Tell Your Story on TV Like a Pro

By Tiana Quitugua, Seattle University Project on Family Homelessness

I sit eagerly in the audience watching a popular TV show host and her guest chat while the stage crew makes tweaks to the set and cameras get into position. A voice over the studio intercom booms, “rolling in 5, 4, 3…”

Talk shows like New Day Northwest, hosted by Margaret Larson, are a powerful medium for advocacy. Watching the taping was an exciting experience I will never forget. Being an audience member was so much fun, and I even left with a bag full of giveaways!

The beautiful, exciting and fast-paced set of New Day Northwest changed with each segment and immersed the audience in the show. The crew, cameras and lights were always on the move and the show was just a joy be a part of. A TV talk show is an excellent way to make your advocacy efforts visible.

What better way to reach large audiences than on TV? Communication expert Whitney Keyes says TV talk shows can also give individuals or organizations credibility. However, it’s very competitive to get on a show like New Day Northwest.

Meet the Pro

Over the past 20 years, Whitney has worked as a senior Microsoft manager, strategic adviser for American Express and a marketing consultant to thousands of individuals and organizations around the world.

Whitney Keyes was a guest on New Day Northwest March 6, 2014, for International Women’s Day. New Day Northwest airs weekdays at 11 a.m. (PST) on Seattle’s KING 5 TV. You can see the segment with Whitney’s advice for women entrepreneurs here.

Whitney is the winner of the Small Business Administration’s 2013 Women in Business Champion of the Year Award for Washington State and author of the book, Propel: Five Ways to Amp Up Your Marketing and Accelerate Business. She received three grants from the U.S. State Department to empower women leaders, social entrepreneurs, NGOs and youth in Malaysia, as well as in the African countries of Namibia and Kenya.

“Propel” was a textbook in my Strategic Communications class taught by Whitney. She is truly an expert in her field and offers the best advice.

 I sat down with Whitney over coffee to talk about her experience with New Day Northwest and other TV shows, and the best ways to approach them.

Know Your Audience

First, you need to be very aware of your audience. When preparing your goals and messages, think about how they will resonate with the audience. Whitney did research on New Day Northwest and found that their audience is mostly stay-at-home women. She decided not to focus on corporate America, instead tailoring messages to women at home and in general. She focused on what she calls the three C’s: keeping your messages clear, concise and compelling.

And be sure to watch or listen to the show, so you understand its content, timing and tone.

The in-studio audience was loud and lively and was filled with older women, a communications class and a handful of men. Knowing your audience helps you accomplish goals, and the right messaging leads to results.

Book Me, Book Me!

Find out who books or schedules guests for the shows. Often it’s a producer who makes all of the decisions. Make sure your pitch has a special, newsworthy angle that makes you current and interesting. Sometimes it’s your personal story or a newsworthy event. Shows are looking for an expert or an average person to tell the story. Build your brand as an expert by promoting your public speaking, book or other activities. Be a local expert and get people talking in papers, magazines and blogs.

Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness welcomed Inocente to Seattle in 2013. She is the unstoppable Latina artist from San Diego who inspired the beautiful Academy Award-winning film INOCENTE. She appeared on New Day Northwest to promote our screening of the film at the Seattle Art Museum.

Personalize the Story

If the topic is a social-justice cause, the show will probably want to talk to someone with personal experience — a different type of real-world expert, like a person who has been homeless.

Whitney gives an example of Dress for Success, a program associated with the YWCA that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development. She was on the executive board and had an opportunity to be a media spokesperson, but decided that the women in the program would tell the story more compellingly.

Inocente was a very effective guest. She brought an extra level of interest and expertise to the story as the subject of the film and as a young female artist who had experienced homelessness. Usually, an organization’s spokesperson isn’t as interesting as a person living the experience.

 Stand Out

Whitney says that like most producers, the producer for New Day Northwest receives a large number of promotional calls and email pitches daily. If the producer is bombarded with emails, how are you going to get his or her attention? This is where you get really creative and become an investigator.

  • Follow their guidelines. If their site says fill out a form or email, do it. You can always pick up the phone and follow up.
  • Timing is crucial. If you’re trying to pitch a busy morning producer, you’ll have a better chance of reaching them in the afternoon.
  • Be tenacious and resourceful. If it fits your story, send a kit or package. When Whitney worked with Get Hitched Give Hope, a fun bridal auction gala that raises money for various causes, they weren’t getting picked up by the media until they went into newsrooms with confetti guns. This tactic worked because it was in line with their brand and message they were trying to convey.

How to Be Interviewed

Whitney recommends treating a talk-show appearance like a job interview. Look your best, be confident, anticipate questions and write responses. For TV, your physical appearance is very important. Whitney says to study the host. She did some research on Margaret Larson and dressed professionally because Margaret always does.

Whitney and Margaret are both dressed fashionably professional. Appearance is a visual part of your brand, so dress appropriately to represent your organization, for your audience and for the show. Whitney is a great example of this.

Shows will often ask if you have a video clip or photo of you or your organization in action that can be run on the show. Some shows will tell you what you’re going to be talking about and sometimes they won’t. You have to anticipate anything and prepare your talking points. Shows will also give you on-stage directions ahead of time: look at the host, ignore the audience, don’t look at the camera, etc. They want you be successful.

Whitney is being prepped by a crewmember before her appearance. You will most likely be pictured from your head to chest, so you want people focused on your face and messages. When conveying passion, you can be animated, but try not to detract from your message with big gestures.

 After the Show

After the interview, be sure to thank the producer and host. Share the segment via your social media outlets and other communication tools like your website and newsletter. Look back and learn through constructive criticism. Did I stay on message? Was it effective? You can also go back and pitch the same producer later on another topic.

This is a screenshot of New Day Northwest’s Web page about Whitney’s segment. You can use these links to videos and stories in your website, newsletters, blogs, and other media to strengthen and maximize your interview content.

Five Things to Remember

Whitney’s five principles to propel your communication and advocacy efforts are:

1. Strategy: Make sure to stay focused on your organization’s vision and goals.

2. Story: Remain focused on your brand message and story. Advocacy organizations may have great stories about volunteers, fundraisers or positive change. What is the one story you want to pitch that best fits the media outlet’s goals and yours?

3. Strength: Always look for ways to strengthen your efforts. Your media outlets will extend your reach and strengthen your story. Teaming up with others can also help. If your group is focused on supporting young women, collaborate with them to bring them onto the show to tell that story together.

4. Simplicity: Keep everything super simple, from the pitch to using the interview after the show.

5. Speed: Get out there and do this quickly. Sometimes people don’t follow through with their pitch because they are too scared. You may get rejected or won’t hear back, but quickly move on and try something different. You can always make another pitch.

Whitney and me after the show in the lobby of the KING 5 TV station with some of the audience giveaways from that day!

You can create positive change through TV advocacy. Use these tips and tell your story on TV like a pro! 

  • Nina Mccutcheon

    My True Life Story
    My Story And I Am Sticking To It.
    My Story is one that many find hard to believe, but I assure you it is very true. I am a woman who is very experienced beyond my years. I had a counsellor who ounce said when I was 18 years of age : NINA YOU HAVE BEEN THROUGH MORE THEN A 80 YEAR OLD.

    Not always a good thing, but in my case I think of it all as a asset to my life, and something I can use to help others in our world today. Bring hope to the lost, and use in meetings and build better days ahead for our world and the issues in our world. I can use my experiences to better myself and bring me to that place God has chosen me to be. My purpose in life is different then most and I would like to start my story by telling you what I have done with my life.

    I am a lady that came from a abusive home as a child, both verbal abuse and sexual. Some physical abuse but not so much as a child, but as a adult.I was abused by father figures most of all.
    I had a mother who moved a lot and was likened unto a prostitute, involved daily with men throughout her life. She reminded me daily how I reminded her of my real father, and she said: IF I EVER LAY A HAND ON YOU, ILL KILL YOU. I was reminded of this on a daily bases as a child.
    She had many drinking parties , drugs and loud music. Men came up to my room daily and pee;d on my while I was sleeping. I slept in it, because my mother never believed me, and never checked it out.

    I was sexually abused by many men throughout childhood and adult life. One was my grandfather, as a child all the way up until I was 16 years of age. He was a warlock witch , he dabbled in Satanic beliefs in order to manipulate and control me.
    My mother was with a man Clare P who she left me with latter after leaving him, with his daughters, and at age 10 years was rubbing his penis against me in middle of night in my room. I could not sleep in fear of him coming in. This started happening at a young age, about 5 years, when I sat on his knee, he fingered me , and I would look at him, as a little girl would, and said: DADDY STOP. he did not stop, so i jumped off his knee, and tried not to go back on his knee again. I could not trust him. He manipulated me in front of my two step sisters, by saying when we were playing together joking around with him, NINA Come sit on daddy’s lap. I said no, he insisted. I feared him, and did as he said.

    Many other men as a young girl tried similar things.

    Latter into adult life I was raped by men, and I would like to include none of my offenders were charged or proven guilty. The law back then was not so good, and our parents say over the children was more effective then. children were not believed.

    In school I was bullied a lot by my piers and beaten up after school, called names. My head bashed into cement and kicked. Running for my life . At home I was not safe either and had parents that called me a coward, after running home for shelter from bullies at school, but found no compassion at home either. In fact my Step Father Wayne who is now dead, from drinking too much, and my real mother Elizabeth M punished me for being a coward.

    In public school a school you may be aware of or heard of EMPRESS in London Ontario, now a new name on Wharncliffe RD , I endured sexual abuse by my teacher MR Bailey .I told on him, but was never believed and was taken to the office, questioned and ridiculed by principle , bringing Mr Bailey in to smile at me, testing the issue. Latter calling my mother who did not believe me either. Nothing was done about it, except I was kicked out of school with a bad name. Latter as years went by, 5 years latter, it was on the news concerning Mr Bailey doing it again to 5 others girls. That to my surprise gave me something to go on, and I was latter able to get closure. I was contacted by Police who came to speak to me, I told them my story, and they apologised for my experience and asked me if there is anything they could do to make it better? I said yes, tell him to never bother me again. So they said they would personally tell him. No charges were laid for this and my sexual abuse by this teacher, but those girls who latter came up, he was charged for. I latter found out, that Mr Bailey’s family disowned him. He had a wife and two son’s.

    Throughout school years as a young girl, in public school, I was very disturbed and failed my grades, yelling screaming, throwing erasers across the room, and spending a lot of time standing in the corner or outside the class room door.

    So I know what abuse is about.
    People I know today, think I do not understand but oh yes I do.

    Latter at age 16 I ran away from home, and Police could not pick me up, because I was of age to leave home. I went from abuse at home to street life. I picked up with street people, was involved with drugs, drinking, prostitution, cigarette smoking , lying, cheating, stealing to get through life. Survival on the streets is not easy.

    I was in and out of Mental Health Hospitals , latter diagnosed and put on drugs several, to control symptoms, that latter I grew to learn, was not mental illness but spiritual gifts. These gifts were the beginning to gods Chosen purpose in my life. As a child I had many night dreams, and woke up screaming. My mother can verify that. Latter in life God showed me these were not dreams but future events that would take place in my life today. They were also dreams that would show me who He chose me to be . I am a chosen vessel.

    As a child I grew up with acute pain, periods were more painful then most girls, I cried a lot over it, and spent a lot of painful moments , with my mother telling me to walk it off. Walking seems to be a lot in my life. Mental Health systems when diagnosing me, said my pain was all in my head.

    I went through several hospitalisations and treatment for Mental Illness. I gained 310 pounds as a result of Mental Medication. I was locked up against my will for pain related issues, that were not proven, until latter in 2007. I was considered a danger to myself and others, but that was not true.

    They used it in order to lock me up. This happened several times and also happened due to my involvement with a Prophet in the States Peter Popoff. That story ill reflect on latter.

    Also because I was gifted and the Mental Health Systems do not believe in Spiritual Gifts that come from God. In the bible it plainly says: God’s Sheep, which are you and me, Hear His Voice. I hear God. This is considered a mental illness in our systems today. I have seen end time visions that are coming true in our world today. Many people involved with my life in 2015 and prior have expressed chills down there back concerning my intuition gifts, because they have seen the evidence in action. God calls these gifts . Gifts of Knowledge .Gifts come from the Holy Spirit. I believe The systems need to knock off there opinions concerning these kind of things that are evident in lives today, and stop calling them Mental illnesses. Yes many people, like myself at one time until they learn , are afraid of there gifts, see things, hear God, the Angels, the Devil, vision’s , dreams and much more, its not a Mental Illness, but something we need to develop and learn about, and are developments that help us become who we are , and show who God has chosen us to be, in our world today. Whether saved or unsaved, we all have a purpose. we need to learn how to use these abilities and Spiritual Gifts properly. The Systems, should be looking into ways, to teach this , so that people can live normal, consistent lives, maintaining them, and using there gifts in a proper way. Without Medication. I do believe Medication is okay in small amounts for those who are critically ill. Though only for a short time, until they recover. I believe recovery is maintained through teaching. Many People come from abusive lives , some worse then others, it does not make you who you are, but effects your life, life skills, attitudes and more, it destroys development , if not caught in the act and changed . The problem with the Mental Health Systems, is they don;t desire to take the time to teach it,and help people use there abilities properly, but desire to take the easy way out, by medicating them, controlling people’s lives, making them believe there Mentally ill,never amounting to anything, but living on the streets, begging for food, smoking 10 packs of cigarettes a day, crying for help, losing hope in the authorities in our world and God above. Brain Washed to believe they need to depend on you who are in power. Many of my friends in poverty on the streets have said to me: WE CAN’t FIGHT BACK, THE AUTHORITIES THREATEN US, AND SAY THEY WILL PUT US IN THE HOSPITAL AGAINST OUR WILL, AND FORCE MEDICATION ON US. My friends are afraid, the authorities put fear in them. I believe this is why, we have so many issues in our world today, like crime, lashing out, drug addiction and more.

    Rather then relating Mental illness as a Mental Illness, we need to remember that in most cases our issues of Mental illness , are related to personal experiences, like childhood abuse, physical , mental, and sexual, or more. Brutality , Witchcraft , Satanic influences .
    Believe it or not we live in a high level supernatural world, within a physical world. Things happen, that are hard to prove within the spiritual realms. hough evident in God’s world, and in His word. The world has forgotten who created us. God did a highly proven fact, evident, and supernatural man, who ounce walked on this earth in the flesh. He was perfect, and loved us in whom He created. He loved us so much, He gave His life for us. Whether people believe it or not, its the truth, and He will return very soon. You can call that a Mental Illness if you so desire, but I know, and God knows it is not.

    As for critical illnesses concerning those who kill and destroy lives, the Bible indicates that Satan is out to kill and destroy. These people in some form in there lives have had mothers, fathers, other people, and involvements in witch craft and Satanic involvement, whether as children growing up, or adults. Whether it there fault or not, and very well may not be, but the fault of the parent, or authority in there lives, through abuse growing up. This is how it begins, and considered Satanic influences which are very powerful , deceiving to the mind, brainwashing, and can control peoples lives, making them oppressed, depressed, criminals, hateful, lashing out people, killing, ad causing harm to there selves and others. Angry and Possessed individuals, in our world today.
    Can people change who are like this? I believe they can, it takes some work, work from you who God chose to be leaders in our world today. You need to go the distances to help these people. I believe those who are Christians, are expected to do that more so by God who has given them proper teaching. The problem is, no one is doing there job.

    Throughout the years , my life changed, and have God to thank for it all. It took a lot of work from me, to get to where I am today. I am a overcomer, and I have a lot to give to you as a Nation. I love everyone, and want the best for everyone. I overcame my issues of drug addiction, prostitution, stealing, and more. I no longer smoke cigarettes, overcome homelessness, gambling, and live a solid life. I still have issues but working on them, concerning housing, but if I might add, there is a reason for that, and Landlord’s who need to take some responsibility for there properties,causing health issues, and more. My doctor took several tests after my return from across Canada, another story ill speak about latter. He proved I was born with Osteo Arthritis , in the pelvic bones. Proving my pain was not all in my head. I lost 200 pounds coming off of mental health drugs, and going across Canada, the hard way, touching many lives as a result. I grew into that wonderful lady God desired me to be today.
    Another story I can talk about latter.
    I proved Mental health wrong, and no longer on medication, living a healthy , maintained life, using my special abilities that come from God above. I use them to help others. I went through 7 years of counselling, one on one, many anger management groups, life skills groups, religious groups, and more, to better myself. I can now be a leader of the Nations, a example, because I have worked very hard on my issues and overcome. My Mentor from Police headquarters said to me: NINA HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH, YOU HAVE OVERCOME, MORE THEN ANYONE, IN THIS WORLD, IN THE SHORTEST TIME. YOU NEED TO BE PROUD OF YOURSELF.

    My main development is Jesus christ, my relationship with Him, My main goal is to please Him.

    Posted by McCutcheon Nina at 04:08 1 comment:
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