Getting on TV: What You Need to Know

I’ve been doing TV for about 10 years now.

My first appearance was with a regional sports network, Comcast Sports Southeast, back in 2009. I found the producer of the show I wanted to be on and emailed her to introduce myself and gave what I call an “expert statement” (my clients will know this term well!). She booked me for a segment pretty soon thereafter, which turned into a weekly segment for nearly two years.

So, if one of your goals is to get featured on TV, here are the two most important things I want you to know:

1. It’s not about you.

The key for TV is to be able to talk about something trending in the news and to have a unique take on it. The segment is rarely about you or your business – it’s about your take on a newsworthy issue given your unique background and experience.

The single biggest mistake you can make when pitching yourself for TV (or really any kind of publicity) is making it about you. Always ask yourself, why does the audience care about what I’m going to say?

2. Make it short ‘n’ sweet.

One of the most difficult things about TV is how succinct you must be with your answers. TV segments with guests are generally 3-5 minutes, and they like to get in 5-6 questions. So, the general wisdom is to keep your answers at a 30-second max.

Wait! I have to say everything I know in less than 30 seconds? Yep! And even worse…TV producers and hosts are terrible about not giving you the questions in advance. If you’re lucky, you might get them the day of. For a segment I did on ESPN recently, I got them one hour before the show while driving to the studio. So, that’s all the time I had to practice my succinct answers.

I’m only allowed to share this clip from the show with two of my answers, but it’ll give you an idea of how concise your answers have to be. These two answers are 15 seconds and 23 seconds. And know this was a subject I could have spent ALL day on.. the segment was based on a 2k word article I wrote for Forbes (which I also could have doubled in size, lol).

What questions do you have about getting featured on TV? Comment below and let me know!

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