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It’s Showtime! How to Ace Your TV Appearance

Secrets from a Publicist - How to Ace Your TV Appearance - Andrea Burnett PR


You just got wind that you’re going to be booked for a segment on LIVE with Kelly and Michael (or the Today Show, or The Ellen DeGeneres Show, etc etc). Your first time appearing on national TV in an interview or a demonstration is a huge milestone in any person’s career. You’ve obviously already have some serious talent (as well as a great publicist!) to get you to this point in the game. But as you might expect, there are some things above and beyond your expertise that  can help your on-camera performance to be relaxed, energetic, relatable and ultimately make you look great on the show.

Here are a few of my secrets for going on TV:

ONE: Know thy show

Many times I’ll book my clients on television and they have no idea what the show is, who the hosts are, or how the show operates. I know you don’t sit around all day watching every single show, and can’t be up on every detail (that’s my job!), but if you are going to be on a television show, please take the time to learn about it and the hosts. This does not have to be extensive or difficult: start by Googling the hosts. Find out their background. Find out long have they been doing the show. Go to the show’s website (or YouTube or Vimeo) and several watch entire episodes.

When you’re watching, be on the lookout for segments that are relevant to your appearance on the show. If you’re going to do a cooking segment, be sure to watch previous cooking segments. Make notes for how the demonstration was formatted, and what you might expect in your own taping.  If you’re a parenting expert, do a search for good and  bad segments with other parenting experts.  Note what you liked about the segments – when does it feel easy, and flowing? Also, what didn’t work? Where was it boring? What would you do differently?

Take some time to make some mental notes of how you’re different than this previous expert. Being able to communicate this difference is a key part of making you stand out as a specific expert in your field. This other person might be an expert in parenting, but you might be able to specifically highlight tumultuous teen-parent relationships. Making this differentiation evident is key.

TWO: Remember who you are

I hate to say it but in the world of entertainment, the hosts of the show are the stars of the show. Not you. Be humble.

This means you need to find natural ways to make the host shine: let the hosts speak without cutting them off, let ask you questions, invite them to participate in the segment (if it’s a demo) and always be kind and courteous.

Also, it’s important to remember that it’s annoying to listen to someone brag or over plug their book, business, or product. The show’s producers know why you’re there and they’ll work with you or you publicist to make sure your book/product/business is prominently featured without you having to oversell it.

THREE: Be a good storyteller

All producers love it when you go in with great short and fun anecdotes (key here: short).Think in terms of soundbites. Your should be prepared to share special, personal stories that will help connect you with the audience and host. These stories can be funny or heartfelt, just please be sure not to overshare (wink wink).

FOUR: Get ready for your segment

I’m not just talking about looking your best (that’s another blog post). I’m talking about preparing your personal audiences to tune in. In the days or week leading up to your segment, you should be trumpeting the appearance across all of your social media channels. In order to make this “trumpeting” the most effective, take some time to carefully think through your communication strategy of how you are going to get the word out. You can start crafting all your tweets, write a blog posts,  or schedule an email blast to notify your fan base. Additionally, as you get closer to your appearance date, you can encourage your fans, friends, family, everyone you can round up to do the same.

On the day of the show, consider leveraging some sort of scheduling platform (or having your publicist work with you) so that when you are about to go on, you can let your fans know via Twitter, or Facebook that they should be tuning in (and what network they should look for).

Last but not least..Have FUN! Relax and enjoy your time in the spotlight. You’ll do great. Remember, you were chosen to be on the show because you’re the expert. Have confidence that you can eloquently offer up quality content to the host, the people in the audience, the viewers, and your fans. Let your confidence shine!

Hope you found these tips helpful, and the next time you find The Jay Leno Show booking your appearance, you’ll know what to do! As always, stay tuned until next week as I’ll have more secrets from a publicist to share with you!

Oh, and PS – in light of this topic, just wanted to throw out that I am SUPER proud of Kim Kushner for landing on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda! Tune in tomorrow, July 25th at 10am to watch her knock it out of the park!






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