Landing a TV interview can be a challenge. From timing to finding the best local angle, here are 10 tips to help you attract producers’ attention and solidify an interview slot on air!
1. Do your research
First things first, find the best contact. Familiarize yourself with past interviews and the names of producers who handle the type of segment you are interested in. You want to make sure the right person at the station is going to see your pitch. When in doubt, pitch the news tip email—it totally works!
2. Differentiate yourself
Fun fact? Mention it! Include past accomplishments and experiences to help you stand out among the crowd. Make sure you emphasize that you are a local author and mention if any places in the area inspired your book!
3. Don’t start too early
Unlike magazines, often times producers are actually thinking pretty last minute. Pitching too far in advance = a forgotten pitch. Time it just right!
4. Find timely tie-ins and work that angle!
Find out what’s happening in the area as a local hook to your segment or plan a local book launch event as a timely tie-in.
5. Call, call and call
Talking on the phone to producers can be scary, but don’t just rely on email. You need to call and talk to the assignment editor. Have a quick elevator pitch about your book prepared and be ready to sell them on why you should be a guest on their show.
6. Follow up with pertinent updates
Keep the person you’re pitching in the loop with the newest information, including media coverage and event updates. They’ll appreciate it more than you know, and the more they can work in—the better!
7. Network and use your connections
Ask anyone and everyone if they have any local media connections you can work to your advantage. I’m talking friends, family—even the local bookstore that you’re hosting your event at. No shame if you casually name-drop in your pitch. No shame.
8. Be visual
Real talk, everyone gets bored from time to time–we’re only human. Visuals are attention grabbing and keep the focus where you want it. Providing b-roll and images can help tell your story and make your segment pitch more interesting to producers.
9. Be concise
Reporters and producers get thousands of pitches a day so they don’t want to read a pitch that is six pages long. In fact, they probably won’t even open it and it’ll soon make its way to their deleted folder. Get their attention, then get to the point.
10. Send your book to the producer/station
Let them know what you’re all about. What better way than to let them see for themselves? Send them a copy of your pride and joy (your book, duh) and include a press release and a hand-written note. A personalized touch goes a long way.
Tips from some of our authors who recently scored TV interviews:
“I got an interview with the host of “Morning Scramble” on a well-watched local TV channel. How? I often met his wife as we walked our dogs. I told her about my novel, APPETITE, and then gave her a copy. She loved it.”
— Sheila Grinell, author of Appetite
“I shared an hour-long interview at our library with another local author and the Town of Greenburg taped the program. At the host-librarian’s urging, I just called the town offices and asked if they would like to tape our event. They rerun it periodically on the local cable channel, always a surprise when someone says they saw it!”
— Roni Beth Tower, author of Miracle at Midlife
“I just did an interview on “Great Day Live” in Louisville, KY two weeks ago after pitching the producer a month prior to my trip. I pitched it by making a compilation of my book’s successes and media hits (like the Buzzfeed and “Books to Take on a Journey” roundups) that look good on paper. I mentioned my PR contract was long up by then. She wrote me fifteen minutes later and accepted, despite her being on annual leave.”
— Lizbeth Meredith, author of Pieces of Me
Madison Rowbotham has a life-long passion for storytelling and over four years of experience working in the PR field for a variety of industries, from her days as an intern in the fashion industry, to working with major movie labels in entertainment PR. That passion and experience has blossomed into her dream career working with authors and publishers as a publicist for BookSparks, where she helps our seasoned team execute innovative and results-driven publicity and marketing campaigns for a variety of clients. Madison graduated from the leading Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University (#1 in Innovation, US News & World Report) where she served as her sorority’s founding Vice President of Public Relations and the president of the Fashion Journalism Club. In her free time, Madison enjoys dancing, writing and —of course— reading.