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Getting ready for your national broadcast interview

Fire "Captain Bob" Smith

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I've had several requests asking how I got on the TV show "The View". Answer: BE READY when the opportunity comes your way.

Here are some tips how on to get ready:

  • Get media training. A good resource is You're on the Air by Brian Jud, 800/562-4357, http://www.marketingdirections.com. Joe Sabah, 303/722-7200, has a complete listing of radio talk show contacts.

  • Learn how to speak in ten- to forty-second sound bite answers. This will dramatically improve your speaking career.

  • Do as many media interviews as possible to hone your skills. There are more than 1400 radio talk shows with a voracious 24-hour appetite for guests. Many have open line programming. Just pick up the phone and call in. I've done more than 117 radio interviews. Here are resources to get media bookings: Paul Krupin faxes your press release to 2000 media contacts. 800/457-8746, http://www.owt.com/dircon/.

  • Have a one-page, killer-hook, compelling press release with a timely topic that captures the producers to want to book you now! Have a selection of questions the host can use. Most of my interviews were conducted right off the suggested questions. You can check out several press releases on the speaker booking information section of my Web site: http://www.eatstress.com and Paul Krupin's Web Site: http://www.owt.com/dircon/.

  • At first I was trying to push my book. Then I realized, "It's not the book, stupid!" It's the many ways you can pitch your material to hook the producer into wanting to book you. Like many other relationship authors, I was trying to get interviews for Valentine's Day. The press release went out with "Get Everything You Want From the Opposite Sex." We weren't getting much response. Then the Clinton-Monica story broke. We immediately changed the press release to: "President Clinton's Situation. Could it Happen to You!" Immediate bookings.

  • A phone interview is called a phoner. A media service in NYC picked up the press release and changed it to read: "Phoner Boner." More bookings.

  • Record all your interviews. You never know when the magic is going to happen. If a phone interview, get a $5 suction microphone from Radio Shack. It hooks onto your phone and plugs into your tape recorder.

  • For television, ask the station what type videotape they require to make a copy for you. Take the tape to the studio with you. Have more than one person at different locations record your presentation at home. If you're out of town for a local show, have the concierge at your hotel tape it, or get a VCR in your room and slip a tape in before you leave for the show. Bring plenty of autographed books to the studio to be viewed on TV and given away to the staff.

  • Once you have TV footage, make a clip to send out to other shows to gain bookings.

  • Consider a publicist. I recommend Kate Bantos at KSB Promotions, 616/676-0758. Kate is reasonable. She is unique because you can get as involved in the process as much as you want.

  • Know the demographics of the shows you target. Why would you want to get on Jerry Springer or Sally Jessy Raphael when many of the audience probably can't read and will never buy your book? The target market for "The View" is stay-at-home moms. I had many eager people wanting me to place them in touch with the producer to get on the show. None of them had anything to pitch to the stay-at-home moms.

  • The producers are looking for guests who can be controversial and can mix it up with the hosts. You still have to remember who the star is. No, it's not you. (Someone that doesn't just deliver facts and statistics.) Be the guest who can personalize your story with a passion for what you do, so the audience can relate.

  • Have a compelling 30-second pitch you can give people when they ask you what you do or leave on a voice mail.

  • If the opportunity presents itself, send a press kit containing press releases, audio and video clips, bio, testimonial letters and a photo.

  • Amazon.com has a special "Advantage Program" for self-published authors. "The View" linked their ABC.com site to mine. As visitors came in to order my book, I linked them directly to my Amazon.com page. After the show, Amazon.com was placing an order a day. We went from #236,000 on the list to #8200! Since many book buyers prefer purchasing their books through Amazon.com, I have left that option available on my Web site. Sign up at http://www.amazon.com/advantage

  • Have your press releases and bio on your Web site or subscribe to a service. If the show has a Web site, have them link to yours before the segment airs.

  • Have a tag line at the end of each e-mail you send out with a trail back to you.

  • Be flexible. The last week before our show, they changed the content four times. The morning of the show, they changed some of the content again and added an additional host. As the show started, one of the hosts told a story about shopping with her boy friend. We were watching it live in the dressing room. The segment producer asked if I could handle the topic. I said, "Yes!" It was added to the segment.

  • You might be pre-empted. If so, be gracious and hope you're asked back.

  • The most important thing is to have fun. You're a published author; the expert in your field. No one can take this away from you. You have earned this opportunity. You know it's real when you arrive at the airport and the limo driver is waiting with a sign with your name on it. Let the games begin. Keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times.

  • The moment comes when you come out of the green room onto the stage where they are changing the set during commercial break. This is for all the marbles. It's just like the bright lights of Broadway. The curtain is going up. You have put on your top hat, grabbed your cane and stepped out. Everything you have done up to today has prepared you for this opportunity. You hope to do a good enough job so you will be invited back. We were in the green room after our segment and the producer said, "'Captain Bob' you've done a wonderful job. We want you to come back."

  • Don't forget to send personalized thank-you cards and flowers for the big opportunities. You never know where these producers will work next.

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions