How to Pitch the Experts Part 1 - Sarah Shirley

    February 18, 2010

    One of the biggest gripes I hear from entrepreneurs is the difficulty they have getting their products on morning (or evening) television news shows. If you can't secure a whole TV segment on just you and your product - how can you get your product on TV?

    One word. EXPERTS!

    Media "Experts" are those sunny personalities that appear on many news programs presenting a slew of products under a specific topic (example: Five Items to Organize your Life). These people have worked hard to build a name for themselves and, as a result, producers book them regularly to showcase their top product picks.

    Because these experts aren't always easy to find - I decided to do the dirty work for you. Starting today, I'm going to use my Savor blog for the next few weeks to give you the inside information on how to pitch these experts - from the experts themselves!

    First up - meet Style Expert Sarah Shirley.

    With a penchant for all things chic, Sarah is the go-to source for fashion commentary, appearing regularly on The Today Show, The Early Show and Good Day New York. In 2006, Sarah was named the official style expert for the nationally syndicated morning show Daily Buzz, reporting twice a month on timeless fashion secrets and hot trends of the moment. Often quoted in magazines from InTouch to InStyle, Sarah is always up to date with fashion and society.

    What kind of TV spots do you typically do?

    I work on fashion and style segments mainly on morning news shows or evening news shows. For example, I did a segment titled Sunglasses for your Shape on NBC's the Today Show where I had 4 models each representing an oval, square, round, or heart-shaped face. We had a celeb picture for each face type and we featured a ‘save or splurge' pair of sunglasses for each face shape. After we talked about each style, brand, price, and pointers for each face shape, I moved on to talk about some of the trends with the anchors and we played and tried on fun "sunnies." My latest segment was for NY Nonstop on "Last Minute, Outside the Box Valentine Gifts."

    What makes a product ‘stand out' when it's pitched to you, and how do you prefer to receive a pitch?

    Well it has to have a good angle and not just a document with a lot of type. Images work well, and product works better because then you can try it and really fall in love with it. For example, I was sent this lip balm called EOS and it's in an egg-shaped sphere. Until I pulled it out of the package and put it on, it did not appeal to me and sat on my desk for a week. I got it before the holidays as it was pitched to me for gift segments. I never used it, and then put some on after the holidays and now I'm obsessed, have told everyone I know about it, wrote a blog about it, and will use it in my Valentine's Day segment!

    Also it's great to go to an event and have someone tell you about the product that she/he is passionate about it. I get so many emails that it's hard for me to keep up. It's always great when someone gives a follow up call on the phone. I'm a real phone person when I have the time to talk on the phone. Also meeting people in person is great and then you have a relationship with them!

    I also like when the person pitching has thought of an angle instead of telling me the product is great because of xyz. Really think it through. When I'm pitching an idea to a AM show I think what type of segment would make a great teaser - like "coming up next after the break we've got shapewear that will take you down not 2 dress sizes but 4" - something like that will make you come back after the commercial break! 

    To learn more about Sarah, visit http://www.sarahshirley.com

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