Joan Stewart recently told a story about how publicist Robert Smith wanted something more than the standard brochure to set himself apart from all the other public relations practitioners in the U.S.
So after seeing a tip in this newsletter about starting his own TV show, courtesy of his local cable TV company's public access channel, he tried it.
"I had never heard of getting a local cable show f~r-ee," said Robert, who lives in Rockford, Illinois. "So I contacted my local cable provider and they finally had open slots."
The two-hour show, called Biz Briefs, features Robert interviewing local entrepreneurs, CEOs, authors, speakers and other experts who either live in Rockford, or are visiting.
"I chose a business format because I own a PR firm and it's an excellent strategy to get new clients," he said. "It's a superior access vehicle that sets me apart from other PR firms pitching the same prospects. And it works."
The first episode was a repeat of his "Publicity Made Easy" seminar. All other shows are being videotaped, with Robert acting as host, asking his guests questions. After each taping, all he has to do is drop off the tape.
After his first show, which aired for two hours and then was repeated, his phones rang non-stop.
"I got a huge account from a doctor with several locations," he said. "When I call prospects, I'm not calling as owner of a P. R. firm. I'm calling as host of a local TV show. And I get put right through."
The most difficult part of the project, he said, was waiting for a slot to open on the cable channel.
His next idea?
"I'm going to set up public affairs shows for all of my clients," Robert said.
It can work for you, too, and it's a fabulous way to get thousands of dollars in publicity, plus you get to reverse the tables by being the interviewer yourself. Just call your local cable TV company and ask about how to create your own show, or a series of shows. Some cable companies charge a small fee to rent the camera equipment, even though air time costs you nothing. Other companies provide the camera person. Others, like the company Robert is working with, accept videos.
The possibilities for content are almost endless. Attorneys can interview other attorneys in their own firm. The owner of a dog training school can demonstrate how to train dogs. A hair salon can offer styling and beauty tips.
If you live in Illinois or Wisconsin, or you'll be passing through Illinois on a book tour or speaking engagement and want to be featured on Robert's show, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at http://www.robertsmith.citymax.com
For other ideas and tips like these, check out our collection of 48 different special reports on Public Relations, each available for just $9.
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