How many times have you flipped the channel to the news or a talk show to find the anchors talking about a specific topic in your industry that you know you can speak to? Or worse, have you ever seen a guest sharing their insights about a topic that is actually your expertise, and thought to yourself, “Hey, I could’ve done that!”?
And yes, you can! It’s time to get yourself out there as an expert, and I’m here to tell you how.
I founded TenXPR based on my years of experience as a veteran TV producer turned broadcast PR specialist to help experts like you – whether you’re a subject matter expert, business owner, or author – land on National and Local TV to raise their profile and share their expertise with the world.
Whether you want to try pitching yourself to broadcast news outlets on your own or work with a broadcast PR agency to help you get out there, it’s important to know that getting on the news is as simple as asking, and the best way to do this is via email. It’s also important to know who to contact at the TV networks you’re interested in. If you ask the wrong people (i.e. TV anchors), your email will likely be ignored. Instead, you want to focus on emailing the show’s talent bookers, producers, and associate producers and ask them if they will consider you as a guest speaker or expert for the show.
Now you know that all it takes is asking and the right people to ask, but it takes a little more thought than that. Your email should act as a way to pitch yourself to the talent bookers and producers that clearly explains what you bring to the table and why you are the right fit to join their show as an expert.
Here are my 5 steps to ensure your pitch is guest-worthy so you can offer your expertise on TV and be seen as an industry expert.
First, define who you are and your area of expertise.
You want to paint a clear picture of your background, what makes you an expert in your field, and what exactly your expertise is. You also want to think about what your competitive edge is compared to those in your field. What sets you apart from the rest? Why should someone want you as a guest over someone else in your industry? If you can’t clearly explain who you are and your expertise, the booker or producer on the other end of the email will not understand and pass you up as a potential guest.
Find the news story or hook to comment on.
Talent bookers and producers are always looking for industry experts who are able to comment on news or trending topics in an easy, digestible way that any viewer can understand. Do a quick Google search to find newsworthy and trending topics to see what you feel comfortable speaking about and where you can add your particular area of expertise. In your email, highlight the news story and what specific advice or insights you can offer to the show’s audience in relation to that story.
If you can’t find any stories or topics that you feel comfortable speaking about, try finding a “hook” – an interesting or important topic, statistic, or holiday that the show’s audience would resonate with. Don’t know where to start? Browse the National Calendar for upcoming holidays. There are plenty to choose from, but whatever you do, don’t force a news story, topic, or holiday into your area of expertise if you can’t find the right angle for it. The worst position you can put yourself in is pitching yourself for a story or hook that you feel uncomfortable talking about. Trust me, it’s obvious to a TV viewer.
If you want to be on a specific show, watch that show and see how the segments are laid out and in which order. Chances are certain topics are at certain hours, and if you know you want to be on a certain segment talking about a certain topic, you’ll be able to know which segment you can pitch yourself for. Think about how you can speak to the news cycle today, but think ahead, too. There will always be opportunities for you to get yourself on TV!
Brainstorm the points you want to make about your news story or topic and boil it down to 5 talking points.
Once you have a news story or topic you feel good about, draw from your expertise to think about the insights and advice you can share to the show’s audience. I suggest you think of 5 talking points. Too many talking points can make your email too long – a quick way for any booker or producer to avoid reading your email altogether. On the other hand, not having enough talking points can take away the opportunity for you to show off your expertise in the way that you could if you had included more. To sum it up: don’t stifle yourself, but don’t drone on either!
When you work with PR specialists like our team at TenXPR, they turn your hook and talking points into email pitches for you to save you the headache.
Include a bio of yourself.
You’ve already introduced yourself and explained your area of expertise, but including a traditional bio after your talking points is crucial for two reasons: (1) it helps bookers and producers learn more about who you are if they are interested in getting to know you better and (2) it serves as a place where you can list all of your credentials that have shaped the industry expert you are today. While you definitely want to share your title when you’re introducing yourself at the top of the email, your bio gives you an opportunity to include the rest of your impressive credentials that would have taken forever to list right off the bat.
Keep it short! They don’t want to read a novel.
If the average worker receives 120 emails per day, it wouldn’t surprise me if producers and bookers receive thousands of emails (yes, you read that correctly!) between both the barrage of news on a daily basis and emails from experts like you asking them to be a guest on their show. If your email is too long, they will not read it! Instead, cut through the clutter by making your email as short and concise as possible. Because you aiming for a shorter email, make sure you get to the point as quickly as possible. Producers and bookers have very busy, hectic lives, just like you do, so it’s important to keep that in mind as you’re crafting your pitch email.