When marketing execs think of getting brand exposure on TV, they typically start with commercials and stop at sponsored segments.

Yet today’s discerning viewer has tuned out to commercials, and they turn the channel when a sponsored segment starts.

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But TV is not dead.

Done right, TV placements can put your brand or product in front of the people most interested in what you have to offer without feeling like a commercial.

Here’s how.

1. Craft the Story

Whether you’re selling afterschool enrichment classes or organic lawn care products, your customers are consuming video on TV and online.

But no one wants to sit through a boring description of your product’s virtues.

How do you get potential customers to tune in?

The key is to build a story around your brand or product. Showcase it as one way to solve a common problem, or as a cool product that fits in a theme.

Looking to show off your new line of after dinner port? Craft a segment about how a novice can learn to pair wine with food, and feature your new port as the dessert complement.

Got a new line of dog booties? Put together an informative piece about keeping your dog safe from the elements.

2. Be the Expert in Your Industry, Not a Salesperson

Nothing screams “commercial – time to tune out” like a 10-minute dissertation about the ins and outs of a single product or service.

The key to successful TV segments is that the material sells the products.

Find a story that your product or service supports, then focus on that story instead of trying to sell your product.

For example, when we were working with Dream Enrichment to get the word out about their summer school programs, we didn’t pitch summer school options. Why?

A program talking about their own offerings is too direct a form of marketing for TV.

Instead, we presented Dream Enrichment as the understood thought leader in childhood STEM development. We developed a story about “Games to Counter Summer Learning Loss” and had the program director talk about fun activities kids could do at home to stay engaged over the summer.

This accomplished two objectives:

It inserted our client into a relevant story in the position of being a leader in the industry.

It introduced viewers to the brand without feeling like an advertisement.

3. Be One of the Crowd

Many marketing reps fear that having their product appear next to other items in their vertical would divert potential customers from their brand. Not so.

In this “Hot Holiday Gifts” segment on Wake Up with the CW in Las Vegas, we featured the small geo-tracker device Tile alongside powerhouse products like Amazon’s Echo and the Fitbit Charge 2:

This gave viewers the subconscious understanding that Tile was just as desirable as the other “must-have” items on the table, even though that’s the one they may not have heard of prior to seeing it on TV.

Including three to five items in a segment allows for the viewer to notice complimentary or comparative features of one item over another.

For example, the Tile was priced significantly lower than the other items we showcased, making it appear like a great bargain stocking stuffer.

Fewer than three makes it hard to keep the material moving. More than five makes it too rushed.

4. On-Air Personalities Lend Legitimacy

You couldn’t pay to have a morning news anchor – or three – schlep your product.

But when it’s presented as part of a bigger story? Something that a viewer might think is cool or useful? The anchor’s all over it.

We didn’t have to tell viewers how cool the Ring Doorbell was in this DIY Home Security segment. Cody did it for us:

5. Leave them Wanting More

TV segments are lighting fast.

It’s best to prepare to cover just the basics. These may include:

  • Name of the product or brand
  • Three fast facts about what makes it awesome
  • A quick demo if it does something neat
  • Where you can get it, or find out more information
  • Price (if it’s competitive in the market)

There’s nothing worse than a long-winded presenter that the anchor has to try to shut up in order to wrap up the piece. Keep it concise but energized and interesting.

Reap the Residual Benefits

A link to your product, service or website from a leading news authority ranked site? You can’t buy that.

And if that weren’t enough, you have professionally produced content that you can use on your own site, showing your product or service as legitimate and cool enough to be featured as part of a major TV show.

You’re going to want to post that bad boy to your blog and promote it socially. Repurpose the content to drive engagement and generate leads through a landing page with passive lead magnet.

Welcome to the new age of television marketing.