You’ve spent countless hours dreaming, sketching and fine tuning your product. It’s ready to launch and now you’re wondering how to get the word out about it. In a stroke of mad genius you think “If I could only get on the Today Show or get discovered by Steve Harvey!”
The truth is it takes hard work and diligence to catch the eye of busy producers but you can crack the code by remembering a few of my “Don’ts.”
Every product has a 60 second elevator pitch but now you must distill that enthusiasm into pleasing sound bites. Once you’ve mastered your printed pitch you’re ready to send it off to the gate keepers known as the Guest Bookers or Producers. These are the talent scouts who vet every product to find experts for their TV shows.
Here Are the Top 3 Don’ts:
#3 Don’t Send Your Pitch Without Doing Your Homework
There are several sites such as Cision, Meltwater, and Media Contacts Pro which will gladly sell you a list of press contacts. While these services are valuable please steer away from the dreaded mass mailing of your pitch.
When honing your product you went through a painstaking process of narrowing down your customer base. The same process is necessary when sending out a pitch. It’s better to choose your audience carefully than to throw it against the wall and see what sticks.
For example: from time to time I vet pitches promoting violent video games and movies. While some may lean towards that genre it would not be appropriate for the family friendly shows with a median audience of kindergartners and their moms.
Know Your Audience!
#2 Do Not Harass the Guest Booker
Pitching your product can be a time consuming project but your enthusiasm can easily cross the line between persistent enthusiasm and pestilence.
Find a way to link your business to a news peg and I guarantee your chances of getting booked will jump. For instance, if you are creating a special red themed line then January/February is your perfect target time because of marketability with Valentine’s Day.
Contacting a booker twice a week with different subject lines will help your visibility in her inbox–BUT daily emails, three follow up calls and trolling her private Facebook account may get you banned!
And the number one thing you DON’T want to do when sending your pitch is…drumroll please…
#1 Don’t Send a Pitch Without Checking Spelling and Clickable Links
Recently, I was invited to a wonderful conference and as I clicked the links to register the website veered off into another unrelated site. This was a quick fix, I simply reached out to my contact to make them aware of the error and within 24 hours their site was refreshed and ready for business. However, in the world of guest booking missteps like these will relegate you to the back of the line.
Guest bookers are searching for content and industry experts. Your product may solve the worldwide water crisis by using locally sourced fabrics but you will not make it past the first round of vetting if you misspell the name of the booker or the media outlet. I deal with this all the time, having a unique name like Alegra, I’m often called Algeria or Algebra. Yes, you can laugh. I have tough skin but some bookers are sticklers and if you do not have these basics mastered then you’ve already lost points.
We live in a high tech, high octane environment so many people are willing to overlook mistakes in text messages as a faux pas by Siri but when it comes down to a well written pitch you must slow down and get it right.
Television bookers receive hundreds, even thousands of pitches each month. You want to stand out from the crowd but not because of an 8th grade spelling mistake.
In this same stream, please add links to your pitch and make sure they work. I highly suggest you having some sort of video content if you want to get on television. It can be a simple Youtube page with a 3-minute video of you hard at work on your production line or meeting with manufacturers. A booker must be able to see you in action.
If you are linking to pictures of your work, a website, or a blog post please test each link before you send it out.
Always put your best foot forward when presenting your product. You are responsible for your brand. One of the worst things you can do is not handle the basics. It is important to remember the old adage “Your first impression is the last impression.” So remember these three “don’ts” when pitching your product for television!
Alegra Hall is a Producer and Guest Booker with more than a dozen years in media. Alegra has vetted thousands of guests for TV, radio, print and social media interviews. She is also the editor of Living Wisely Magazine. Alegra@mymediabuzztv.com, @MyMediaBuzz or facebook.com/MyMediaBuzzLLC.