Today’s guest post is from Jan Hickel (@JustJanH on Twitter), who has booked thousands of guests for a regional news/entertainment show as well as an international news network. Today is Part One of Jan’s post: The Do’s for Getting Booked. Part Two will be The Don’ts of Getting Booked.
Getting booked on a local, regional or national television show can work wonders for a person, product, brand or message. Ideally, thousands or even millions of people instantly become aware of you (or whatever you are promoting) and success, fame and fortune follow! But realistically, before the camera’s red light shines on you, you have to get to – and through – the gatekeepers. Here are tried and true basic booking rules to get past the guest bookers, planning producers or talent coordinators and onto the schedule:
- Be new, relevant and know your audience. Bring the producer something new and exclusive. Being first and innovative is always attractive. If your client is a chef with a new cookbook full of healthy recipes, don’t pitch a news talk show. Pitch lifestyle shows that will allow the chef to demonstrate how these recipes can improve your audience’s life. Tailor your pitches to the audience and market and don’t waste the booker’s, yours or your client’s time.
- Keep it Simple. This should actually be DO #1 – you’re probably an extremely creative writer but save that skill for your blog, novel or anywhere else. When you’re pitching a busy guest booker KEEP IT SIMPLE.
- Make your subject line count. DO NOT write “Guest Idea”. Rather write “Feed Four Dinner for $10” or what/who you’re pitching. In the first short paragraph cover the five basics of journalism – Who, What, Where, When and Why. Then you can flesh it out in the rest of the one-sheet press release as needed. Don’t suggest the booker visit a website – provide a link. Don’t clog up her inbox (and limited storage space) with large attachments.
- Make It Visual & Tease-able. TV is a visual medium. Make your pitch more appealing by providing something to look at in addition to the guest. B-roll, demonstrations, performances, graphics, facts – anything that lends itself to anchor involvement is a plus. Let the booker know what visuals you can provide in your pitch. Can it be teased – that is, is it something the show producer can use to entice viewers to tune in or stay tuned in?
- Follow through. If you get booked, deliver on your promises. In a timely manner, provide all materials needed to make the segment a success for everyone.
- Show up on time, be nice and be prepared. Even if a show/segment is taped, TV stations are usually on a tight schedule so be on time. If the segment is live, be early. Live is LIVE and if the guest is not in the studio in time to get set up properly, it’s bad for everyone. Plan on traffic being a nightmare and always provide day-of contact info (cell phone) in case there is an emergency or hold up.