Recently a friend and I were discussing social media and the fact that everyone now thinks they can be an expert because they have a blog or a large number of Facebook or Twitter followers. While it’s true that followers count for something, it’s false to believe your large quantity of followers makes you an expert.
I’ve been asked time and time again …“What does it take to get booked as an expert on TV?”
Television producers are constantly on the lookout for “new” experts. While we love our tried and true personalities, it’s always exciting to find the “new” great expert. Producers are inundated daily with pitches from PR people for their clients who are experts in a field. However, most of the time the pitches are off base; we don’t consider the expert. Since producers are under tight deadlines it’s easier to move on and book someone they already know. As for myself, if I already have a working relationship with the PR person, even with a bad pitch I might take a second look at the expert.
What makes someone an expert?
An expert fills out a segment in several different ways including: delivering additional facts, current information on a topic and in some cases instructional guidance. Academic credentials and affiliations, most likely, will place you in the expert circle. Personally, I believe an abundant number of years in a field is equivalent to speak as an expert.
When I first met Jill Brooke in 2007, her expertise was divorce. She was the on-air talent for a a three-part series for CBS News “The Early Show.” As a seasoned television personality, Jill already had a history of television and print exposure and she had a wealth of knowledge and contacts on the topic of divorce. If she couldn’t address a divorce topic herself, she knew who to ask.
Jill sent me an email yesterday describing her evolution into an expert, “Eighteen years ago I was a CNN correspondent and married someone with two kids and a very present ex-wife. Being research oriented, I realized there wasn’t enough data on blended families and decided to make divorce and the unraveling of families, while respecting history and each other, my focus. I also became a stepfamily coach training under the legendary Jeanette Lofas.”
Today, Jill has added a new area of expertise. “I specialize in divorce and now adult bullying with my new book, The Need to Say No: How to Be Bullish and Not Bullied. Subsequently, I started to look at adult bullying because often divorced parents fight for popularity contests and sadly the weakest and less cash-rich often suffer.”
I asked her why she chose this new expertise and she responded, “I knew right away because so few were reporting on it….and even with my new book, news organizations ranging from CBS to ABC’s “World News Tonight” covered adult bullying because the focus has always been on kids as though adults don’t experience it.” Jill saw a need, did her homework and created a new expertise.
In the recent blog post “How to Be Perceived as an Expert in Your Field” by Michael Hyatt, he states, “everyone is an expert at something.” I agree with Hyatt who believes if you Own It, Declare It, Share it, Prove It and finally Sell It and you will become the expert of It.
Once you’ve developed your expertise , how do you get on a producer’s booking radar?
Below are my top tips on ways to get noticed by a producer as well as two of Michael Hyatt’s steps, sharing and selling your expertise, that will help producer’s find you.
Google Is Your Friend
As an expert, Google is your friend. Producers google everything including possible experts to interview. They research and read what is being said and written about you. So share and sell yourself enough to come up in the google search.
Get your name in print
Whether it’s a blog post, newspaper, or magazine we will find it if it’s online. Once we read your name, in print, it increases your value. Oh, and make sure it’s good print.
Get your face on video
Producers want to see video of you to see how you handle yourself on camera. I urge aspiring TV experts to create your own video, shoot your own interviews and testimonials and put it on your own YouTube channel. Label it correctly and producers will find you.
Be Ready and Available 24/7
Producers need experts 24/7 so make yourself easy to find and readily available. If you have a website, make sure all your contact information is clearly visible. If a producer can reach you at 2am to do a segment for 7am in the morning AND you do a good job; you are in and will automatically be put on the go to “expert” list.
Appear on TV
I know this is a tricky one. But yes, if a producer sees you on another show and you do a great job then we will track you down to book you and you become an instant “hot” commodity. Your ultimate goal as an expert is to get on television. I strongly believe in media training, refining your pitch and and exploring television placement. All you need is one good appearance and you will get on some producer’s radar.
Finally, I agree with Michael Hyatt who strongly advises against “faking” your expertise. Nothing is worse than getting caught “faking” your expertise during a television interview. With millions of people watching, your credibility, the show’s credibility and the producer’s credibility is on the line. “Faking” it is a sure guarantee that you will not be invited back.
To schedule a consultation to get “ON-AIR” ready, head on over here and schedule your appointment today!
TV/Social Media Producer Debbie Mitchell is an Emmy nominated producer who is a member of the Producers Guild of America (PGA). She is currently a member of the James Beard Broadcast and New Media Awards Committee. If you are interested in “ Book Case TV” or are a brand interested in Social TV, blogger outreach campaigns, or a blogger or personality interested in television placement follow Debbie Mitchell@SocialTVDeb and/or email SocialTVDeb@gmail.com.
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