How to Promote Yourself


Everybody wants to be on television these days. But don’t reach for the stars and start thinking about your own show just yet. Why not start small and go for a segment on your local news program, featuring your design work?

Everyone wants to see a renovation or home improvement, whether it’s a bathroom, kitchen, home office, or a family room. Local news organizations, whether it’s television, print, or online outlets, are all hungering for content. As interior designers, you offer some of the best content, because your designs are purely visual. You can see the colors, the changes, the texture of the wallpaper, colors of the paint. It’s as striking as a cooking show.

Creating great content is key. It used to be that a simple photograph was enough. Today, with everyone’s smart phones, it’s become easier than ever to be a media star, but you need to be innovative and creative. Photographs are important, as they introduce the segment producer you’d try to attract, but a video is even better. Just be sure to include yourself in the video. This shouldn’t be a one-man show type thing. Get a friend or colleague to tape the show for you.

Every local news station loves to do interior design segments. One of the tricks of the trade to getting your segment on the air is to volunteer your services at a local senior services center or childcare center for free or any group that can’t typically afford an interior designer. Maybe there’s a huge rain or snow storm in your area and homes are severely damaged. You can then partner with a local home-repair store and volunteer your services to repair a neighborhood. The project could be as simple as making a homeless shelter more space-efficient or to re-do the bathrooms or paint the walls. No one’s expecting you to turn it into the Ritz-Carlton, but an improvement will certainly make you and your firm shine.

Pro Bono work always attracts great publicity. Your altruism is the hook that will grab the producer’s attention. Your superb design would just be the gravy that follows. Women are usually the main demographic to these kinds of programs, and skewing younger is always better. So make sure to consider them when coming up with your idea ideas.

You might also consider lending services to:
  1. Drab Firehouse
  2. Veteran’s Facility
  3. Cancer Center/Healthcare Centers
  4. Soup Kitchen
Basically, the idea is that you’re donating your time and design services. You should also hit up your favorite vendors to donate supplies, such as Home Depot or a local paint store or furniture manufacturers. We’ve seen them do this on TV all the time.

Image does count. Almost anything goes, but you should create a signature look that allows you to stand out. Maybe a piercing, certain tattoo, bow-tie look, preppy look. There’s no right or wrong formula, but you need to create something that allows producers and audiences to easily identify you. You need to be compelling to look at and television-friendly. But don’t be too over-the-top. Use common sense. Consider personalities you’d be willing to show your children and family.

Once you’ve identified and created your project, your next step is to pitch the project to a local or even national segment producer. You can do this by going online, identifying the local newscast or show you like. Everyone’s listed online. For example, your local stations at ABC, CBS, etc. will list the segment producers. Even a national show like Steve Harvey lists all its producers online.

Now that I’ve said this to you, you can almost never go wrong in sending your content to any producer. Even if you send to someone too high up, chances are your pitch will go down the food chain and reach the segment producer.

Several producers at different stations have pet projects. For instance, it could be that someone has someone who is a veteran. Or maybe someone has a child who is sick and staying at a hospital ward. Understanding a producer’s special interest and framing your project around it will attract the right attention faster.

You’d getting through the door through your good deed. But the result is a 4-8 minute segment on the air that you can show your clients and use as a marketing tool for your future design projects, which can only come through an appearance on television or new media.

What happens if you pitch to 10-15 people and no one bites? It takes 20-25 pitches just to get a bite, so don’t be discouraged. It’s almost like sending your resume to a new job. Actually, my statistics say that it takes sending 100 resumes to get an interview. Pitching a show is no different.

But let’s say you’ve pitched to death and don’t get a response. My advice is to create your own show. You can easily create your own little channel on YouTube with 3-minute segments. You can have a friend film your show on an IPhone. However, you should pay for editing. 2 ½-3 minutes are the maximum. Once you’ve created a video, post on YouTube and start spreading the link on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Facebook – anything you can get your hands on. Your friends will share with their friends, and it can spread like fire. It is better that people get sick of seeing so much of you than not knowing you at all.

Some producers are more apt to reconsider your piece once you’ve done some of the work for them. In other words, if you’ve already demonstrated the visibility of your content, segment producers might then call you to appear on their show. With this possibility, you’ll not only appear on television but have a strong YouTube following but an appearance on television as well. Creating your own content can be somewhat of a challenge at first, but putting forth some independent effort will make you an even stronger force in the media.

Befriend segment producers. They’re your key to return appearances on a show. Don’t be afraid to stay in touch with them, as you have new projects. Constantly send them new content, and stay in their radar. There’s almost no such thing as a bad idea on television. As I said, cable TV and new media producers are always hungry for new content. Especially if they can see that you’re doing something good for the community, it benefits their show and will jumpstart your chances to get on TV.

To get a sense of how I increase my media presence, follow me on Twitter at WorkplaceGuru, on Facebook at Stephen Viscusi, and also on LinkedIn. My YouTube page channel is also called Stephen Viscusi. You can find links to these on my company website:

Stephen Viscusi is the CEO of The Viscusi Group in New York City and author of the Harper-Collins Bestselling book Bulletproof Your Job.