How to Pitch to Talk Show Producers

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on_the_airWe all know that landing a five minute segment on Oprah or the Today Show can be a life changing experience. But how do you go about getting on a talk show in the first place?

1.) Have a Good Story – Talk shows are extremely limited in the content they can air, yet everyone wants a piece of the television pie. In order to stand out, your story must really resonate with the talk show’s audience. No matter if you’re a celebrity, podiatrist, or plumber, you have a chance of getting on a talk show if your story is interesting enough.  This works especially well if you are famous or controversial.

2.) Pitch a Segment Idea, Not Your Product – One of the biggest rookie mistakes people make when pitching talk show producers is to say something like “I’ve written this book and I’d love to come on your show and talk to you about it.” This strategy leaves all the work of creating an entertaining segment to the producer, and producers are already overworked. Instead of merely pitching your product, pitch a show idea involving around your product. A sex therapist could take reader questions, for example, or a chef could do a cooking segment with the host.

3.) Prove Yourself – What would you say to someone who comes up to you on the street, says he’s a famous doctor and asks to perform an operation on you? You’d be pretty skeptical, right? Talk show producers deal with unknown quantities like this every day. Don’t just say you’re an expert, back it up with proof, such as references or your book or website.

4.) Decide How to Pitch – Some experts recommend just calling the producer, while others recommend sending a pitch letter first and then following up via phone. Different producers will have different preferences, but a general rule of thumb is that emails are easy to delete while a person on the other end of the phone line is hard to ignore.

Male Bullhorn

5.) Test Your Pitch – If you do plan to get a talk show producer on the line, don’t stammer, stutter or forget your name. (Yes, it happens.) Write your pitch down and practice it on a friend before making the call.

6.) Call at the Best Time – You don’t want to be the voice on the other end of the phone gamely pitching your show idea while the producer is simultaneously trying to capture an escaped duck and downplay the host’s embarrassing pimple. Try to find out the show’s schedule and call when the show isn’t filming. This can be easier said than done, but if all else fails, try to get a receptionist on the line. If you’re nice, he or she will often help you out.

We’ve all heard the story of the product that went viral after a demonstration on Oprah or the singer whose album sales skyrocketed after they played at Rockefeller Center on the Today Show. That could be you. All you have to do is pitch.

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (, the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here:

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