Getting ready for your close-up

Media Strategies - Cover Feature | Marketing

Ryan McEnaney of Bailey provides five tips to feel prepared and confident on-screen as a gardening expert.

February 12, 2019


Being on television or even appearing in a YouTube video can be intimidating. The thought of hundreds, thousands or even millions (should your video go viral) of people watching you can cause some to struggle to be themselves when the lights and cameras go on. But appearing in television segments can help position your garden center as the local expert and is a great way to advertise your business. So how can someone with no previous experience on camera prepare themselves to take the next step in promoting their independent garden center and services offered, or if you have experience how can you take it to the next level?

We reached out to Ryan McEnaney, who regularly appears in local TV segments in the Twin Cities as Bailey public relations and communications specialist, to pick his brain on what key tips and tricks you can use when preparing for your segment.

1. Know your audience

“Do you know who watches the show on which you’ll be appearing? Is it a Saturday morning news program or a regional lifestyle show? Knowing who’s digesting the information will help you determine what to talk about with the hosts,” McEnaney says.

McEnaney suggests a Saturday morning news show to showcase tactical tips and tricks segments such as when to prune, top 5 new plants for spring, choosing the right plants for a shaded area, amongst others.

An afternoon lifestyle show would be a great chance to showcase how to projects like building a hydrangea wreath, cutting flowers from the garden for a beautiful arrangement or drying flowers for the fall/winter tablescape, McEnaney says.

Ryan McEnaney of Bailey regularly appears on the afternoon program Twin Cities Live as a gardening expert.

2. Rely on customers and social media for topics

When considering what topics to use for your segment, it may be as simple as looking at what your customers are saying or sharing on social media. McEnaney says that when he comes up with topics for TV or video for the web, he reviews the company’s Facebook page and email inbox as well as comments on social media posts.

“When you’re trying to come up with topics, don’t stress out over it,” McEnaney says. “Go with what people are already asking you. If you’re seeing a trend in customer questions in person or online, start there.”

McEnaney says to go with what people have the most questions about and what inspires them.

“If you’ve had five people asking on Facebook about how to prune a hydrangea, then it’s a relevant topic that’s worth pitching to a TV producer,” McEnaney says. “When you’re pitching, be sure to tell them that it’s a question you get over and over in your business; that’ll help lock in your pitch and get it picked up.”

Taking these steps can make for great TV that helps connect with your audience. McEnaney says if you’re doing that, you’ll get asked to come back.

3. Be prepared and know your material

Once you land your segment, your preparation will be the key to your success.

“While you’ll work with the producers to outline the segment, the host(s) will ask you questions off the cuff,” McEnaney says. “Since you’ll likely be involved in topic selection for each segment, be sure you choose material that you’re comfortable with and that you can react to on your feet.”

By preparing accordingly and answering each question asked accurately, the TV segment showcases your expertise on the topic and, in turn, drives business to your company, he says.

Applying powder to your face can help dull down the shine that the camera produces.

4. Look your best

Just as you prepare your topic for your TV segment, you must also prepare your personal appearance. McEnaney says that women and men shouldn’t be afraid of a little powder on their face.

“The studio lights add shine, so be sure to put on a little powder beforehand so you look your very best,” McEnaney says. “Remember that you’re not only representing yourself, but your company, and this will make you look professional and put together.”

McEnaney suggests either a translucent powder (that you can get cheaply at almost any drugstore), or if you’re going to be a regular on TV, invest in mattifying primer.

5. Be yourself

When you walk into the studio, don’t forget who you are. McEnaney says to not get intimidated by local TV celebrities, cameras or the lights.

“You’re the expert, so be confident and excited to share whatever topic you’re discussing,” McEnaney says. “If you’re feeling nervous, ask a friend or colleague to have a high-level conversation about your topic the day before. Don’t make it an interview, but just a normal conversation. It’ll help you put together your talking points in concise sound bites.”

Another option is to write out your top three to five points, but not to memorize them.

“You want to be prepared, but not scripted,” McEnaney says. “Even though it’s on TV, these segments are really just conversations between yourself and the host or other guests.”