2018 – You get a call out of the blue, from Fox News, or ABC, or CNN. They want your opinion about the widgets market, and your forecasts, and you are the expert authority. And, they want to interview you, today, in the next few hours, for a segment coming up on the national news tonight. Can you make it into our studio, or can we send a camera crew to your office, or can it we do the interview via Skype?
Sure, you say. You’ll do it. You are excited and flattered, as visions of instant revenues flash in your mind. After all, this is NATIONAL TV exposure, with millions of people watching. So, you get dressed, prepare your comments, and run down to the studio. This could be your big break.
Not so fast. Here’s what usually happens, with local or national media. They interview you for 30-45 minutes, ask you all kinds of questions about the widgets market, some are even relevant. Then the segment gets edited. You don’t know what they kept in or out, and have no control over it. Time is money when it comes to airtime. You return home or to your office, anxiously waiting to see the news on TV that night. Then the surprise. The segment comes on, and that 30 minutes of great comments you gave them gets chopped down a 30-second sound bite. Not quite the exposure you were hoping for.
Yes, national media exposure is good. And, you should be media-friendly as a general rule. It looks good on your resume or website, and adds credibility to say you have been on national TV or cited by a national publication. However, don’t expect the phone to ring off the hook with eager buyers for your product or service because they saw you on TV. It just doesn’t happen. After the broadcast is over, people go back to their regular lives.
With 30-second sound bites, you are lucky if most people even remember your name or company, let alone write it down to follow up on later. The best you can hope for is a longer segment like 20/20 where they devote 20 minutes to a story and you are the expert. Even then, there could me several experts being interviewed and your segment can be short.
When dealing with broadcast, print or online media, always insist that the reporter/writer cite your company as the source for any statistics, forecasts, tables, reports, etc., and that they mention your website or company name. One hand washes the other. Don’t be afraid to ask for the citation, since you are helping them do their job and providing valuable content to them. They need you as much as you need them.
I speak from experience, having appeared on CNN, ABC-TV, Nightline and local news over the past 30 years. In fact, a quote in a well-read magazine or newspaper or website may actually be better exposure, since readers often clip out a story and save it, while TV news is a perishable commodity.
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