Seeding the Audience: A Different Approach to Talk-Show Publicity

September 2006
by Ellen Ratner and Kathie Scarrah

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During publicity campaigns
for issue-oriented books, you can seed talk-show audiences. This does not mean
using a shill. There is big difference between a shill and a planted or seeded
supporter. A shill is usually obnoxious, tries to take over, and sounds
rehearsed. People who are planted in the audience participate in discussions
without steering them. They are real listeners/viewers who are part of the regular
audience and community. Many folks may be willing to do call-ins for books
about causes that matter to them. Parents home with small children, employees
on a day off, commuters with cell phones, and students are all possibilities.


Having a cadre of people call in
regularly accomplishes several objectives. It ensures that the airwaves and
cyberspace are exposed to the issue your book involves and that it gets regular
mention; it can engage hosts and audiences in useful conversation about the
issue; and when a host perceives interest in your topic, it can make bookings
easier for you to get. In addition to calling, your cadre can also fax and
email letters and questions about the issue to keep the book on media front


Remember that for every minute one
of your people is on the air, the other side is not. Even if your callers are
not great talkers, your viewpoint is the one being presented. Since the 1996
presidential election, various campaigns have used the tal…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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