Guest post by Clint Arthur
Before I appeared on TV the first time, I remember thinking to myself, Why would anybody want to put me on the news? I’m an unknown middle-age guy. I’m not a celebrity, not a movie star, not a politician. I have no TV experience. My book is self-published. So why would any producer want me?
But money is an amazing thing. I agreed to pay a publicist $1,500 for every local TV interview she got me, and a week later I received this email: “Congratulations! Just booked you on ABC15 Phoenix TV Friday, January 29, 2010.”
And after that one, three more followed in short order. I ended up paying that publicist $6,000 for my first four interviews. She was thrilled. I turned out to be pretty horrible on all 4 shows. Didn’t even budge the needle for my book on Amazon.
After posting the 4th video clip on YouTube, I was faced with a tough decision. As a businessman I had a hard time rationalizing an ROI of zero, but I knew that becoming great at TV interviews was important to my career as a writer. So I decided to do the only thing that made sense: I learned how to book myself on local TV shows.
It took months of trial and error, but I finally broke the code. Since then I’ve booked 31 interviews in cities all across America, including Las Vegas, New Orleans, San Diego, Albuquerque, Boston, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Making so many appearances and getting onto such big market stations has helped me to promote my books all the way to #1 on Amazon.
Once I knew what I was doing it got so easy that I started teaching my friends and business associates my tricks and secrets, and now my students have booked themselves in Connecticut, Virginia, Arkansas, Memphis, Atlanta, St. Louis, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York!
It turns out that it’s better to book yourself on local TV shows than to hire a publicist.
1. Booking yourself is free. All it takes is time and phone-calls. You can do it, or you can have an assistant or secretary do it for you.
2. Booking yourself gives you the opportunity to audition for a producer right there on the phone, and using this form of instant audition you can often get booked on the spot.
3. Booking yourself allows you to respond and modify your pitch to meet a producer’s needs. Two authors who teach people how to make toasts switched gears when a Las Vegas producer didn’t have time in her schedule prior to New Year’s Eve. They modified their pitch to work for early January and got booked for CBS News Las Vegas on January 2, 2011.
4. You care more about your career. It’s better to book yourself because you actually care more about your career than publicists who only care about their careers. You don’t have to be wise King Solomon to know that nobody really cares about anyone beside themselves.
5. When you are booking yourself, you have more certainty. If producers are saying “No,” at least you really know that they are saying no. When my publicist told me “Good Morning America isn’t interested in you,” I always wondered if Good Morning America ever actually heard about me?
6. When you book yourself, you get to maintain total control over your relationship with the producers. Great relationships with producers have resulted in my eight appearances on Fox 5 San Diego, repeat appearances three times in Las Vegas, four times in Houston, and twice in both Chicago and Boston.
7. You can switch pitches. If you have more than one area of expertise and a producer says no to one pitch, you can instantly switch to another pitch while you’ve got her on the phone. You can make a second pitch for yourself, but a publicist will probably pitch a different client.
8. Local TV producers will actually book you off a voicemail message. I got booked on ABC Chicago my first time like that.
9. Local TV producers will book you off an email. Once you have the right media assets properly displayed on your website, you can get booked in major markets simply by sending out a segment proposal in an email. In the last two weeks I’ve appeared in Dallas (#5 Neilsen Market) and Los Angeles (#2 Neilsen Market) as a result of emails that I sent to producers who had never spoken to me prior to meeting me in their studios.
When I started booking myself on TV interviews, I was originally intimidated and shy about pitching. After all, who was I to be calling up these producers? And wasn’t it egotistical of me to pitch myself? I had a lot of insecurities, but as the number of interviews increased, I’ve come to realize this is perfectly acceptable.
Along the way I’ve met other authors who also book themselves.
Stephanie Ashcroft has done more than 1,000 local TV news interviews, and credits this publicity with helping to make her book 101 Things to Do with Cake Mix a New York Times bestseller.
Since releasing my New TV Power training program in September, I’ve taught hundreds of students how to start working their way up the ladder of local TV shows and into the major leagues of top 10 markets and national television shows.
Veronica Grey started New TV Power on October 26, 2011, and has done ten TV interviews to promote her three books and her independent movie since taking the course.
If you’re an entrepreneur, author, speaker, coach, seminar leader, filmmaker, or anyone with a message that needs to be shared with the world, local TV news is a wonderful forum to get the word out. It’s also a great way to hone your craft of being a great television interviewee, so when the big day comes and Good Morning America calls you, you won’t suck.
You can promote any book or product on TV. If you don’t have a product, you can use TV news interviews to position yourself as an expert. Alan Ladd of InterviewTheBest.com doesn’t have a book to back up his credentials, but nevertheless has appeared on Fox Los Angeles three times as an expert on how to get a job. Now he’s an expert because Fox LA News says he is.
Booking yourself on local TV interviews is a wide open playing field. The producers need you to fill time on their air. As long as you know how to give them what they need how they want it, they’ll be happy to let you use their shows to position yourself as an expert, build your platform, and promote your products/services.
Instead of asking yourself Who am I to want to be on TV? A much better question is What am I waiting for?
About the Author
Clint Arthur has used his New TV Power system to publicize his books What They Teach You At The Wharton Business School, The Last Year Of Your Life, The Income Doubler, and Daddy Loves You on TV shows across America, and has been a featured speaker on the topic of local TV interviews at The National Publicity Summit, Author 101 University, and the Quantum Leap Program.
Get three free training videos on how to book yourself on local TV at http://www.FreeTVPublicity.com.