Last week, I introduced the need to take advantage the upcoming holidays. Ready or not, if you want to promote your book over the holiday season, it’s time to get on it.
TV interviews are a fantastic way to get your story out there. But with so much competition, how can you make sure your pitch gets noticed? As a publicist I can tell you that getting on TV is a big win, but I can also tell you that it isn’t easy to do.
You can increase your chances of securing local or even national media by following these simple tips:
1. Make it newsworthy.
Your pitch needs to be newsworthy in order to capture a producer’s attention. This means more than just writing a catchy headline; the story needs to be timely and relevant. Think about what would make someone want to tune in or click on a link to learn more. What would make you want to turn in or click on a link?
2. Find timely tie-ins.
TV is all about what is happening now. Therefore, your pitch also needs to be relevant to what is happening now. Even if your story is not directly related to current events, you can still find a way to make it timely. If there is a current TV show or movie that is similar to your story, mention that in your pitch.
3. Keep it short and sweet.
Producers and reporters are busy people on deadlines and they don’t have time to read a long, drawn-out story. Be clear and to the point in your pitch. Include only the most important information and leave out the rest. If it is too wordy or too complicated, it will probably get overlooked. The body of the pitch should provide the essentials: who, what, when, where, and why. Anything beyond that can be attached or provided via a link.
4. Know your audience.
When you are pitching TV, you need to know who your target audience is. This will determine what kind of TV show you should be pitching to. If your target audience is stay-at-home moms, for example, then you would want to pitch to daytime shows like The View or The Talk. However, the pandemic has changed who is at home, so targeting professionals working at home may also be a good strategy.
5. Personalize your pitch.
A generic pitch will not get you very far. TV is all about personal stories, so your pitch needs to be personal as well. Include information about yourself and why your story would be of interest to viewers.
6. Be persistent.
Getting on TV takes persistence and determination. Don’t give up if you don’t get a bite the first time; keep pitching and eventually you will get the TV interview you are looking for. If you’re pitching the same show, however, you will want to use different angles, tie-ins, and ideas until you get the producer’s attention.
7. Be prepared to talk now.
If a TV producer or reporter is interested in your pitch, they will likely want to talk to you right away. Be prepared to jump on a call or provide additional information on short notice. And remember, every call is like an audition. They are sizing you up the entire time you’re on the phone with them.
8. Stand out
No matter who you are and what your topic is about, you are going to face some competition when it comes to media exposure. Make sure you stand out by highlighting what makes you unique. If you have an interesting story, make sure to mention that. If you are an expert in your field, be sure to point that out.
9. Keep it local.
When pitching to local news, make sure that your pitch resonates with the local community. Paying attention to local news and community events will help you to craft a pitch that local watchers will want to see and, consequently, local news will want to cover. Often, following local governments’ social channels can be enough to give you the cues you need to make your pitch relevant.
10. Be visual.
Unlike most print media (there are exceptions here), TV needs supporting elements. Providing B-Roll or video elements makes your story that much easier for a TV producer to use. Make sure you mention in the pitch that you can provide some extra media, such as photos and video content. If the footage that you can provide is compelling, make sure you describe it in a compelling way.
11. Be a resource.
While a TV producer may just have one guest on for a particular topic, TV reporters typically need to interview more than one person for a story. If you want your pitch to stand out, make sure you explain that you can provide more than one expert. If you have a book and you lead a non-profit, perhaps you can also recommend a key supporter or board member as a potential interviewee. Again, the more of a resource you can be for the reporter by providing support and content, the more likely you are to be included in the story.
TV interviews are a great way to get exposure for your book, but landing them is not always easy. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of landing the interview. Right now is a good time to pitch them for holiday stories.
To your success!
P.S. On a personal level, I prefer to get into the holidays on Thanksgiving. But when you have a book to promote, now is the time to get ready for the holi-holi-holidays!
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