I often emphasize the need for a multi-media approach to public relations: getting your message out on at least a couple of the traditional media (radio, print, TV) that your target audience is using while also building your social media marketing.

But people sometimes tell me, “I just don’t have time for lots of radio and TV interviews, or the travel required for TV. Is there something I can do that’s quick and effective?”

Of course, some messages are best suited for certain media, and your particular target demographic may mostly use one or two media and not the others. But, that said, one of the best – and most overlooked – publicity options is your own hometown TV shows.

Why?

  • They give you a large audience and visibility in the most powerful of the traditional media. Viewers tend to connect with and remember people they see on TV because it’s such a multi-sensory experience. If you come across as warm and likeable, they’ll remember that!
  • If you’re hoping to eventually appear on national TV, local interviews are a necessary steppingstone. Most national shows want to see how you come across on TV before they’ll put you on the air. They want to see that you have good energy, that your appearance matches your expertise and that you can communicate your message well.
  • Clips of local TV interviews posted on your website will continue to pay dividends long after the show has aired. They boost your credibility to new website visitors by providing that all-important third-party endorsement by the show host. It doesn’t matter that the show didn’t air yesterday, nor that it was your hometown station – viewers don’t care! They’re just impressed by the fact that you’re a go-to expert source for TV. Posting clips will also provide your site with video, which Internet users tend to love.
  • You’re likely to get a nice backlink to your website from the station. When TV stations post clips from their shows to their station’s website, they often include a link to the interviewee’s website. That can give you a boost when people use Google to search a topic relevant to your business, product or book. Your page may come up higher in the search results because of that link from a traditional media site, which Google trusts.

Now, how does one wrangle an invitation to be interviewed on a local TV talk show?

Local stations generally broadcast news shows a few times a day. Look for their guest-oriented segments. See which anchors are interviewing guests and the types of topics they’re covering, such as consumer interest, health and fitness, and parenting.

Do some anchors seem to have special interests? Which ones are relevant to your area of expertise? (“Hi Anchorwoman Jan, I see you’re interested in exercise and fitness. I’m a cardiologist and a gourmet chef who can show you and your viewers some great tricks for preparing super-delicious, super-healthy meals.”)

Learn more about the anchors and shows by checking them out online. Look for the names of producers, too. You’ll want to pitch them as well.

Don’t forget to check out the smaller local cable stations, including public access, educational and government stations. Familiarize yourself with their regular programming so you can identify when and where you may fit in.

Once you’ve identified the people you’ll be pitching to, look for local news, issues and trends that you can plug into – a news hook. If your message is related to finance, you could research the local statistics for home foreclosures and bankruptcies. Citing these in your pitch, you might offer to share five tips for protecting your credit score when you’re under- or unemployed.

You can also plug into holidays and special days, weeks and months, just about all of which you can find on the Internet. Is your business built around something you invented? May is National Inventors’ Month – you can offer to share tips on how people can turn their great idea into a product on a store shelf. Do you own a yoga studio? How about listing the benefits of meditating and offering some how-to’s during National Meditation Month, also in May?

One or two local TV appearances may be just what you need to give your brand the boost it needs. Do a good job and who knows? You may find you’ve got more media requests for interviews than time to do them.

And that, my friend, is a very good problem to have!

Don’t touch that dial!
Marsha

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