TV talk shows have long been a sought-after platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their expertise, gain exposure, and connect with a broader audience. However, misconceptions about the nature of these shows can lead to unrealistic expectations and missed public relations opportunities. Understanding the realities behind certain myths can help entrepreneurs navigate the talk show landscape more effectively and harness the true potential of this influential broadcast media to promote their business, brand, or book.
According to Marianne Schwab, a former national TV Talk Show Producer, there are five myths about TV talk shows and she debunks them so entrepreneurs can better understand the truth behind these mistaken beliefs as they pursue getting talk show interviews.
Myth #1: No one watches TV (or talk shows) anymore. In today’s digital age, it’s easy to assume that TV talk shows have lost their relevance, given the declining viewership of traditional television. However, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Marianne, “I’ve actually had people ask me if people even watch TV anymore and it’s true that fewer people may tune in to watch talk shows on a conventional TV screen, but their popularity has simply adapted to the digital landscape. People now consume talk show content on iPhones, iPads, Smart devices, laptops, and other gadgets, transforming the viewing experience into a more personalized and on-the-go affair.”
In fact, “Nearly half of all adults now watch video (including talk show segments) via a connected TV device daily, a significant increase from 29 per cent five years ago, and 6 per cent a decade ago,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “While Smart TVs are a key component of the connected TV category, the vast majority of connected TV users stream via multiple types of devices.”
Myth #2: TV Talk Shows are different in 2023 than they were when they started in the 1950’s. Many entrepreneurs may believe that TV talk shows have undergone significant changes in their format over the years, especially with the advent of new media platforms and digital content, however, the reality is that the basic format and structure of TV talk show segments and interviews have remained relatively consistent. They typically begin with a host introduction of a guest, followed by a Q&A session, and often conclude with a call to action, such as promoting a book, product, or upcoming movie or music project.
Myth #3: Marketing and public relations are the same thing. Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of assuming that marketing and public relations serve the same purpose, especially when it comes to talk show appearances. However, it’s crucial to understand the fundamental differences between these two to ensure that interviews don’t turn into overtly promotional infomercials. “Advertising is saying you’re good. As long as it’s truthful, you can say anything you want, however, public relations is getting someone else to say you’re good and that’s where you can really build trust with your potential clients and customers,” Marianne shares. “By recognizing the distinction between marketing and public relations, entrepreneurs can leverage their talk show appearances to cultivate meaningful connections and authority with the audience. No amount of advertising can give you the credibility that being featured in the media or on a talk show can. There is something magical about this phenomenon.”
Myth #4: PR agencies get clients featured on TV and publicity is free. Entrepreneurs often hold the misconception that hiring a PR agency guarantees them talk show interviews and that publicity comes without any cost. “PR agencies play a crucial role in managing a company’s overall public image and media relations, but they are not necessarily specialists in securing talk show interviews. That requires a more specialized approach and that’s why agencies have hired my company for over 25 years to get their clients broadcast public relations results with interviews on radio and TV,” Marianne says. “Also, it’s crucial to recognize that PR is not free. Whether you hire a publicist or handle the publicity efforts yourself, there are costs involved. What really breaks my heart is when I see entrepreneurs invest $15K to $30K in a PR agency and they don’t even get one talk show interview when I know that I get my clients multiple guaranteed talk show interviews to build their brand and credibility.”
Myth #5: The first interview will be on a national talk show. One of the most common misconceptions among entrepreneurs is the belief that their first talk show interview will be on a nationally syndicated or network program. National talk shows typically feature high-profile guests, celebrities, or industry experts with established reputations or significant accomplishments. Marianne says, “While it’s not impossible for entrepreneurs to secure a national talk show appearance early on, it’s quite rare and important to recognize that the path to national exposure often begins at the local level. Local TV talk shows provide an excellent platform for entrepreneurs to gain valuable experience, refine their messaging, and build credibility within their community. These shows often focus on highlighting local talent, businesses, and unique stories, making them more accessible for entrepreneurs who are just starting out.”
In conclusion, debunking these five biggest TV talk show myths is crucial for entrepreneurs seeking to leverage this powerful platform so they can approach talk show appearances with realistic expectations and maximize their opportunities for success.
Marianne Schwab has worked as a producer in New York and Los Angeles and is currently the Executive Producer of CMP Media Cafe. She is dedicated to helping experts, book authors, and high level entrepreneurs land TV Talk Show interviews in today’s complicated media environment so they can promote their business, product, or brand in a way that makes anyone who sees their interview fall in love with them, their message, and their mission. She shares public relations tips on Instagram and has created an online training that shares her insider secrets to promoting a business on TV talk shows with details for the types of experts producers love to book as guests.