A 3-Point List to Becoming a Media Regular

In an earlier segment of my career, I produced a nationally syndicated radio show in Canada. It was an investment education talk program that aired live every Sunday evening for two hours – coast to coast. For a number of years with little exception, my week included lining up 2-3 investment and financial industry experts and then running the actual live show each Sunday.

It was quite a time in the investment industry, and our ratings were something to be proud of. It was also a time when I had to grow nerves of steel – two hours of live talk radio once a week will do that to you.

There were three main components to the program: the host (more on that another time), the callers/listeners (ditto) and the guests (what I’m going to focus on right now).

We had close to one hundred guests over those five years, ranging from fund managers to chief economists to financial planners to accountants and everything in between. Fortunately for me, we had a base of reliable, knowledgeable regulars – the “easy” bucket. However, there were some other guests that fell into the more “challenging” bucket.

When building your name or business through media exposure, you want to fall into the “easy” bucket. And this applies to radio, print, online, social, television, etc. When you’re easy to work with, you get asked to come back.

How to be a regularly featured guest (a 3-point list):

  • Be responsive (return phone calls/emails) . That one is pretty simple, right? But you’d be surprised at the number of times I tried to reach someone to ask them to be on the show, and just never heard anything back. Being responsive gets a big gold star, and gets you on the regular list. And as my friend Michael Libbie once pointed out, make it easy to find your contact info in the first place.
  • Be on time . And then there were those weeks when I’d be sweating bullets, with 5 minutes before live airtime and a guest hadn’t arrived yet. Please, please don’t do this to your media contact. Even if it is a phone interview with a reporter, they’re very likely on a deadline of some kind.
  • Be proactive . Stay in touch, and share ideas if you think something might be especially relevant for a particular audience. The program producer will thank you.
  • Once you’ve been a regular expert or guest, you could even transform that experience into having your own segment of some kind. I’ve seen a number of subject experts do this successfully – from cookbook writers to financial planners.

    The 3-point list is a commitment, but by being an easy guest on the regular list, you’ll generate buzz, word of mouth, and business.