Getting invited to appear as a guest on a TV talk show can be a valuable opportunity for experts, authors, and high-level entrepreneurs to share their message with a broad audience and establish credibility. However, it’s essential to be aware of the challenges that come with securing and preparing for such appearances on television and how to avoid common mistakes that could derail a media interview.
The media landscape is constantly evolving, and it can be challenging to keep up with the latest trends, preferences, and best practices. Marianne Schwab, a former national network TV Talk Show Producer, understands the good, the bad, and the ugly from what can go right to what can go terribly wrong and she shares her insights on some the biggest mistakes high level entrepreneurs make when they get talk show interview opportunities.
Mistake #1 – Not understanding that it’s all about the media hook and story angle. Anyone who wants to be a guest on a talk show needs to understand what producers want and it’s really pretty simple. According to Marianne, a media hook will be the number one reason a producer will look at a pitch to decide if an expert will make a good guest. “The media hook is really about how producers will promote the segment or title it on their website so viewers click to watch it online. For example, one of my clients is a Canine Caterer and she launched a cook book for dogs that also had two pages of toxic foods to avoid giving your dog. Our media hook was, ‘Toxic Mistakes Dog Owners Make.’ This is the sort of hook that you can almost hear the host of the show say, like ‘Coming up next,’ or ‘Stay tuned.’ That’s the type of media hook producers love.”
Mistake #2 – Not understanding the amount of preparation needed before the interview. TV talk shows can be intimidating even if an expert has lots of YouTube videos or Facebook Live experience. Marianne has prepared clients for hundreds of interviews, “Without the right preparation and coaching, it can be challenging to come across as confident, articulate, and engaging on camera. For the newbie talk show guest, they often think once they’ve booked the interview, all they have do is show up and answer questions, but that is a recipe for disaster. You don’t show up for the World Series and treat the game like a batting practice. If you want to hit a home run with your interview, you need to dial in your message so you can maximize your three minute interview and then prepare it so you come off authentic and confident and this can take between five to ten hours.”
Mistake #3 – Not understanding what to look for when hiring a publicist. Hiring a publicist is the best way to fast track getting television interviews, but not all publicists specialize in broadcast or have those contacts. Marianne advises, “You want to work with a publicist who specializes in broadcast P.R. and has media connections with producers. Also, look at their track record for clients they’ve booked on talk show programs. Since I’m a former national network talk show producer, I can guarantee that my clients will get on network quality local talk shows since I have strong relationships with producers all over the country.” So look for publicists with talk show media connections because ultimately, producers work with trusted professionals.
Mistake #4 – Not understanding that the first talk show interviews will be a local talk shows. Even if an author has had a bestselling book, it’s no guarantee they’ll land an interview on a national talk show. In fact, it’s unlikely, according to Marianne, “As a producer for national talk shows, I always wanted to see that guests had been on other talk shows and that meant local talk shows. I knew if they could do well on those shows, they’d be great on my show since my job was literally on the line if I booked a bad guest. Local talk shows on network affiliates are an excellent training ground for experts and high level entrepreneurs to master on camera media appearances while building credibility as a go-to on-camera expert.”
Mistake #5 – Not understanding that talk shows are about publicity and NOT marketing or advertising. One of the most difficult things to understand about talk show interviews is that they are not marketing or advertising platforms so the approach has to be informational in nature with a soft call to action. Marianne shares, ” No amount of advertising can get you the credibility that appearing as a guest in the editorial framework of a talk show because at the end of the day, advertising is saying that you’re good, but public relations is getting someone else, in essence, to say it for you. Anytime you’re interviewed, you’re not just perceived as an expert, but you’re elevated to an authority in your industry.”
High level entrepreneurs often look for a direct ROI from talk show appearances, but successful public relations is not measured in the same way that a successful marketing campaign is measured. Overall, getting on a TV talk show and leveraging it correctly, can give an entrepreneur the instant know, like, and trust factor with potential clients or customers that can ultimately seal the deal on purchasing decisions.
Marianne Schwab has worked as a producer for over 25 years in New York and Los Angeles. She is currently the Executive Producer of CMP Media Cafe where she works with clients to develop compelling media hooks and story angles that get them TV and radio interviews in today’s complicated media environment. She shares tips on Instagram and has created an online training that shares her insider secrets to promoting a business on TV talk shows and details the types of guests producers love to book as guests.