When I travel to speak, if there is any time at all, either before or after the engagement, I try to get a TV, radio or print interview; preferably, all three.
Seeking exposure with the media can be intimidating for beginners and most speakers simply never consider themselves "newsworthy."
However, the fact that you are being paid and having all of your expenses paid to visit that city to share your expertise, makes you an expert and thus, newsworthy.
Here are the steps I took this week when booking interviews in the Minneapolis area. They can be easily modified by you during your next visit to a distant city on a speaking engagement as long as you remember: You ARE newsworthy!
1) Study the venue. Research all the local media that could possibly accommodate a story. I found a good match in a TV Home Show and additionally, found that there was one Christian radio station that had a morning show that did not conflict with the TV show timing. I will try for live interviews on both on a Tuesday morning. (5 AM and 10 AM)
2) Select the best option. I am qualified to do, and prefer doing, Home Shows. Home Shows allow 5 minutes for demo segments while news clips allow up to 60 seconds for interviews. Plus, Home Shows less frequently bump guests to make room for late breaking news.
3) Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
a)Prepare the segment. Figure out what you plan to say... Why should they interview you? If it's a good enough story, you're likely to get on.
b) Prepare your phone message. When you call, ask for the "the person who books guests for _______ (name of segment)." Most of the time you'll get an answering machine - so be ready!
*If you don't know how to do an "elevator speech" or phone answering message that sells, learn how. A teleconference training tape is available from the Christian Women's Speakers Directory online.
c) Prepare yourself. There are few things more terrifying than bright lights, live action cameras in your face, and a lack of preparation. Use your camcorder at home in advance to capture yourself running through your presentation several times-each time check and improve your posture, facial expressions, body language, props, clothing, hair, etc. TV, unlike speaking engagements, provides you with zero time to win friends with your "talk". Your appearance, body language and demeanor are critically important.
You can't be something you are not, but you can definitely prepare to do the best job that YOU can do!
4) Get a Copy of the Tape. Make arrangements for at least one, if not two, people in that viewing area to record your interview. Most stations no longer offer studio copies, or, if they do, they cost up to $100. So, don't feel like you are asking too much of your friends or host organization in the city you are visiting; most people sort of like doing something like this for "a celebrity". Besides, you need it!
Many shows won't consider booking you without one and no bureau can represent you to national media without one.
5) Arrive early. Take the extra minutes to refresh your make-up, set up any type of props you have, and meet the staff (as appropriate). Carefully watch the segments before yours - study the body language between the host, co-host and other guests. Don't focus on it overly, but try to fit in: The viewers of this station are watching "this" station at "this" time of day because they like "this" style.
6) Say thank you. Then send a thank you note. Gush... they don't get enough appreciation!
Public speaking is an effective way to reach a particular group of people. By using your speaking itinerary wisely, you can increase your reach to audiences of millions while improving your visibility, increasing your "expert" status, and gaining experience with the media. It is a win/win situation for those who are willing to do a little extra legwork.
Marnie Swedberg, Webhostess