What Are TV Producers Looking For?

(Author of Listful Living) Paula Rizzo catches us up on the past week and what we can expect in the coming weeks of May.

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The question of what TV producers are actually looking for is one that my media-training clients ask me all the time. There’s a reason for that: When it comes to establishing yourself as an expert, making positive relationships with producers and getting in the media is essential. 

To answer this question, let’s travel back in time!

A couple of years ago, I presented “How to Pitch Broadcast Media” at Robert Wynne’s “BroadcastU” event in New York City. (Remember in-person conferences?!) 

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The event was designed to let public relations professionals network with broadcast reporters, producers, and bookers in one place to finally answer THE big question: What does the media actually want?

I’ve known Rob since my days as a senior health producer at Fox News Channel, and he very kindly invited me back to speak to the group about media training and how to get their pitches read by the media.

Here are my top five takeaways from that event, updated to help you reach your audience in this pandemic era:

1. The media wants new faces.

Media is always looking for you, on social media, other media, and their contacts. You must be there to be found! Make sure you’re producing your own content and videos so you’re showing up in their searches. Here are some best practices for video.

One great way to get yourself out there so the media can find you is through live-streaming. My new Masterclass on this topic is filling up — you can grab a seat here as part of the Early Bird Special!

2. Be excited to be there, but don’t act brand new.

Finding a balance is key, according to Jennifer Zweben the Senior Talent Producer at CNBC/Closing Bell. It’s always nice to have an expert who is excited for their segment. No one wants someone to look like they resent being there! That being said, make sure to act like a pro whose done it all before. The more you practice being on camera, the easier it will become.

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Inside Scoop: Using Video & Media to Build Your Expertise Replay

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3. Have an opinion.

As Amber Sizemore, Producer at Bloomberg TV said, “I want someone with an opinion – what makes them different from everyone else? I don’t see that enough!”

Before you pitch or create content – ask yourself: What do I stand for? How is what I say different from everyone else? What are you always telling your clients? What gets you fired up about your industry?

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4. Don’t be long winded.

Jesse Rodriguez the Director of Booking at MSNBC said it best, “Don’t drone on and on. You don’t need to say everything you think in the first sentence. The host will come back to you for another question. Otherwise the host will get frustrated and sometimes you’ll run out of time for the segment.”

Avoiding this problem is all about practice and really knowing how to get to the core of your message. How do you say what you need to in a single headline? I developed the Accordion Method to help experts share their knowledge successfully — you can check that out here. 

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Catch up on Inside Scoop!

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5. Speak like a human.

While you might be an expert in a given field it’s also important that your message is accessible to everyone. It’s tempting to fall into industry jargon, instead try to imagine your explaining it to a fifth grader.

As David Rind the Associate Producer at ABC News Radio puts it: “We need people who speak like human beings! Who can break down a wonky segment succinctly and in a way that an average listener can understand who doesn’t have a background in that topic.”

This is especially true when you’re Zooming into a news segment rather than coming into the studio. Here’s my guide to eliminating “robot voice” and developing an authentic, warm way of speaking that will get your important message across to your audience. 

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JOIN ME FOR GO LIVE! MASTERCLASS: Everything you need to produce a polished, lucrative and fun live-stream show that makes you stand out. Sign up here!

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Listful Living by Paula Rizzo

Listful Living

A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You

A best-selling author and Emmy-award winning television producer for nearly 20 years, Paula Rizzo produced health, wellness, and lifestyle segments with a range of top experts, including JJ Virgin, Jillian Michaels, and Deepak Chopra. Rizzo brings her experience to this new project. Readers will learn their stress style and strategies for shaping their days in more productive ways. With self-assessments and exercises, this guide will bring readers to better patterns and better, more organized lives.