Often overlooked, it is always a good idea to practice your pitch and show your fact sheet to some respected colleagues before you try it out on the TV or radio producers. Ask your practice partner to throw out some tough and challenging questions so that you get practice rebutting any negative responses. The practice pitch will give you a chance to make any changes, streamline your narrative and to think about how you will answer the producer’s questions.
Step 3 – Make Contact
Now that you’ve figured out what you want to say and where you want to say it, it’s time to make contact.
There are a few methods of making contact. The first is to fax or email your backgrounder and then follow up with the radio or TV talk show producer a couple of days later. The second idea is to call the radio or TV talk show producer and sell them on your idea right away. A lively phone conversation will demonstrate that you are able to be engaging and interesting. If you get voice mail, persevere! Mention your idea on the voice mail, send your backgrounder and then follow up with a phone call again. A third, albeit more passive way to get on radio and TV talk shows is to register with one of the many online databanks or publications, which are directories of people available for radio and TV interviews. These sites and publications are designed for media professionals who need to quickly and easily find guests for various topics.
When you are pitching your ideas, strongly capitalize on your experience. If you have limited to no talk show experience, the producer may be scared off by that. Play up any and all experience you have. For instance, focusing on the broad range of presentations you’ve made to various audiences will show that you’re adept at speaking. Even better is to have some references lined up who will provide testimonial to the producer that you were an informative, intelligent and engaging speaker.
Another idea is to link your idea with an event or issue in the news, if possible. If you can inject a ‘little’ controversy into a topic (say you represent the opposing side of an issue) you have a better chance of being signed on.
Here’s a quick and easy tip, remember to boost the producers ego by mentioning something from a previous show topic or guest, producers love to know that people are watching.