Nearly every brand we work with would like top-tier broadcast interviews. They are a tremendous awareness-building opportunity. Broadcast provides broad reach to key audiences – whether business decision-makers and investors through CNBC or mainstream consumers via Good Morning America.
Broadcast appearances validate a company and its spokespeople as thought and market leaders. The chance to provide your company’s voice during major industry or national news, and potentially define the role your company is playing, can positively impact credibility, trust and growth.
But how do brands secure a broadcast appearance, especially if they’re not as widely known as Apple or Amazon? And once a broad interview is secured, how do you make sure spokespeople are prepared? Here are our top three tips.
Align with breaking & trending news
Unless you are Jeff Bezos or Tim Cook, you are likely not going to have the opportunity to speak on television solely about your company or product. Broadcast media are the top of the totem pole for many businesses, but they are also the hardest to pitch. They are extremely selective and you have to offer something unique. Before pitching broadcast first identify:
- What news of the day can our company offer perspective on?
- Does my expert/company fit in to what they are already talking about?
- What can we offer them that they can’t get themselves?
- What points of credibility can we provide, for our company and spokespeople?
Remember, broadcast typically covers timely, breaking news, and to get on a show you must fit that mold. Is there some unique tidbit about your organization that can be leveraged to a larger idea? Or maybe a subject matter expert has a background that would qualify them to speak on a trending, news-of-the-day topic. These are good thought-processes to have when approaching broadcast media.
Understand the broadcast media landscape
Reaching the right people is key in the pitching phase. If you’re offering someone to speak in-studio you want to target producers and assignment managers. If you are offering something on-site or promoting an event you want to target reporters. Either way, you’ll likely need to follow up with these contacts by phone. Broadcast media get a ton of email. From firsthand experience, we can say producers only look at about ¼ of them.
Having a solid grasp on what different shows and networks require of guests is also critical. Producers at CNBC’s Squawk Box, for example, have a very high bar for guests – they typically look for CEOs at publicly-traded companies with a market cap of $500 million or more. Most shows prefer guests who have a proven ability of public speaking. If they do well, they are often asked on again as repeat guests.
Finally, broadcast reporters and producers are typically on a tight deadline, compiling multiple segments at a time. They need to confirm guests quickly, and guests must be prepared to go to a studio (live or a local affiliate to sattelite in) on very short notice. Opportunities are often lost if spokespeople cannot accommodate both of these necessities.
Preparing your spokespeople
A show wants to put your expert on-air. Now what? Hopefully your spokesperson is media trained. Even if so, a broadcast media refresher is in need, especially if this is a live interview. Your spokesperson must hit the mark, be succinct and be engaging. They only have one chance to get it right and one opportunity to work in key messages about their company or platform. Practice makes perfect and perfect means practice.
Prepare 2-3 key messages, sound bites, and bridges and hooks. Think through and practice responses for potential difficult questions that may arise and subjects you want to steer clear of. Make sure to read the news the morning-of and right before the appearance. If there’s anything relevant to your sector or interview topic, it’s likely the anchors will ask.
Also remember, your spokesperson is part of the story. The audience is not only listening to what they have to say, but also watching how they say it. Ensure your spokesperson is coached to dress the part, act energized, avoid fidgeting and for other best practices to ensure the message isn’t diluted by a sub-par performance. Television can be intimidating but remember, it’s a conversation and expert guests can guide it when relevant.
If you have questions or need help media training your spokespeople, contact us today.