1) What are the challenges authors face in getting booked on radio/television?
One of the main challenges that authors face is making the pitch relevant to the news cycle. We can overcome this challenge by using recent data, statistics, and research on the subject that was written about about to make the pitch buzzier and more relevant to the news cycle. Producers and reporters are fact-driven, so if we can present them with facts that tie in news of the day/week/month, and use the author and book as a jumping off point for a conversation about it — we usually see traction. I always try to use numbers, data, demographics, and more, to tie in a pitch. Sometimes the pitch is not just about the book itself – but where the author grew up, where he/she is based, and more. There is so much we can work with and that’s the best part about the process!
2) What can authors do to make themselves more attractive media candidates, and get a producer’s interest or attention? What are the most important “ingredients” to include in one’s pitch?
The approach to pitching radio and television varies, as well as the particular show you are pitching. Know who you are pitching and what the show has covered recently. Remember that a producer/reporter will do research on you, so it’s your job to do research on their show. What has been covered recently? Any pieces or segments that you liked or stood out to you? Is there a connection to your book or subject matter?
Another important factor is the pitch itself. You can and should specify and tailor a press advisory based off what a show covers. I usually never work with one generic press advisory. If you give a broad blanket advisory to every single national radio and television show, you won’t see results. But if you can tailor press advisories to specifically what a show covers (health, finance, etc), you’ll see results.
The most important ingredients to a broadcast pitch: Pre-existing video of the author(s) in an interview setting, street credibility (ie prior media placements in print, online, TV, radio), a pitch tailored specifically to what the show covers or has been covering, and making it newsworthy using recent statistics and data.