TV appearances were never on my bucket list.
Until I became an author, that is.
After writing Breathe, Mama, Breathe and hearing from women all over the world just how much it helped positively transform their experience of motherhood, I wanted to reach as many moms as possible. TV was an effective medium in which to do this.
Recently, a number of wonderfully ambitious women have asked me how to get featured in the media. I promised to share what’s worked for me:
Writing a book.
Speaking to a timely topic.
Pitch a handful of bite-sized practical tips that solve a common problem.
Pitch article ideas to online and print magazines.
(BTW, like the majority of the human race, I was not always comfortable with public speaking. I worked long and hard on this skill and have since grown to love it. Read more about how I boosted my confidence HERE.)
I also decided to go the source and posed the question to two local powerhouse TV Anchor/Reporters to get their take. Here’s what they had to say:
Brittany Sweeney, Journalist/Anchor/Reporter at PBS 39:
The best thing to do is reach out directly to the reporter—it’s always helpful from a reporter standpoint when a story comes to you. We are constantly looking for content (especially local story ideas) and if you make it easy for the reporter to connect with you, the easier it is to get on air. I suggest making a phone call and sending an email. Don't be afraid to follow up if you don't hear back, a reporter's inbox is always full and they may have just not read your email yet.
Karin Mallett, Anchor/Reporter at WFMZ-TV:
When I’m looking for a guest segment, I want something that appeals to a wide variety of people—a fresh idea, something I haven’t seen before. Tell me why I need to know this… what makes it useful, helpful, unique. Even if it’s an “old” idea or something we’ve heard before, make it your own.
Make your pitch visual. In a TV medium, we are always looking for the visuals. Even if you are more of a talking/sit down interview, send some bullet points I can use for a graphic, or photos or HORIZONTAL video (never VERTICAL video like all the ones I have on my iPhone) I can use for the segment to illustrate your point.
If you want us to cover a specific event, make sure the info is spelled out in the press release in a simple manner. The who, what, when and where with a contact name and cell phone number so we can easily copy and paste the info into our computerized assignment lists.
Bo Koltnow, Anchor/Reporter WFMZ-TV (and honorary empowered woman who never lets me forget the men in the audience :)) weighed in, as well:
How it’s pitched is important. Grab our attention in the FIRST sentence. We get A LOT of emails. Make it relevant to something happening now, that would also be relevant to have on the show, and tie it to an actual event if possible.
Thank you, Brittany, Karin, and Bo for continually bringing us informative, engaging content, modeling fierce empowerment, and taking the time to share your tips with us.
Okay, all of you ambitious women out there…Get pitching! And be sure to let us know when your segment airs.