Rolling with Broadcast Publicity: Open Book with Publicity Manager Courtney Link
The All Things Book Marketing podcast is a popular biweekly show featuring book marketing and publicity tips from the top voices in the publishing industry. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new episode! Our Open Book series was established in 2022 and features interviews with Smith Publicity team members.
In a brand new episode of Open Book, host Olivia McCoy dives into a fascinating and fun conversation with Courtney Link, Smith Publicity’s Lifestyle Publicity Manager. Courtney offers her knowledge about broadcast interviews, specifically, discussing how TV and radio opportunities can promote an author’s brand, what producers are looking for in guests, and what to expect if you’re presented with an interview from our resident broadcast expert. Let’s dive in!
What exactly does “broadcast pitching” entail?
Even just a few years ago, broadcast meant television and radio. These days, there is much less focus on radio – we still pitch nationally syndicated radio shows, but we no longer focus on smaller stations. The broadcast area has really been dominated by podcasts and TV.
Television pitching can be to either regional TV, affiliate TV, or national TV. In the nonfiction lifestyle arena, broadcast pitching will occur in almost every single book marketing campaign.
What is the difference between regional, affiliate, and national television?
Regional and affiliate TV are similar; there are some regional outlets which are individual cities and areas that might not have an affiliate associated with it like ABC, Fox, CBS. Affiliate stations have those larger names attached to them, but are the smaller stations in various areas of the country.
Of course, most everyone knows what national TV is. Those are the “big gets,” the goals that many authors want to aim for, which is very understandable. We do reach out to – and book! – national television, but of course, it’s extremely competitive.
Is there value in doing an interview with an affiliate station?
The power of an affiliate interview is significant. For example, top producers tell us all the time that they look for experts on the affiliate morning shows. So if you book an affiliate interview, not only are you getting eyes on you from viewers who are potential readers, but you’re also getting producer eyes on you and opening yourself up to a whole new set of possibilities.
Affiliate stations tend to focus on key takeaways and tips for their interviews. They want their viewers to come away with things they can actually do – especially after the last few years. How can people better their physical health, mental health, and emotions? This is the type of content that is especially interesting to producers at affiliate stations.
Does an author need prior interview experience to book an interview on national TV?
Almost always, the answer is yes. This is another reason affiliate interviews are so powerful: a little clip from a Kansas City interview, for instance, might be the thing that gets you in the door for national TV. The more you can showcase your expertise utilizing regional and affiliate interview opportunities, the more you will have to show to a national TV producer. They are going to vet their experts thoroughly and want to see what an interview with you would look like.
Should an author go through media training?
Yes! In an upcoming podcast episode, we will focus specifically on media training. However, the most important thing is to be very clear on your angle and the three main points that you’re going to make, depending on how much time you have for the interview. Broadcast interviews are typically very fast, so it’s crucial to have your “elevator pitch” for your book ready to go.
What we do at Smith Publicity to prepare authors for their broadcast interviews includes this formation of the angle and elevator pitch, and then often we do a mock interview where we ask questions that the interviewer might ask. We also like to throw in a couple of unexpected questions, as you never know what might come up during an interview! It’s best to be as prepared as possible.
What are the benefits of broadcast interviews for authors?
If an author has a very powerful personal story that will help others, and/or if the author is an expert with valuable insight and tips to share, those are the types of authors that are most likely to see the most benefit from broadcast interviews. Many authors think a big broadcast interview is their ticket to sell a lot of books, but the truth is those interviews are often very short (as mentioned above), so authors may not see the sales they are hoping for. What they will see is a boost in their credibility and visibility, which for an expert is usually a top goal.
Bonus: what is one trick, tip, or trend that helps an author book a broadcast interview?
Here’s a little known tip: producers love odd numbers! For example, “three tips for…”, and then whatever the author is an expert in, would be a great pitch. When pitching broadcast, we generally don’t like to pitch more than three tips due to time constraints, but three is going to sell better than two or four.
In general, nonfiction authors are typically best-suited for broadcast interviews, but they truly are a valuable asset to any author. Authors should remain open to all broadcast opportunities, as one smaller local opportunity may very well open the door to other—bigger—opportunities. Once an interview is booked, an author will work with their book publicity team to prepare and probably go through some media training. From there it’s lights, camera, action!
Courtney is the Nonfiction Lifestyle Book Publicity Manager at Smith who has been in the industry for several years working alongside authors to create and promote their unique hooks to garner national-level coverage. She brings forth strategy, established contacts, a passion and energy for each of her campaigns and clients which shines through in results and long-term success. Her clients span the genres of lifestyle, self-help, women’s interest, health and wellness, business and more gaining coverage such as The Today Show, The Doctors, ELLE, The Washington Post, Forbes, Fast Company, POPSUGAR, Elite Daily and BuzzFeed.
In her free time, you can find Courtney exploring the outdoors in Colorado with her pup, Samson and kitty, Stu, teaching hot yoga or reading the newest psychological thriller.
You can follow her on LinkedIn or Instagram @courtneylink.