6 Ways to Get Booked on Local TV and Radio Shows

by Teri Cettina on December 1, 2011
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Landing an interview on a local TV or radio show is an excellent — not to mention free — way to market your small business. Your appearance could even lead to spots on national TV shows like Good Morning America if you prove yourself to be a great guest. Here are six ways to get airtime, no experience required.

  1. Pitch the right shows and producers. If you own a mobile food cart or are a parenting coach, you want to target local lifestyle shows and not political or sports programs. That may sound obvious, but many enthusiastic small-business owners go on a marketing blitz and pitch every possible show, regardless of its focus. Nothing will get your pitch rejected faster than appealing to the wrong audience. Put together a list of shows that are appropriate for your company and your expertise. Call the TV stations and ask for name of each show’s producer — these folks are the decision-makers. Ask whether the producer prefers guest pitches by email or phone call and get their contact information. Bonus points: Double-check that you’re spelling the producer’s name correctly.
  2. Offer news the audience can use. Instead of just suggesting that a show “profile your business,” be topical. If you run a computer-repair shop, for instance, offer to discuss a timely, helpful subject, such as “8 simple computer repairs you can do yourself.” In other words, don’t focus on explicitly marketing your company during the TV or radio segment. If you come across as an infomercial, producers will tune you out. By simply appearing on a TV or radio show as a competent professional, you’ll get people to consider working with your company. Mission accomplished!
  3. Include a one-page tip sheet. Provide a succinct list of talking points you would use during your TV or radio show visit. Send it with your initial guest pitch, or if you talk to the producer by phone, offer to email it as a follow-up. This information helps producers envision whether you’ll be an informative guest and makes it easy for them to prepare the show’s hosts for your interview. Bonus: Most hosts will ask you questions based on your tip sheet, which makes your preparation easy!
  4. If you’re pitching TV, think visually. Is your topic well-suited to props? If you’re talking about PC repairs, could you bring a set of basic tools that viewers at home should have to work on their computers? If you’re a chef, could you prep a simple dish on camera? If so, mention this in your pitch.
  5. Once you’re booked, market your appearance. Be sure to post news about your upcoming TV or radio spot on Facebook, Twitter, and your website. After your appearance, find out whether the station archives shows; if so, share your segment’s link so customers who missed your appearance can watch or listen to it.
  6. Prepare for an uptick in business. Depending on the popularity of the TV or radio program, you will hopefully see a (temporary) surge in business shortly after your appearance. Stockpile some extra product for orders, and call in extra help to answer the phones or cover your counters. This is your chance to show new customers you’re a real pro — both on and off the air. Remember that this boost is likely to be fleeting, so keep promoting to build momentum.
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