If you got an email today from a local news station asking to interview you as an expert on camera about one of your specialty areas for a news story, how would you respond? Surprisingly, many therapists let the opportunity to speak on camera for a large audience pass them by because of their own anxieties and insecurities about being on camera.
Landing interviews on local news and talk shows allows thousands of people “get to know you,” hear about your areas of expertise, and become aware of your private practice.
In my experience, the most effective marketing and public relations opportunities for my private practice are the ones I don’t have to pay for, where someone else is featuring me as an expert, where I can reach thousands and thousands of people in one shot with accurate information, and where I can let them know that I am in private practice. Several years ago I decided I wanted to not just accept invitations to interview on TV but to actively seek them out and gain media experience. Over the past few years I’ve become a regular contributor on Utahs #1 women’s lifestyle show KSL TV’s Studio 5, as well as being interviewed frequently for various news stories. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the process to help you land local TV interviews in your area in order to educate your community and to draw potential clients to your private practice.
When pitching stories or interview topics to local TV stations it’s crucial to know what they’re looking for. The fact that you’re going into private practice specializing in family therapy isn’t newsworthy, but news and other TV shows might be interested in getting your thoughts on a new study showing how cultivating self-compassion helps individuals manage divorce. Last week I was invited to share my thoughts on KSL TV evening news on the topic of interest to families – “Can a playground be too safe?” This story was prompted by a recent story published in the New York Times.
MediaCollege.com defines a story as newsworthy if it has the following characteristics:
Timing – News is all about stories that are current and new.
Significance – Something that affects large numbers of people.
Proximity – An event happening close to home.
Prominence – Involves someone famous or well-known.
Human Interest – Appeals to emotion, novel, off-beat, interesting.
When pitching to media you need to speak their language, which means learning how to write a press release.
TV reporters, producers, and journalists are extremely busy and always on a deadline. They don’t have time to calm your anxiety or to walk you through the interview process.
In upcoming articles I’ll give tips on how to look and sound good on camera, how to maximize your TV interviews to draw potential clients to your practice, and tips to turn a one time TV appearance into a regular gig.
Have you been on local TV? I’d love to hear about your experience. How did it go? What do you wish you’d known beforehand? If you have any questions for me feel free to comment below or ask me on Twitter @Julie_Hanks or contact me directly here.
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Last reviewed: 2 Nov 2011