Five tips for entrepreneurs who want to get onto national TV
March 15, 2012 by Guest Contributor
Reality shows that feature entrepreneurs are getting popular these days (Angel’s Gate is one example), and these shows provide the perfect opportunity to present your brand and products to a nationwide audience at close to zero costs.
As a young start-up, our appearance on a show called “The Potential” (aired on Channel U earlier this month), which gave entrepreneurs some air time to pitch their products, had a significant impact on our website traffic and revenues.
While the application process, auditions and the actual shoot required days of hard work and rehearsals, the exposure that BoxInBlue.com got out of it was indeed worth the effort.
There is definitely nothing to lose to be on national TV. However, we realized that it is even more important to determine what we want to achieve in that ten minutes of airtime. Just as many of the Angel’s Gate participants have admitted, we do not go into the show expecting a million dollars of sales revenue (or million-dollar funding in the case of Angel’s Gate), but instead be able to maximise this airtime to bring our message across.
Here are five tips and key takeaways that I got from the experience, through the auditions, to the actual show.
1) Do research about the audience of the show
This can be done in several ways — some of the channels have media kits that provide demographics of their viewership, or you can do a quick survey on your Facebook Page on who watches that particular channel and speak to them in greater detail.
Based on this information, you can then adjust your messaging and angle to the producers of the show, during your auditions, on how your business will be interesting to their audience. Producers will love it that you have done research for the project because the last thing they want is people who are not committed to the show and potentially drop-out.
2) Understand the TV station and the show
After finding out about the audience, you have to think about what appeals to the producers. If the show is on Channel NewsAsia whose primary target audience are professionals and executives, they obviously want people to look and sound very intelligent.
If the show is airing on a Channel 8 weekday afternoon slot, you will be presenting to Mandarin-speaking housewives, and you will need to be able to speak that language and appeal to that audience with some showmanship.
Ultimately, you have to understand that it is still TV, and they are going after ratings, so keeping that in mind is going to help you a lot during the auditions. You can see this in many shows where some participants are completely different from the others and should not have made the cut, but due their appeal to the audience, producers will still let them through (e.g. 14-year old with a passion for starting a business even though the business idea is weak).
While this entrepreneur may be passionate, it is obvious that he was not as prepared as the other contestants (see video above: 11m 30s).
3) Go to the auditions prepared
Once again, producers love it that you care about being on the show. Other than showing off that you have done research, another great way to let them know that the show matters to you, is to be absolutely prepared with your pitch.
Treat the audition as if it is the actual show and bring along your presentation tools, be it a live demo, or brochures that will interest them. ‘Wow’ them at the auditions and give them no reason to think that you will not do the same with their audience.
4) Be clear on your objectives of being on the show
Being on national TV has significant benefits, but there can be also pitfalls (for example, being at the mercy of their editors who will decide which ‘role’ you will play in the show. If you fall down when the tape is rolling, I guarantee you they will air that). Throughout the duration of the process, you need to bare in mind what your objectives are, and work towards those objectives.
Here are some possible reasons (there are too many to list all):
a. Free publicity — Keep mentioning your “call-to-action” like “Visit our website: ABC.com”, or even wear a T-shirt with your corporate URL.
b. Get to know the producers better — Even if you don’t make it for this show, if they like you, or if you keep in contact with them, you may get called up for another.
c. Gaining street cred — The fact that you are able to tell customers, suppliers or even investors that your business has been on national TV gives an image that you are not a “fly-by-night” company and makes it much easier to do business.
5) Most importantly, have fun!
I cannot emphasize this enough. Ultimately, you don’t get too many opportunities to be on TV in your lifetime and since you’ve already decided that it’s worth doing it for your company, keep an open mind, and whatever happens, try to have fun and cherish the experience!
About the Author
Scott Leaw is the founder of BoxInBlue.com, an online store that provides design focused home decór and lifestyle products. They carry brands from independent design houses around the world such as Bluelounge, Quirky and many more. BoxInBlue.com has been the goto website for unique housewarming gifts since their launch in 2011.
Find out more about SGE’s research arm: SGE Insights, providing customized in-depth research reports to help you navigate the business of technology in Asia.
About The Author
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