How Thinking Like A Producer Can Help Land That Coveted TV Appearance

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In the world of public relations, you just never know when you might need to find a wolf on short notice.

Really.

Here at EMSI we routinely arrange television appearances for our clients. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that a TV pitch is most effective if you let the producer know that you are willing to go above and beyond to make everything work.

If that means you need to provide all the extra elements that will make it a hit, then so be it.
And that brings me to the wolf.

You thought I was joking, didn’t you?

Let me explain how our team became involved in wolf wrangling.

We once had a client who was both an animal behaviorist and a children’s author, and a wolf played the lead role in his book. This client actually owned a domesticated wolf, along with other wildlife, but couldn’t take his four-legged pal from city to city for his book tour.

So the job of finding emergency stand-in wolves fell to us. In each location, our team tirelessly tracked down a wolf to share the on-air time and enhance the interviews.
As you can imagine, that was no easy feat. But with a measure of tenacity and perhaps a dash of luck, we succeeded and the TV producers and hosts loved us for the effort.
So if you want to break into your local TV market – or any TV market – as a way to promote yourself or your brand, one piece of advice I would give you is: Try to think like a TV producer.

Let’s look at a few ways you can do that:

• Think outside the box – and the studio. For a client who gave dating tips to dog lovers looking for other dog lovers, we needed to round up a dog for each TV appearance we arranged. But we didn’t stop at finding canines. We even created segments at a dog park as the location for interviews. We wanted to make the job as easy as possible for the TV folks and most entertaining for the audience.

• Think visuals. Sometimes the additional preparation falls on your shoulders. For example, if you sell food products or have written a cookbook, you would want to include in your pitch that you’re able to prepare a meal on the set or have meals prepared in advance for your segment.

Sometimes you may need to liven up a dry topic. We once had a client who was selling life insurance to women. Knowing that women outlive men by 10 years, he created a graph that was so compelling that his phones rang off the hook almost immediately after the segment aired.

• Expect the unexpected. So you’ve got a great suggestion for a studio segment and you have all your props ready to go. But then the producer slips in a curveball. We had a client who wrote a book on healthy eating habits. We pitched a visually rich segment using as props foods that every family should have in their pantry. The producer loved it, but then came back to us with a request to have their anchor meet our client at a grocery store instead. They walked up and down the aisles with our client picking out the healthiest items every family should have in their home. It wasn’t how we pitched the story – but we accommodated the producer’s request and the client wound up with a great segment.

This may sound like a lot of work – and sometimes it is – but it also can be fun. Going above and beyond can pay off in landing a TV interview that a producer might have passed on if all the heavy lifting was left to them.

Think of it this way. Some TV interviews are all talk and little, if any, action. And that can work fine under the right circumstances.
But it adds another dimension to your message if, during the interview, you can trot out someone or something that represents your theme. Probably even more so when you trot out a wolf! That added element can grab the viewers’ attention, keeping them from channel surfing – and the easiest thing for a viewer to do is click through to the next channel.

It all comes down to this: Be ready to do whatever you need to do, and be prepared to do it on a deadline.

You’ll be glad you did.

Preparing for anything,

Marsha

P.S. If you need help landing TV interviews and making the most of those on-camera moments, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 211.

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