Monday, December 16, 2019

Tips to Become a Television Guest

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Hosting a television show on puppetry fell into my lap when the original host backed out. Then I discovered I needed to reapply for the grant and produce the next season of shows. I did this until I moved away. My experience made it fairly easy to get booked as a guest. Since I’ve experienced both sides of talk shows, let me share tips on becoming a guest on television.

Video and Interview Experience
TV hosts need content and that means guests. They dread guests who might clam up, talk too much, or don’t engage the audience. They prefer guests with experience. It doesn’t need to be TV experience. A few radio interviews, great video clips, FB live, and experience as a speaker showcases ability. 

Build a list of credits that include FB live, guest blog posts, podcast, and radio interviews plus speaking engagements. Add endorsements from audiences and meeting planners.

Create Talking Points
List topics related to your book that can be discussed in a few sentences or minutes. Consider various audiences (mons, older women, unbelievers, evangelists, business commuters) and think topics of interest to each group. 

For each point, think of solutions that touch different audiences, such as the parent who travels or deploys, grandparents, and ministry leaders. Think of what they most want related to your topic and add those as talking points.

Create a Press Kit
Gather photos, endorsements, links to video clips, and published profiles. Write a description of the book or grab one your publisher wrote. Write your bio in about three forms and a few different lengths. Have a short one and a longer one. Write ones for your target reading audience, writers, career men and women, and a more general audience or secondary audience.

Put it all together for the target audience. Paste a short bio at the top plus your photo. Add the book description followed with suggested questions. Pull questions come from your talking points. Create about ten questions that lead into the talking points. 

Follow the above material with links to interviews or video clips. Alter the kit for specific audiences by changing the bio, questions, and links.

Post the main press kit information on a press kit area of your web site. Below the press kit info, add buttons for additional bios and talking points for various audiences.

Check the Station Website 
Look over a station’s website and note local programming that includes guests. Note when they air, length guests are on (these are segments), colors of the set (so you can wear appropriate colors that won’t clash) and learn the names and talking styles of hosts. Listen to the introductions, questions, and how the host responds to answers. Do they dig deeper or move on to another talking point? All that information helps you know how to pitch and how to react when you are a guest.

Check the website for guest applications. Many have a form for you to fill out. If so, that’s the way they prefer to have you pitch your appearance. Fill it out with your best pitch (talking pints) that match their audience.

Pitch Yourself
Consider what most interests the station’s audience and what hot topics of discussion. Use those to create a pitch. Avoid pitching the book. Instead, share ideas that show you’ll engage in a conversation of interest to the audience. Trust that if viewers are interested, they will check the station’s website and google your name to find your website, books, and more.

For my newest book 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve I have a number of possibilities. I can approach the idea of developing a servant heart in our family members and that’s needed in a me-first world. I can pitch to places with high military audiences the concept of helping our children when a parent serves in their community or nation. I can also consider the political climate of anger where law enforcement and others are disrespected. Each of those needs a different pitch. For each slant, I can include one suggested question in my general press kit that alerts a host or producer to the fact that I can address those areas. One of those may connect more with the host who knows the audience well.

Follow up a pitch you email a few weeks later with a follow up email or possibly a call to the station manager. If you are very new in writing and interviews, consider hiring a publicist. All your work will make it easy for that professional to start and consider that you are ready to be a guest. The publicist will tweak your press kit and make suggestions.

Bookings and Preparations
Be available for interviews when the book releases. Send out the press kits a month ahead of the release. Ask if they would like a review copy and send the names and addresses to your publisher or publicist. You want to respond yes whenever an interview is requested. If you are already booked, reply with enthusiasm and suggested alternate dates.

Television is a wonderful way to connect with your audience in their homes. Focus on sharing from your heart to bring them hope.

Tips to Become a Television Guest - @KarenHWhiting on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting