outlets to feature you, you'd better have something to say. This is especially important for thought leaders looking to be interviewed on their area of expertise. How is your perspective unique? Find ways to make your voice distinct.
4. Viewer benefit
There's no doubt that getting on TV offers great promotional aspects for your business. But producers aren’t concerned with boosting your company. They want to offer their own viewers substance and information. That’s why every pitch to a producer should offer what’s called “viewer benefit.” What will viewers of the show get out of your interview or story? This could mean you’re offering up insight and tips on an important topic or providing a service to the community.
5. Visual aspects
Because television is a visual medium, TV shows are obsessed with making sure every story has something to show. This could mean interesting video or show-and-tell props for an interview segments. If your business is especially visual, you’ll want to highlight that to encourage coverage.