Seven Tips for Any Small Business Owner to Get on a National Talk Show


One perk of owning a PR ageny for years, and now being a co-founder at Tin Shingle, is that I'm connected to some wonderful producers, editors and media magic-makers who have worked regularly with me.  Recently, I realized that a lot of the segment-getting strategies they respond well to, and that I often take for granted may be things that small business owners don't think about on a daily basis.  Thus I have decided to outline them for you, to help you on your way to landing your fifteen minutes (or more) on the small screen! See also my article on How to Pitch The Today Show's 4th Hour with Kathie Lee and Hoda, and read how this little granola company and Tin Shingle member from VA landed a spot on the Today Show using her Tin Shingle membership tools.

Be sure you are crafting a pitch that is created for the show you are pitching for and not just about the story you want to tell.
It isn't all about you here.  Sure it's about your expertise or your product but you have to spin it into what their show style is.  You need to truly understand and reserach the style of their show and the style of the host.  If the host doesn't do heartfelt and emotional chats, then don't share that type of story.  If the show is wild and crazy and you can't be that way as an expert, then move on. 

Don't think that if you haven't heard back they are not interested in you.
Producers can literally get hundreds of emails a day.  When I was at our meetings last week their smartphones were going off every 30 seconds.  They triage emails.  They put things in files.  They don't have time to reply to your email right away unless it's a top priority.  That doesn't mean they won't eventually use you!

Get Yourself in Magazines & Online Press!  
The producers I was meeting with had a massive stack of magazines on their desks that were filled with Post-It notes highlighting stories, experts and ideas they were interested in.  One producer that I met with was pitching two stories to her team for possible segments that she read in the Huffington Post.  One was pulling a story from Self Magazine.  If you can remember that those are also important places to be and focus energy on building buzz in other types of outlets, the television press will come!

Speaking of producers pitching segments...realize just because one producer loves you, there are still hoops to jump through.  
One producer still has to pitch you to the rest of the team and at times, the host.  There are multiple steps to getting your story on air.  Be cognizant of this and patient with the process.

If you want to be on television be very visual and illustrate what you will do!
This is TV, this means if you're a service provider or expert you need to think visually.  You need to share with them how you and your segment will be visual, how the segment will go, what you will do and how the audience will benefit.  I don't mean say, "This is how I will be visual" but mention "I'll be doing X, Y, Z and bringing on ABC props!"

Producers are filling out calendars for their shows months in advance, they have to have a well rounded set of guests, and that may mean you won't fit in for months after they pitch you.
For instance, they can't do 8 beauty segments in a row.  They can't have financial experts on back-to-back.  They may do some celebrity gossip one week and then give it a rest another.  Be open to this and understanding of it!  They're often working on their own formulas, testing out topics, guests etc.  Of course we all want to be on RIGHT NOW but they need to do what's best for the show.  If you can be okay with that they'll be more likely to work with you!

Be persistent.  
One anecdote I loved from our meetings last week was about a brand that was pitching their story regularly, but because they were so persistent and also had a great story and idea that they made clear was a good match, the producers figured they were worth considering.  They figured if the brand was that sure they were a good fit they must have a good story to tell.  If YOU have a great story to tell that truly fits with a talk show's theme and style, do not give up until you hear back!