Wednesday, March 28, 2012


I just finished listening to a telephone/Internet seminar given by public relations specialist Steve Harrison, “How to Become a Guest on National TV.” To some degree an infomercial, it was filled with much useful information.

One of Harrison’s goals was to recruit nine more students for his three-day National Publicity Summit to be held in New York City, where 100 students would be interacting with a similar number of communications professionals, primarily producers and bookers.

Harrison noted that publicity is better than advertising. First, it’s free. Secondly, it gives you more credibility. And third, it multiplies: appearing in one venue often leads to appearing in others.

There are six ways that publicity could put more money into your pocket. It can create more orders, more buzz, get you past various gatekeepers, increase the fees others would be willing to pay you, differentiate you from your competition, and increase your marketing effectiveness.

Harrison gave the tele-seminar with the help of four producers, one from the Rachel Ray program another from Wendy Williams, and two others. They all agreed that your first step is to watch one or more days of the show on which you hope to get booked. Next, you must steer your pitch to the format and topics of interest of the show. You must find out to whom to make the pitch, and when you do, spell that person’s name right and identify that person correctly by title. You may need to pitch for a particular segment of the show. At best, you would have a clever idea that would be both informative and interesting, perhaps even fun, with some idea about the “hook” that can be used to promote it.

When you do identify the right person to contact, keep your e-mail to a paragraph or two and a link, making sure that it is timely. If you’re going to leave a voicemail message, make it a short message, a paragraph or two equivalent, with the phone number on which to call you back. Although you are almost certainly interested in promoting a book or product, your pitch idea has got to go beyond that. Especially important for television are visuals, where you stand up and do something, or show a video in which something is occurring, rather than just being another static “talking head.”

Some examples of successful guests included Dr. Gadget, who demonstrated/investigated commercial products while in a doctor’s outfit; Dave Barrow, “the Memory Guy”, who did some memory stunts and showed a great deal of enthusiasm; a woman private detective, who emphasized the importance of checking on your nanny. You’ve got to know the audience, and you’ve got to have an outgoing personality on camera.

Producers get hundreds of pitches per day in their e-mail inboxes, as well as numerous telephone calls, and they are often busy during that same day making sure that the program that they produce will go off without a hitch. Get to the point quickly.

Harrison gave several case studies of individuals who attended his Publicity Summit program: Barry Spilchuk was interviewed on the Fox News Channel, morphing his “Let’s Talk” relationship program into “what to say before you say goodbye” to troops going overseas at that time. In other words, he showed how you could solve a problem.

Lisa and Ron Beres of used as their hook “is your home killing you?” They appeared on national TV with a program segment that showed them going to a volunteer’s home and testing the water, line voltages, and indoor air quality, and then discussing the degree to which what they found represented hazardous conditions. They got onto several national TV programs and dozens of radio programs, using much the same approach.

Another one of Harrison’s students was a dream interpreter who got on to “The View.” She appeared near Halloween and discussed not only regular dreams, but also nightmares. She knew how to speak in sound bites, with a set of talking points.

The fourth Harrison student, psych expert Ish Major, a medical doctor, had written a book called Little White Whys. When he found the right hook, “decoding the language of men,” he got on the “Today Show,” several other national shows, and a lot of local shows. Note the similarity to the theme of John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women are from Venus, another success partially due to Harrison‘s training programs.

The final example was from airline Captain Mary Getline, author of The World at My Feet, which she self-published. Using what she learned from Harrison’s program, she got scores of interviews and a large advance for a second book, this one published by a conventional publisher. One of her hooks was the question of turbulence. More generally, she found success with “10 things you wish you could ask an airline pilot.” She ended up with a regular weekly column for USA Today. Still a full-time airline pilot, she has had to turn down some offers to speak, even at $20,000 per speech. She maintains that Harrison’s publicity summit was the best investment she ever made.



Harrison pointed out the importance of face-to-face contact, which one would get by attending his three-day National Publicity Summit, and those who have more interest in possibly attending this should go to They offer a money-back guarantee for the program.


  1. Glad to have been helpful. Thank you for compliment.

  2. Douglas, he is still using the same people you mentioned in 2012 and pretending to do current interviews with them--even though their books and/or stories are 10+ years old. The obvious question, if his system is so useful, why is there not a single current example?