Stephanie Cobian is a top project manager of TVGuestpert, a media company specializing in helping authors, experts and thought leaders get booked on national media like TV, radio, podcasts and more. Stephanie helps everyday authors and experts turn their knowledge, ideas and stories into life-changing publicity and exposure by getting laser-focused on who your audience is and how to reach them.
In this interview, Stephanie shares several powerful ideas and strategies any author, entrepreneur, artist or creator can use to get booked on the biggest TV shows, radio programs and podcasts in your market.
Stephanie graduated from Cal State Northridge. She works at TVGuestpert with Jacquie Jordan. Jacquie Jordan has been a producer for over 20 years. Jacquie started TVGuestpert because a lot of TV experts needed help honing their message on television. She wanted to help TV experts get more value out of their TV appearances than just the initial appearance itself.
Jacquie wrote her first book about getting access to television. It’s called Get on TV. The book explains how to find TV outlets, how to hone your TV message, and how to become a recurring expert on TV.
TVguestpert teaches people who want to be on TV how to hone their message and establish themself as an expert on TV. They also help experts publish their books, because publishing a book on your field of expertise establishes you as an expert.
The other benefit of writing and publishing a book is that books are really easy to sell to audiences. Television producers also love to talk to authors. So writing a book is a very easy way to build your brand.
TVguestpert is a one-stop shop that helps experts build their platform.
The Best Strategies to Gain Media Exposure
Demo reels are very important. When you shoot your demo reel, you want to talk about a number of different topics, so the producer can see your content and understand what you’re going to talk about. Producers want to see how you’re going to be on camera, and they want to know where you’re coming from.
Anything where the producer gets to see you, and get an idea of what you’re going to talk about.
You’re going to talk about your book, but national shows aren’t going to invite you on just to talk about your book. You need a topic to talk about that ties into your book.
You want to connect your subject matter to hot topics in the news. That’s the fastest way to become valuable to new shows that will invite you on as an expert.
You can also tie your book into evergreen topics. It all depends on what type of shows you’re trying to get booked on.
You want to know who your audience is, and craft your talking points to speak to that audience about the specific subject you’re targeting.
How to Do Research to Get Booked on TV
You need to watch the shows you want to get booked on. This is the only way you’re going to know what talking points will work best for each venue.
You need to get a sense of the type of things that are discussed on these shows, and the tone of the discussion on these shows.
If you’re aiming for a show that isn’t on your local television you can go online and watch excerpts from these shows.
What to Do When Your Topic Doesn’t Fit Well with the Media
Write a new topic. This isn’t a case of making your topic fit the venue. TV programs and producers talk about certain things. You need to have talking points that address those topics. TVguestpert has clients who have more than 50 topics they can talk about.
The key to solving this problem is to simply create more content in the topics that are being talked about on the TV shows you want to be a guest on. Look for the angles in your content.
Examples of Show Ideas
If you are a nutritionist there are several things you can talk about that can get you on a variety of shows.
You can talk about:
- The best nutrition for your child going back to school – a back-to-school topic.
- Healthy recipes for two – a relationship topic.
- Why is chocolate an aphrodisiac? – A relationship topic.
- The best fruits for summer – a seasonal food show topic.
It’s all things like this. Finding an angle that allows you to talk about your area of expertise that connects to the topic being discussed.
It’s best to come up with at least 20 unique topic ideas that you can talk about. You want to pitch an idea that fits the show you’re trying to be booked on.
Get on TV
You have to do research. Go over to the website of the show that you want to be on and look for the email address of the producer. Most TV shows have an email address where you can pitch story ideas.
In your email you want to include:
- Your headshot.
- A brief bio that highlights key things such as your area of expertise, and the topics you can discuss.
- If you have a demo reel you definitely want to include a link to that. The demo reel is the most important piece of the puzzle. This is what gives producers an idea of how you’d be on the air.
- You also want to explicitly say what topic you’d be discussing. Producers won’t come to you with the topic unless you already have an established relationship with them.
- Along with your topic you want to include 5 to 6 talking points of what you will say on the topic. A lot of people like to put questions in their pitch, but including talking points is far more effective.
- Include your contact information and a short blurb about the book.
- Include an image of the cover of your book as well.
All of this stuff should be included in the body of your email. Attachments don’t work and are unreliable.
Make sure to spell check your email.
If you want to, you can use snail mail to send bigger documents to a producer if you already have an established relationship
What to Do After the Show
As an author, you should always have copies of your books to give away to the producer that booked you and the talent that interviewed you.
Always keep looking for new opportunities. Always look for new shows to be booked on.
It’s always polite to send a thank you note to follow up. But don’t expect to get rebooked on any show quickly. There are TV shows that won’t repeat a guest in a year.
If you want to get rebooked on a show, keep up with the show and write new topics for it, and resubmit yourself when appropriate.
Be sure to leave your business card and book with the producer who booked you on that show.
When you’re trying to get rebooked on a show, write the same email you did to get booked the first time, changing only the topics to be discussed and your talking points.
You want to include all your bio information again because you might be dealing with a different anchor or a different producer. Even if you’re not, you shouldn’t expect producers to remember details about you. They produce hundreds of segments a year. The easier you make the job for the producer, the more likely you are to get booked.
Content is King
Getting booked on television all comes down to content.
It can be very powerful to use your personal story as content to get booked on television. Your personal story is unique to you and it’s something you can speak directly about.
You have to have hot topics that you can talk about on television, and you should include personal stories in those list of hot topics.
You also want to include your talking points that relate to the hot topics you included in your pitch email.
How to Conduct Yourself during a TV Interview
Your speaking points should be your plan. You should know your speaking points very well.
You should always practice and do on camera training before you actually go on camera. If you’re an author on a budget you can do it at home, or you can hire an on camera trainer like TVguestpert.
Always stick to your speaking points. When an anchor asks you a question be sure to try and bring it back to your speaking points. You don’t have to wait to be asked the question. This isn’t an interview it’s a conversation.
If you’re on a panel discussion, your mic’d up and you’re allowed to talk. If you watch CNN they have panel discussions all the time. Often, guests are talking over one another.
You always want to be sure to mention your book. But don’t do it in an arrogant way. Don’t mention your book in a declarative way at the beginning or end of your discussion. Mention your book as part of the conversation.
Wear solid colors, but avoid wearing green because if you are in front of a green screen it will make your skin look green.
No clanking jewelry for women. Women have to have their hair and makeup professionally done.
Men need to wear makeup also. If you don’t you could look like a sweaty mess.
Both men and women should get their hair and makeup professionally done. If you don’t, you risk not looking good on camera.
Most TV stations will not provide a makeup artist. You have to find one yourself. Just look online for a local professional makeup artist.
For women, professional hair and makeup take 60 to 90 minutes. For men, it takes around 20 minutes.
For your first on camera appearance, Stephanie highly recommends that you do on camera training. Find a local PR company. Even if you’ve already done a TV appearance, coaching can always help you improve your presentation. On camera coaching is always recommended.
Display Your Expertise
All your expertise is expressed in your plug, and your speaking points. You give that information to the producer before your appearance.
You give the producer:
- Your book cover
- Your book title
- Your website
- Your talking points
Hopefully the title of your book and your area of expertise will be mentioned in your introduction. Hopefully some of that information will be shown in the bottom third of the screen as you’re talking.
You can’t ever count on those things being the case. You have to communicate you’re an expert as you’re going through your talking points during your television segment.
You can of course answer direct questions from the anchor.
Three Things You Can Sell on TV
- Your expertise – you do this by displaying your expertise during the conversation.
- Your book – you do this by mentioning your book naturally in conversation, and when the anchor directly asks you about your book.
- Your website – again you do this by mentioning your website naturally in conversation, or if the anchor asked you directly about your website.
You want to make sure your author platform is set up before you promote it on television. You want to have your website set up to sell things before you drive traffic to it in your TV interview.
The ROI for PR
It’s very hard to give a specific number of sales that come from media exposure. Media exposure is about building awareness in the marketplace that you are the expert in your particular field.
Stephanie had a client who has had great success with national radio shows. National shows are going to give you the greatest exposure because they have the largest audience.
Stephanie has been warned by The Today Show that they’ve had guests whose websites went down because of so much traffic after their appearance.
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee of a measurable return on investment with TV appearances. There just aren’t any guarantees. It depends on a number of factors like:
- The size of the audience that watches the show you’re on.
- How well your offer matches the audience for the show you’re on.
- How well you do in the interview.
- How well you are able to plug your expertise, book and website in the conversation during your TV segment.
Some shows require you to supply books for their audience. You should know beforehand whether you’re going to be required to supply books to the audience.
She had a life coach client who TVguestpert was able to promote everywhere. He did a ton of media appearances in most of the bigger regional markets. He was able to use those appearances to raise prices for his consulting services, and he was able to ask for more money when he sold his business later.
The return on investment is rarely clear when it comes to media appearances. It’s often indirect. But there’s definite value to raising your profile in the marketplace.
Get a Copy of Your Appearance
You always want to get a copy of your TV appearance. Never ask the producer for a copy. Pay a video monitoring service to send you a copy of your appearance.
With a copy of your appearance you can:
- Post it on your website
- Post it to your social media
- Use it in your demo reel
People have short attention spans today. You want to make sure that every TV appearance you make has the longest life it possibly can.
You can contact Stephanie directly by going to http://TVguestpert.com
People and Resources Mentioned in This Interview
Jacquie Jordan is Stephanie Cobian’s partner in TVguestpert.