With so many people going live on social media, much has been made of the democratization of video content. More than 60 percent of marketers and small business owners are planning to increase their investment in video marketing, according to a survey by Animoto.
All this video clutter has had the unexpected effect of making mainstream media more credible to consumers. With the proliferation of fake news and sensationalized stories, more people are turning to traditional media, rather than just digital media for news.
Even internet personalities like Gary Vaynerchuk, Kim Kardashian, and Bethenny Frankel still do television interviews to grow their following and boost their clout.
I’ve booked and managed hundreds of media segments, and I’ve helped people position themselves as leaders in their field in just a couple television segments. I can tell you firsthand: Learning to leverage your expertise could get you valuable exposure for your business.
These five tips can help you make a big impression on the small screen:
1. Pitch Your Perspective
Know the show. Spend at least a month watching the program you’re targeting. What’s the tone? Light and humorous? Newsy and analytical? What kind of guests do they have on? Once you get the show’s culture, think about a segment idea to pitch.
Your pitch should be a top-line overview of your point of view and its value to the show’s viewers. It should be no longer than 250 words. Make your pitch in a short phone call, email, or tweet. Create a sense of urgency. Provide credible research and recent news examples.
2. Share Some Unconventional Wisdom
Don’t be afraid to take a stand or share an unexpected point of view.
Pick three potential issues or events that should come up within the next six months. Analyze what others are saying, and look for a new angle.
Distill your thoughts into sound bites, write a short script, and call local producers to share your idea. The best times to call a busy producer are between noon and 3 p.m., evenings, and weekends — not when the show is airing, or during breaking news.
3. Play to a Producer’s Mindset
Making things easier for the show’s producer will boost your chances of getting airtime.
If you have customers willing to appear with you, or a facility near where the show is produced, let the producer know. Be available and easy to schedule.
Don’t oversell your ideas — and remember, your airtime will be limited. If the producer wants three points, make three points — not five.
4. Binge-watch the News
Spend some time watching CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX. It doesn’t matter which networks you choose — just watch. Study the guests and pay close attention to:
- The introduction of each new segment and how it hooks the viewer.
- The types of topics that get the most airtime. Work backwards to develop an idea. When you craft your pitch to the producer, mirror the topics that interest the show’s viewers.
- The types of questions guests are asked. This gives you a sense of what questions you might expect.
- How the guests perform. Notice what works and what doesn’t work. How do they banter with the hosts? What types of sound bites does the host react to?
- The visuals. Are the segments shot indoors, outdoors, or on-location? How are visuals (props, photographs, graphs etc.) included in a segment?
5. Thicken Your Skin
News happens, and big news may pre-empt your segment. The topic of your segment may also need to adapt to current events.
If it’s relevant to your business, be prepared to comment on a story that has broken within the last 24 hours. The timelier you are with your comments, the more in-the-know you appear.
Soledad O’Brien, an experienced anchor and entrepreneur, tells me that guests who understand the news-cycle get her attention. “When we are covering a breaking news story and a potential source calls in the middle of the chaos with a story that isn’t relevant — it’s not likely to be covered. However, if they have an interesting point of view to share after the controversial story has been reported, we will definitely entertain it,” she says. “Timing is still everything.”
Remember: The producer and the anchor are not out to get you. They’re there to put on a show. Help them make your topic interesting for their viewers by arming yourself with unexpected insights, clever quips, and illustrative example.
Show up an hour prior to the segment to familiarize yourself with the set, anchors and other guests. You never know who you’ll meet.
You’ll know you’ve succeeded when they ask you back.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.