While the title of this post might make it sound simple, I assure that it is not.
Having spent many years in the media in NY, I can honestly say, I’ve seen lots of good people make simple mistakes that cost them their next spot on TV. I’ve even seen seasoned professionals stumble and suffer for many years because of an error.
On TV, you just don’t have the time to figure it out. The world, or at least the producer that put you on, is watching. Your performance has to be flawless. Any glitches will negatively impact your future spots and the producer’s career. Plus, any new producers that you approach and pitch for shows will review your tapes to look for flaws.
THE INDUSTRY IS TIGHT, WHEN THERE ARE PROBLEMS, EVERYONE KNOWS.
Even in NYC, which is the world’s number one market, everyone knew what was going on at other stations. We all knew who was on their way out and who was on their way up. We all had the scoop on who was hot and who was not.
You might wonder why this is. Well there are several reasons:
Working in the media is not a job. It’s a very demanding lifestyle. We live and breathe what’s on the airwaves.
Eventually, your focus on the media become myopic. As your world becomes smaller, your circle gets tighter and the only thing that really matters in what’s going on in that little world.
While it looks like the elements used by the media are obvious, in reality, it’s the expert use of subtle details that tweak the viewer’s emotions and push the intended buttons. Media insiders read into these messages easily and understand immediately what’s really being communicated. We have developed a heightened awareness and that works in our favor when watching others try to maneuver their way to the top.
BRANDS RULE THE AIRWAVES
The people who last in TV are those with well-developed brands. Solid brands are the ones that last and become the experts in their fields. They’re the ones everyone tunes in to watch and trusts. Those with the solid, well-developed brands are the ones that the sponsors are willing to pay BIG BUCKS for.
The branding process allows individuals to figure their brand out long before they get anywhere near the camera. All the details need to be firmly in place before the first appearance. A well-defined media strategy that determines the bold and the subtle elements of the brand is what is needed to hit the ground running and get the media attention that will position a show or guest for future appearances and a vibrant career.
SOPHISTICATED TRACKING IN THE MEDIA
It’s amazing how ratings systems have grown up. It used to be that we worked like crazy preparing for the “sweeps” (times when viewer information is gathered) and would all hold our breath waiting for the Nielsen ratings. Our jobs literally depended on those numbers.
While it is still common practice to use the Nielsen ratings, they are less important for the internal decisions. Now executives can and do monitor “real time” viewing patterns. They can pinpoint immediate changes in viewers patterns at the precise moment that they happen.
THIS IS GOOD AND BAD NEWS
For seasoned professionals with solid brands, this news is usually good. For up and coming personalities, it could be bad news. One minor slip could result in a dip in viewer ratings. Television executives, as concerned about their jobs as everyone else, could react quickly and eliminate that person from on air appearances. Likewise a spike in viewer ratings could result in more appearances and increased scope of production opportunities.
Generally, a well developed brand will produce higher ratings and more viewers. The branding efforts will be communicated to audience in subtle ways, as all good brands do.
PROFESSIONALS ONLY, PLEASE
Here’s my advice. Leave nothing to chance. If you’ve determined that you want to promote yourself, your company or your product through the media, please do your homework first. This might mean hiring a professional to develop a solid brand, a media platform, a powerful story, and help you navigate the shark infested waters of the media. After all, if to the top is where you want to go, you’re not alone. Many of your competitors want to get there too. You need to be able to beat them out for the airtime. And in this industry, even more than others, well-prepared, solid professionals only, need apply!
If you are considering pitching the media, doing some on air spots or want take your career in that direction, give me a call. I would love to help you launch into the wonderful world of the media as well as navigate the shark infested waters. Let me be your guide!
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