As a public relations representative, I’ve arranged over 100 free (called “earned media”) television segments for small businesses and nonprofits. Free segments happen when a story is deemed newsworthy to a producer and is of interest to viewers.
Paid segments are usually taped in advance and can be edited - but they are also often very expensive. When you work with businesses (like I do) that typically don’t have huge budgets, earned media the way to go.
A lot of work goes into a TV segment behind the scenes. A press release and “pitch” with images are sent to a producer and IF their interest in piqued, a segment is coordinated – either at the media outlet’s studio or on location. A lot of things have to happen in order to get that 3.5 minutes worth of airtime, and it usually happens fast.
When a TV producer wants you on a show, it often happens within a few days. Hundreds of businesses are vying for that precious time. If a station is interested in your story, you need to jump on it or risk losing several thousand dollars worth of free exposure. You snooze, you lose.
Being on TV can be exciting, and a bit nerve wracking, but something often happens when a person sees themselves in a segment for the first time.
So, you’ve just been on your local network’s morning show talking about a product, service or event. What usually happens next:
“Wow, that was so much fun. When can I do it again???”
Then, you get to watch the clip:
“OMG, I was horrible!” Then, “Do I really look like that?” or “Oh, I forget to mention …” happens every time.
I always warn clients that they may be shocked the first time they see themselves on TV. It’s human nature. Let’s face it – we are ALL so hard on ourselves, especially women.
But what you see, or think you see, is not what OTHERS see. You are looking at the flaws - others don’t see the flaws that you may be imagining.
When I often tell clients is this:
This first time you see your segment you will probably hate it.
The second time you watch, you will think “hey, that wasn’t so bad.”
The third time, you will say, “you know, I was really pretty good.”
Like anything in life, the more you do it the better you get. I’ve found that even with experienced spokespeople, some key piece of information is forgotten. A few minutes goes by very quickly!
Hey, none of us are perfect. Always be sure to purchase your segment both for your archives and to rewatch it so you can critique your performance and see what you can do better next time.
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