Getting Results: How Timing and Creativity Can Get You Booked

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Just last week, I showed you an interview I did with Lisa Hess, our TV campaign manager, about a typical day in her life here at EMSI. In it, we learned a lot of the different things she does in order to get our clients booked. Although I can always count on Lisa to arrange good TV bookings each week, last week she outdid herself with 4 national TV appearances and 5 local TV appearances on network affiliate stations. So I thought it might be helpful as a follow-up to share with you how she got these bookings.

In her world, there are two kinds of pitches that she uses to garner the interest of national TV producers. While national news programs and talk shows tend to follow the news cycle and seasons, they also sometimes respond to a pitch that is more evergreen, a message that’s not tied to the news but is one that’s timeless. However, in order to generate interest on the evergreen pitch, it has to be creative and really offer the viewers some serious added value.

For example, one of our clients is a world-class certified investment advisor and so our challenge was to make him more attractive to a broad audience that may not have a large portfolio. So, we developed a simple pitch called “Finance 101,” in which we had our expert break down the complexities of the financial markets into short, basic lessons to help people understand how the markets work.

After we sent the pitch out last week, a producer from a FOX Business Network show called back and booked him for the interview. The idea is evergreen, and all we did to make it work was figure out how to take the experience of a guy who helps his clients juggle millions of dollars in investments and boil it down to something that would be applicable to Joe Six-Pack.

Seasonal topics are also important to producers, so we recently put out a pitch for a client of ours who is a dentist and an expert on bad breath, as he has his own line of branded bad breath cures in national chain pharmacies and supermarkets. We pitched the top barbecue foods that cause bad breath, and booked him on local shows in cities he’s traveling to. Seasonal pitches are almost always sought by producers, as they will often dedicate airtime to summertime issues like sun burn and weight loss and holiday stories in the winter. Our success with our dentist client has been built on seasonal pitches, as well as pitches focusing on holidays like Valentine’s Day and New Year’s, when people want their breath to be kissably fresh. I’ll stop there, because I am now sounding like a commercial.

The hard news cycle is also very important to the national news guys, and there is one story in the news cycle that dominated over the weekend – Jaycee Dugard. Her interview with Diane Sawyer and the launch of her book was big news this week, and we knew it would be. So last week we pitched a client who had written a memoir focused on his experience being kidnapped by his estranged father when he was 8 years old. For a six-month period, his father held him in captivity and subjected him to physical and emotional abuse until he was rescued. Our client’s book was part of his healing process, so in that respect we felt he could comment on why someone like Dugard would want to write a book about her ordeal. Last week we pitched him as a guest to all the big networks in the U.S. and Canada, and as a result he appeared Monday morning on A.M. Canada (the Canadian equivalent to the Today Show). The interview went so well that the CBC reached out to him on Twitter to ask him to be live in studio for their nightly interview show Connect with Mark Kelly, the highest rated evening talk show in Canada. The moral of the story is that you never know who is watching. We’re also in discussion with a CNN news show for this client.

So while all of these pitches were successful, they all staked out a different territory – seasonal, evergreen and the hard news cycle. It’s the strategy we use to get our clients on the air.

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