How Do I Become an Expert on TV?

There is no ‘hidden secret’ to becoming a television expert. Becoming a sought-after expert takes a little PR work, and a bit of branding


  • What Are You An Expert About? Make a list of all of the topics you can talk about as an expert. An industry expert will be able to provide insight that other people are not talking about – that’s exclusive content for smaller media outlets, and exclusive content creates value for them.

  • Talking Points: Try to have about five points for each of your expert topics listed above. These are statements in sentence format that convey concepts or commentaries. A video game expert would talk about handheld devices vs. mobile gaming. For each talking point create several lines of discussion or commentary so the host, producer or journalist knows your opinions on the issue.

  • Create a Bio: This is your introduction for many people, and it has to count. Media will look for credentials, education, experience that qualifies you as a subject matter expert. If you do not have direct experience, write an academic article or two, or make yourself a regular at events pertaining to your subject matter. Having accomplishments will cement your qualifications, and make you a more selectable candidate for TV.

  • Develop Contacts: Know whom you are going to contact in advance. Don’t wait for breaking news to start figuring this out. Make these connections ahead of time, and the expert they contact might just be you. Let them know you are standing by for the next time they need someone of your expertise. The media moves at a rapid pace, so if they cannot find an expert, they will move on quickly.

  • Stay Ahead: Experts are experts because they know plenty. People who come off as unknowledgeable have a hard time being a contact. Stay abreast of new trends and industry information, so you remain a hot commodity to the media.

  • Invest in Yourself: The media loves an expert who is well-prepared for the camera. Staying on point to convey information quickly and accurately are invaluable to producers. Having a media trainer will also assist you with talking points.

  • Practice! Tape yourself at home with someone reading you questions off-camera. Watch this video and look at the little mannerisms you do. People often have little quirks we do not see until we watch ourselves. Taking the time to practice will give you a more polished media presence.

  • Tape Yourself: These are important for your marketing strategy! Many shows do not offer a taping service. Bring a blank tape with you to the studio and ask the producer if you can have your segment recorded – do not count on this, though. Ask friends or family, or invest in high-quality recording equipment and program it to record your show.

Following these simple steps will help you identify, acquire, develop, and bolster media contacts. Like all things, this requires patience and persistence, but it pays off when you’re finally on television.

How To Hire a PR Firm

Your company has decided it is time to implement a PR plan. Maybe a plan already exists – it has been sitting on a shelf waiting for resources to implement it. Perhaps it is time to re-brand your company to adjust to changes in your industry. It could be that something your company did went awry and you need a crisis team to manage negative publicity and navigate you back into safer waters. Either way, it helps to know what to expect and what to ask for.

Not all PR firms do the same thing, nor are they the same size. One PR firm might have 5 people and they specialize in crisis messaging; another firm has dozens of people and they will support your sales team with an effective marketing program; finally, a third firm might be one person who will drive website traffic through SEO-friendly content.

In order to pick the right PR firm and partner, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is the goal? Both you (their client) and the PR firm have to be clear about expectations, goals, and capabilities. You might value lead generation above media exposure or marketing optimization above event management. Know what matters to you most and why before you go shopping for a PR team.
  • What type of services do you need? If your business will need help with content creation, video production, or sales and marketing integration, make sure you are looking at agencies that provide all of those PR services.
  • What credentials matter most? When you ask agencies about their success stories, ask about market experience, but don’t ignore a firm’s knowledge of businesses of similar size and trajectory as yours. You might also press agencies about their track record of overcoming challenges with creative solutions.
  • What are your resources? This relates to budget, but also to your own bandwidth to support a full-scale PR program. Do you have the time and resources to commit to supporting a firm on a daily basis? Do you have an in-house communications team who could use some bolstering? A reliable PR firm should be able to tell you what they can do in relation to what you can afford and offer.
  • What size agency do you want? Freelancers can be a tempting compromise between no outside help and a full-fledged agency. Many freelancers are accustomed to being a ‘jack of all trades, but a one-person operation cannot match the impact of a team of dedicated experts.

The most important thing to remember is to be open about your company’s wants and needs. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ firm or agency. It could be that some firms exclusively work with large companies, and others are more ‘boutique’ and offer specialized services. You may want to consider working with an agency on a project-by-project basis before hiring them full time.

It is not an easy process to hire a PR firm, but these tips make the process less complicated.