Getting TV exposure for your company is a bit like being a contestant on the X Factor. You're one of thousands trying to be seen and heard, and how you look, what you say and how you say it are all important considerations.
So how do you make sure you're the one with the voice everyone wants to hear? In this article, we'll take a look at some of the best ways to generate TV coverage for your business that shows you in a positive light and helps cement your position as a thought leader in your chosen field.
If your aim is to get your message across on TV news, there are a few key ways to improve your chances of making it on to the news agenda:
- Be newsworthy – and relevant - to the media outlet you're targeting – a solo singer in their 30s wouldn't try to get into Gary Barlow's groups category after all. Regional news is always interested in stories that impact on local communities, so large investment plans, new jobs and plans for large building developments are certain to gain a news editor's attention.
If it's an appearance on a national news programme you're after, you face much stiffer competition - but positioning yourself with a news outlet as a thought leader on a particular subject could guarantee you occasional TV exposure over a much longer period. Be knowledgeable, reliable and easy to work with, keep in touch with journalists and you could be asked to appear on a regular basis.
- Understand the medium - TV is about pictures. There's no point having a great tale to tell if there's nothing to see – all you'll get is a couple of lines in a news summary. Offering journalists the opportunity to film an event, or staging one to illustrate your story means you're more likely to get their attention and a slot on the evening news.
Of course, pictures need words and having a key figure who can put across your organisation's messages clearly and concisely is vital. TV news needs sound bites, not speeches. Having someone who can summarise your organisation's message in a couple of sentences is essential if you don't want to end up on the cutting room floor.
- Invest in media training – they say TV stars are born, not made, yet the X Factor model of boot camps and intensive training proves otherwise. Likewise, media training can enable your staff to come across in an effective, authoritative manner on television. Learning and practicing techniques ensures key team members are able to cope with journalists' questions, deliver a message clearly and hold their own in the TV arena.
- Remember looks are important - TV is a visual medium, and as many hopefuls find out at X Factor auditions, first impressions are important. Advice on appearance and body language can help your staff to project the image of a successful, forward-thinking company on-screen. The contrast of a relaxed John F Kennedy and a perspiring Richard Nixon in the 1960 presidential debate is a classic lesson in how image can influence perception.
- Be available – there's nothing a journalist hates hearing more than 'sorry, the CEO can't do an interview today'. If you want exposure, make sure your key spokesperson is available for filmed interviews or appearances in-studio. Being flexible will earn you brownie points and mean you're likely to remain front-of-mind with news organisations.
Finally, it's worth remembering that TV audiences are becoming increasingly fractured. Just as the X Factor has seen viewer figures drop, so TV news programmes are no longer the ‘appointment TV' they once were. Regional TV news will be watched by older viewers, but is pretty much ignored by those in their twenties, who get their news online and record and view programmes at their convenience, rather than watching what the schedulers have planned.
Whilst TV remains an important tool to get your voice heard, it can't be used in isolation and as any successful X Factor finalist will tell you - you can't rely one channel if you want to create a long lasting impact.
What's your experience with generating and participating in TV coverage? Do you have any top tips you'd like to share or think we've missed anything obvious? If so, don't be a stranger and leave us a comment - we're always keen to hear what you have to say.
Images used courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Joe Hall on Flickr.