Have you seen those segments on daytime TV where they spotlight expert guests like life coaches and health coaches? They might be talking about what superfoods to add to your breakfast, how to know if it's time for a career change, or how to find your soulmate online.
Ever wondered how YOU could book one of those spots on TV, so that you could share your work with a large, mainstream audience?
Some of my Publicity Mastermind clients got the inside scoop on how to pitch for TV directly from NBC bookers, producers, and on-air talent during a private VIP tour of NBC studios we took awhile back. (Big thanks to my friend Ellie Brett of Media Bombshell for setting it up.)
Landing a spot in front of the camera starts with crafting an email that an extremely busy booker will open, read, and respond to.
So how do you do this?
First of all, some things to keep in mind:
- People in the media tend to be busy, stressed, and constantly on deadline. Many of them will confess that they don't read all their emails!
- If the subject line isn't compelling, they won't open it. If the first sentence isn't engaging, they won't read the whole pitch.
- I know this can feel unfair when you've spent days attempting to perfect for your pitch. But the things is — if they read and responded to all 500 emails in their inbox, they wouldn't get any work done!
To have your shot at getting featured on TV, there are three key guidelines for crafting a pitch that gets noticed.
Crafting a pitch that gets noticed
1) Speak in everyday language.
When you're on TV, you aren't speaking to your clients or your colleagues — you're speaking to the mainstream masses. One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is using terms that the general public doesn't understand, for example: “holding the space,” “pure potential,” or “tapping into your feminine side.”
When producing content for a mainstream audience, you want to break it down in a way that an 8-year-old would understand.
One of the producers told us that when in doubt, apply the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Silly. =)
2) Be super concise and compelling.
Your email needs to have a compelling subject line that gets their attention right away. The body of your email should have a few quick sentences about who you are and what you have to offer, with a creative pitch idea that would grab a mainstream viewer's interest.
Don't send them your life story in six paragraphs! If they want more information, they will ask (or you can offer it up later). You just want to pique their interest, get them to respond, and start a dialogue.
Now keep in mind that the way television shows stay in business is through high ratings. Story headlines need to grab the attention of the masses, so lots of people will tune in. One example that Jacque Reid, New York Live co-host, gave us was, “5 Yoga Moves that Will Save Your Marriage.” This is applicable to a wide audience, while being sexy, controversial, and off the beaten path.
3) Follow up consistently (and pleasantly!)
Don't expect that by sending in just one email, you'll be on TV the next month. These opportunities take time and require follow-up.
You might send a great pitch, but not hear anything back. Maybe that person is really busy, or only taking pitches related to the holiday season, a big sports event, or an election going on. Your pitch could be good, but just not right for this moment.
It's not about being aggressive, but it IS about being pleasantly persistent. Follow-up in a week or two, send additional ideas, and be an ongoing resource to producers (i.e. if you learn they are working on a particular story, offer your help even if it won't directly benefit your business).
Remember, it is more important to develop a long-term relationship or friendship, versus trying to force an opportunity to happen right away.
I hope you enjoyed these tips! And if you'd like to see more photos from the VIP tour, check out the album I created on Facebook! (We even got a group pic on the Saturday Night Live stage!)