5 Tips For Working With Talk Shows

May 2, 2012

Working with the ever changing landscape of talk shows means that you have to constantly keep up with who’s in, who’s out and who’s new on the block. As this talk show season comes to an end, sadly, The Martha Stewart Show, The Nate Berkus Show and The Revolution will fold and newcomers The Chew and ANDERSON gain pace, while Katie Couric and Bethenny Frankel wait patiently in the wings.

So, before you plan your client’s campaign that includes talk shows as targets, check out these 5 tips to make sure you know how to “Talk The Talk.”

  1. Take the Lead: The lead time for working with talks shows is more of an art than a science. Generally speaking, the longer the lead time the better, but using at least 4-6 weeks as a general rule of thumb will help guide your planning process. Also, keep in mind that after shows go on summer hiatus, they begin planning their Fall line-up in late July and August. Most producers are back at work accepting pitches for consideration at that time.
  2. Don’t Get Swept Away: Sweeps! When planning your client’s programs, make sure you are taking into account the National Broadcast Sweeps Period. At this point in time shows directly compete with one another to have A-list talent on and big, flashy giveaways. Check out Nielsen’s Web site (http://www.nielsen.com/content/dam/corporate/us/en/public%20factsheets/tv/2011-2012-Sweeps-Dates.pdf) to make sure you are aware of the year-long Sweeps schedule for planning.
  3. Triple Talent Threat: When identifying spokespeople for client’s programs that talk shows would be receptive to, it’s great to have a triple threat. Meaning that, they are A, B or C+ (J) List, are currently linked to something going on in pop culture whether that be a trend, TV Show, book, etc., and that they have other projects professionally or personally going on that they can speak to in addition to your brand’s campaign or initiative. Having those three elements will significantly increase a spokesperson’s appeal for being booked. Also, keep in mind that tape times for each talk show differ, so having flexibility in a spokesperson’s contract to accommodate this is helpful.
  4. Give it Up: As brands desire to make their mark with a talk show audience, specifically with something seasonal, promotional or product oriented, having an A-List guest to offer isn’t your only way in. Consider offering products and services as audience giveaways to heighten awareness of your brand at key points throughout the year. Not every show requires big integration fees.
  5. Call to Action: When developing client programs, keep in mind that all talk shows will typically only allow one branded campaign message. Make sure you craft this message to highlight a strong call to action for the viewers. Make sure that the message is laid out clearly in your pitch, so the producer is aware of what the desired on-air mention is from the beginning.

Erica is a Vice President, Senior Media Specialist and is based out of Ketchum’s New York office.