Talent Tips | May 2024

Talent Tips | April 2024

Does Media Exposure Really Matter for Authors and Speakers?

Miami advertising executive Bruce Turkel recently made waves when he released an open letter to network executives that he would no longer do appearances on Fox Business and Fox News because of their coverage of the immigration issue. Bruce said that he took particular offense to Fox’s handling of the U.S. government’s policy of separating children from their parents which he called “too heinous to accept”.  He mentioned in particular pundit Ann Coulter’s assertion that the crying kids in videos were “child actors” and talk host Sean Hannity’s suggestion that the children are part of a “rolling invasion” of the country.

But, this article isn’t about politics. Not at all. Because, regardless of your political leanings or feelings about the immigration issue, there are several very teachable moments worth exploring here for authors and experts.

Why would Turkel agree in the first place to go on Fox Business over and over, and also Fox News occasionally, to offer his opinion and insight?  Was it for the money?  No, according to a Miami Herald article, Turkel’s dozens of Fox appearances were all unpaid.  For the ego boost? That’s doubtful too. Bruce is a National Speaker’s Association Hall of Fame inductee and TedX presenter. Is his business in need of publicity?  Doubtful.  Turkel Brands has worked with clients including Discovery Networks, Bacardi Limited, Jewish Health Systems, and many more. They are probably best known as the designer of the highly successful Miami tourism campaigns, including the “It’s So Miami” tagline. Bruce’s latest book, his fifth, the best-selling All About Them, was chosen as one of Forbes’ top ten business books of the year.

Bruce Turkel is clearly a busy guy with a lot of balls in the air. Taking time out to stop whatever you’re working on to do a free media appearance (especially on a niche business network) would seem to be an unwise use of your time since you’re not getting paid to do it. It usually takes a couple of hours minimum for every short 3-5 minute TV guest appearance, when you prep on the topic, travel to/from a studio, wait to go on the air, etc.  Why go through all that?

Bruce Turkel said it himself in his open letter: “The appearances on Fox News and Fox Business have helped me generate lots of keynote speaking opportunities and helped me sell a bunch of books”.

There you have it.

Doing media appearances on Fox helped him sell books and get speaking gigs.

But (and we get this question a lot from clients), what if you disagree with a show or host of a show? Why would you go on their air?

Again, Bruce Turkel spelled it out nicely.

“Demographics show that more business owners watch Fox than the other news stations. Business owners are my target audience. Therefore it made sense for me to cast my bait where the fish are swimming.”

Bruce also said he was never told by Fox what to say or which side of an issue to take. Having placed dozens of clients on hundreds of opinion shows on Fox and other networks, I can absolutely vouch for the reality that you will be able to speak your truth. In fact, most media hosts love to have an opposing viewpoint, as it makes the interview more watchable, listenable or readable.

What other strategies did Bruce Turkel employ with his media platform to help him sell more books and give more keynote speeches?

-Consistency:  Bruce did over 400 appearances on Fox, most on Fox Business but also several on the much larger Fox News.  Why so many, and why on Fox Business? “Fox invites me on the air almost every single week. The other stations do not.”

-Leveraging:  While Bruce developed a great relationship with bookers at Fox Business, he was able to demonstrate his on-air strength to others using those clips to also gain appearances and relationships with CNN, MSNBC, CNN International, local TV affiliates in Miami, even CCTV (Chinese state television). That exposure helped lead him to the cover of Speaker Magazine.

-Flexibility:  Turkel has been called on to talk about pretty much anything that has to do with marketing and branding, and he always has something interesting to contribute to the conversation. Whether it was Redbull or the Superbowl ads, the latest social media dustup or celebrity scandal, Bruce helped viewers understand the branding issues that affect their pocketbooks and their lives. It always goes back to heartstrings and pursestrings.

-Content:  Whether on the speaker’s platform or on the air, Bruce always gave a great show. Terms like “funny, charming, super engaging, warm, sincere, energetic, confident, great stage presence” are used over and over to describe Bruce.

-Healthy Sense of Self: Bruce knows his place in the overall scheme of things.  “None of the shows I’ve been on will even see a blip in viewership because I no longer appear on the programs. Truth is, no one will even know I’m not at Fox anymore.”

Something tells me that Bruce Turkel will be just fine, and we’ll be seeing him, hearing him and reading about him on other media outlets. Because Bruce knows that doing quality, consistent free media “helped me generate lots of keynote speaking opportunities and helped me sell a bunch of books.”  And that’s what most of us are gunning for.

Burke Allen is the Chief Media Strategist and Director of Fun at Allen Media Strategies. Reach him at burke@allenmediastrategies.com


Landing The Big Fish

We often get asked how Allen Media Strategies routinely land the really big media hits for our clients. It’s gotten to the point where folks who want us to represent them come to us now expecting we can waive our magic wand and get them on CNN, The New York Times front page or Howard Stern’s radio show just by making a call. As a matter of fact, it happened to me just this morning. “Get me on NPR; I deserve to be there.” Maybe, but not so fast. 

Yes, our clients have appeared on thousands of media outlets including all the national television and radio networks, the biggest newspapers and magazines, the most trafficked websites. No, it’s not automatic. If any agency tells you they can always make that happen, run away from them and make sure you still have your wallet with you when you leave.

So, how do we do it? How do we land the big fish? And, how can you do it even if you’re not an Allen Media Strategies client? Here’s the first, most important rule:

Know The Show.

Not only should you actually know who you’re pitching, you have to be prove you know the show when you make first contact. It you send a “Dear NAME” email you’re dead in the water. And, you have to grab them in the subject line or they’ll never even open the email. At a minimum, you need to mention the host or writer’s name and the type of segment you see yourself fitting into. To horribly mis-quote the late Johnny Cochran “if the show don’t fit, you must quit!”

This doesn’t mean just spending 30 seconds Googling the show, writing down the name(s) you need, and jamming them into the subject line of your email.  (By the way, when I say “show”, this same advice goes for TV and radio shows, as well as print and online outlets).  

Years ago, I had a client who received an interview request for a very controversial TV show.  My client wasn’t familiar with the host or their platform. Our client was an earring wearing West Coast liberal. The TV host was a loud, animated and highly rated conservative flamethrower.  My client was pretty excited about the huge national exposure…until I had him watch video of the show. When he quickly admitted he couldn’t handle himself with the host, we did specific media and message training and our client knocked it out of the park on the air.  

The bottom line? Invest the time to get yourself prepared. Do your homework. Listen, watch or read at least 3 days in a row to get a real feel for the content, texture and style of the interviewer. Note their topic base. Determine the media outlet’s target demographic. Do they target men or women? What age range would their content most appeal to? What types of “non-celebrity” guests do they feature? Is there a political lean, and if so, how can you thread that needle while being true to yourself and your brand, and still utilizing their audience to grow your own tribe?  

Here’s the good news. The internet has made it much easier to do this homework, and at your own schedule. Record radio shows or podcasts; most stream online. DVR TV shows. Archive and bookmark articles.  

If you really, truly think your idea, platform or concept is worth being considered by some of the most overworked, underpaid, buried-by-email people on the planet (TV and radio show producers and print journalists whose are constantly doing way more work with way fewer people) then the least you can do is actually prepare and properly target your pitch to them. Believe me, they’ll appreciate you not wasting their time like hundreds of other hopefuls do, and eventually, that preparation will pay off.  

What’s that? You say that’s way too much work, time, effort and energy to devote to pitching one media outlet? That’s fine. You just determined that you shouldn’t be pitching a big show, so you can save yourself the time of trying and failing. Call us instead. We’ll do it right. And if we keep on using the right bait, we’re gonna catch that big fish.  

Learn Your Insider Terms

At Allen Media Strategies, we always coach our clients never to use insider terms for their area of expertise when doing media interviews. The goal is to make your message […]