How Do I Find My Hook?

January 2009
by Karen Melamed, Barbara Wellner, and LeGrande Gr

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How Do I Find My Hook?

by Karen Melamed, Barbara Wellner, and LeGrande Green

“So, what’s your hook?” That is the first question we always asked potential guests when we were producers on The Oprah Winfrey Show. We got calls from every source: publicists, authors, people off the street who thought their story or expertise was worthy of being on Oprah.

All these would-be guests knew they had to convince us that their stories were more than run-of-the-mill, and that they should be singled out for a chance to tell those stories before millions. They all had a pitch. Unfortunately, something was often missing in their pitches.

As you might guess, since scores of people were vying for our attention every day, we could give each one only about a minute to make a point and grab our attention. We would listen, and then, almost invariably, we’d have to cut them off with that all-important question, “But what’s the hook?”

Truth be told, a TV producer has been forced to have the attention span of a three-year-old who has just downed a fistful of M&Ms. We’re busy. We’re on deadlines. We have shows to produce, emails to return, and meetings to attend. The vast majority of pitches are done by phone, so it’s easy to end them when they are go…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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