Each time after I appear on television or speak to group– inventors, small business owners and PR professionals hunt me down and ask if I can put their product in my next TV segment. I honestly appreciate hearing from people who have innovative new products. Over the years, that’s how I’ve found some of the best gadgets for my segments.
But those same people need to understand that not every product pitched can make it into every segment. And there are things you can do to make your pitch more powerful for me or really to anyone who does TV/Radio/Print/Internet.
First, get to know who you’re pitching. Watch their segments, read their articles—see if your product truly fits what they are about.
For a television gadget segment, I’m looking for products that are fun to demonstrate and are easy for viewers to instantly understand. I only get about 15-30 seconds to showcase a product. If the pitch you send me takes three paragraphs to explain what the product does, then it’s probably a product I have to pass on. When I email TV show producers about my segment, I only get one line per product to WOW them.
If they are not WOW-ed, the product is dropped.
Even print reporters want the pitch short and sweet. All of us get dozens of pitches each day. We can’t spend a long time going through wordy complicated copy. If we want or need more information, trust me, we will ask for it.
When pitching your product, include a low res photo, your contact information and just a few sentences about the product. Is it the “world’s first ever” or the “smallest” or maybe the “least expensive” whatever? Give me something that makes this product “news worthy.” What’s the “Wow” feature? What problem does it solve? Why would viewers care about it?
Also make the subject line interesting. Something like “Double Your Closet Space For Under $20” will catch my eye. Don’t waste the subject line with “Hi” or “You really need to see this.” And I would suggest that you include the product’s price and where consumers can purchase the product.
And since my medium is television/video, I gravitate towards products that are very visual and fun to demonstrate. Products that move or let the hosts interact with them usually go right to the front of the line. If your product has an easy to demonstrate feature–let me know that–send a photo that shows it being demonstrated or an even better idea would be to send a link to a SHORT (under 1 minute) YouTube clip so I can see your product in action.
All of my television segments, articles, and blogs have a theme. One week it could be bathroom gadgets, the next week it might be garden gadgets. Usually the producers pick the theme. The themes change and finding the right products for each theme is part of the challenge. There is no way I can remember every product that is pitched to me. It’s just impossible. Years ago I used to create paper folders and email folders, but lots of great products slipped through the cracks.
To solve that problem, I post my current gadget theme on 4 venues.
- I tweet about it at @stevetv
- I post it on Facebook at www.facebook.com/stevetv
- I post a query on Profnet.com
- AND I put out a request on HARO
If you follow me on one or more of the above venues—you’ll know what I’m looking for at any given time.
But please be realistic. If the theme is car gadgets, don’t send me your toilet bowl light.
I’m well aware that my segment is only as good as the products in the segment. If I have fun, interesting products then my segment will be fun and interesting. If my segment is entertaining and informative, then I’m invited back to that show.
So please help me help you to help me.
Steve Greenberg is the author of Gadget Nation and co-host of Food Network’s Invention Hunters. He contributes to the Miami Herald and can be seen routinely doing gadget segments on NBC’s Today Show, The Dr Oz Show and various other TV shows.
This article is from the SmallBizLady special blog series: 31 Ways to Boost Your Small Business in 2013. #Boost2013Week One Posts of 31 Ways to BOOST Your Small Business in 2013 Week Two Posts of 31 Ways to BOOST Your Small Business in 2013