August is an important month in the world of daytime television: summer’s broadcast hiatus is coming to an end and staff are back from vacation. That means producers are looking for new talent, new experts, new ideas and most importantly new content to help boost ratings. This could be a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase their expertise and get some publicity for their start-up. While securing a broadcast interview is no easy task, here are some tips that can help you land an interview opportunity.
Producers receive upwards of a hundred pitch emails a day so make sure that your pitch stands out:
Did I mention visuals? The last thing a television producer wants to put on the air is a talking head – unless you’re a celebrity. So if you’re pitching an expert segment, an upcoming event, or a new food truck, consider offering the producer images, b-roll (that’s the biz lingo for video footage), or even bringing exciting pieces to help sell your story. Can you get your food truck to the television studio? Can a reporter come visit your stage production for a behind the scenes look? Don’t bombard the audience with too much, but just enough to pique curiosity driving the end viewer to search for more information on your product or service.
Think of your pitch as a mutually beneficial opportunity for the show and for your business. Producers are trying to put together a show that will gain and retain viewers, which will ultimately help boost ratings and keep the show on the air (which also means the producer continues to have a job). Think of why your pitch is going to keep viewers from changing the channel. The more creative, the better.
While some news producers have to focus on what’s happening in the world that day, others are hired to be thinking ahead for relevant topics and experts they can find to help put together special programming around an event or time of year. If you know you’re launching a holiday-themed product consider pitching six to eight weeks ahead of the holiday season, or try and time your pitch when shows are doing holiday giveaways. If you can afford to give away free product in exchange for a segment, do it! If you’re pitching a morning show or daytime talk show, the more time you give, the better. Try reaching out 6-8 weeks ahead of your target launch date as a rule of thumb. If they come back and say they’re not that far in their planning yet, follow up a few weeks later. Whatever you do, don’t leave your pitch to the last minute.
This doesn’t just mean the end viewer, but also the hosts and the producers. What would excite and entice a host and/or producer to have you on their show? Have they recently tweeted about a product they love and you happen to sell? Are you offering a tutoring service and know the producer or host has kids? Knowing what some of their personal interests are is a sure way to help draw them in. Maybe you’re offering a service or product that you think would be beneficial to them. Try sending some samples they can try ahead of time and follow up to see if they liked the service/product and if they would consider having your spokesperson come to speak about it on-air. Are you offering something timely that could help the general public? For example, are you an accounting service provider that could provide helpful tips around tax season?
A producer may come up with a variation of what you initially pitched. At the end of the day, they are the professionals and are trying to turn your pitch into the best possible segment. A bit of back and forth will only make for a better segment. Don’t be offended. This is the norm.
In closing, securing an interview on a broadcast program can be very beneficial to enhancing your business. It also costs significantly less than purchasing a commercial spot. If your business does not have the internal resources to handle this kind of promotional campaign, consider engaging a public relations consultant or agency that can do it for you. At the end of the day, the professionals are trained to deliver strategic communications and they spend hours building relationships with media to efficiently deliver results for their clients.
Written By: Ginger Bertrand, Owner of GAB Communications, Toronto, ON
About Ginger: Ginger A. Bertrand is an award–winning publicist and the owner of GAB Communications, a Toronto-based boutique agency offering strategic communication services to entertainment and lifestyle clients. GAB Communications specializes in unit publicity for film, television and digital content; personal brand publicity for celebrities, up-and-comers and experts; and public relations support for small lifestyle businesses. You can connect with GAB Communications on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.