Talking Heads

By Stephanie Young
It’s no secret that becoming a sought-after expert in the media can work wonders for promoting your business. But before you consider approaching Oprah, you need to prepare yourself to get booked on a local radio or TV talk show first. Whether you are a business owner or a new author — we’ll show you what it takes to pitch a hot idea to the show’s producer, give a great interview, and get invited back.

Steve Harrison, co-founder of, offers the following tips and strategies on how to become the kind of media expert that producers will want to book again and again on their show:

Sell a show idea instead of a product. “People try to approach the producer the same way they approach a prospect,” says Harrison. You don’t want to sell your product to the producer; you want to sell yourself as a guest. Ask yourself, “What is it that you can talk about that can be of interest to a talk show?”

Tie into something timely. Having a creative, yet timely element can help boost your chances of getting publicity in any form of media. One of Harrison’s clients, who owns a ghostwriting business, was booked on Fox News via a pitch about which presidential candidates gave the most credit to their ghostwriters.

Find a hook. A hook is a phrase or statement that will capture your audience’s attention. A good hook should factor in the viewer or listener benefit, such as saving time or money. Differentiate yourself by talking about what other experts on your topic are not talking about.

Be captivating, not important. Sharon R. Pinder, special secretary of minority affairs for Maryland’s Governor’s Office, hosts the So You Want to be An Entrepreneur? Let’s Chat! radio show. “We look for compelling stories, the unsung heroes; the people who you just don’t read or hear about,” she says.

Prepare for counteraction. “Determine the reasons the media might not want to do the interview so you can address these head-on,” says Harrison. Getting media training is an important aspect that publicity seekers should consider.

Follow up appropriately. A phone call to producers is beneficial because they want to know how you sound. Instead of asking if the producer received any press material you sent, simply remind them that you sent the material.