We and our clients were lucky enough to have had another great speaker to give us their insight into the world of broadcast. This time it was a return visit to our Small Talk circuit – show biz guru, Johnny Seifert.
Johnny wears several hats, including that of show biz editor at TalkTV and entertainment producer for Times Radio. He also presents his own podcast, called Secure the Insecure, where celebrities talk about their own mental health journey.
Johnny Seifert’s Own Podcast
Johnny is a big fan of podcasts and points out that, other than when it comes to music, podcasts are not regulated at all. That means there’s no OFCOM breathing down a producer’s neck when it comes to plugging a product.
Offer a celebrity spokesperson to Secure the Insecure and, Johnny says, you can expect around seven brand mentions. On top of this he will use multiple clips from his podcasts on social media, particularly TikTok and, as they often get reposted by the celebrity themselves, the reach can be massive.
Johnny’s advice on branding
Obviously TalkTV and Times Radio, like other broadcasters, have advertisers and OFCOM to deal with when it comes to branding. No brand is going to spend money on advertising if they hear another company getting opportunities for free. Typically expect a couple of plugs per brand.
Johnny Seifert advises trusting the presenter to get the brand checks in. The worst thing, he feels, is a guest over-branding. Those interviews will be cut short and they’re unlikely to be repeat guests.
Your celebrity spokesperson will be allowed at least one mention of whatever campaign you’re working on, but in return must also be prepared to talk about a news story in the agenda. Both TalkTV and Times Radio are hard hitting broadcasters, with a big focus on news and politics. They enjoy a show biz guest too, but those celebrities need to know a little about what’s going on in the world!
Timing and flexibility
One of the most useful things Johnny talked about was spokesperson availability. Often celebrity contracts only cover 0800-1300 which just doesn’t wash these days. For Talk and Times, politics comes first in the day. These are the hard-hitting organic news stories; it’s only later in the day that celebrities can filter into the agenda and, Johnny stipulates, they must be live interviews, hence the need for us all to look at our contracts! A further requirement is for celebrity guests to go into the broadcasters’ studios.
It’s worth the effort, however, because as Johnny Seifert points out, the interview will be a decent half hour.
How to make your celebrity stand out
Like any show biz editor, Johnny Seifert hankers after those hard to reach, elusive celebrities – the ones that don’t often agree to a broadcast interview. When he was talking to us, Channel 4’s Great British Bake Off was leading up to its final and Johnny would have loved to have had either of the judges, Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith.
Having a view on the news also helps. Johnny says a celebrity is much more likely to get booked if they do.
Packaging up a celebrity alongside a case study is also a good move, for a story like Epilepsy Awareness Day, for example.
Beware though, celebrities who are presenters on other radio or TV stations. This is not Johnny being fussy, it’s more their contracts most likely preventing them from appearing on their competitors, TalkTV and Times Radio.
And, as we always advise, check the last time your celebrity was on air. Times Radio has a chunky six-month buffer before they can come back again. TalkTV has no buffer, but we would advise making sure your spokesperson hasn’t been on air for at least 4-6 six weeks prior to your own campaign.
Johnny Seifert’s personal favourites
Johnny prefers influencers to massive names. And even this depends on how big a social media presence they have. Asked to rank his preference for reality shows this was the order:
- Love Island
- Married at First Sight
- Celebrities Go Dating
- Towie/Made in Chelsea
Even then, the shelf life of a programme can be short for Johnny. It can be as long as three or four months if the influencer already had some sort of social media presence. If they were unknown before going on a TV show it will be shorter.
Interestingly, when selecting who he wants on the show, he’s asking whether there’s potential to create news, in the form of a newspaper headline, from his guests.
Any guests need to remember that Talk and Times Radio are both visual, which is as much for social media purposes as it is for television audiences.
Getting in touch
Less is more is Johnny Seifert’s mantra. Three lines in an email with the celebrity’s name and the hook is sufficient for him to yay or nay. He doesn’t need the details until the day before the interview. Make it clear, he says, what the celebrity’s link to the brand is.
Johnny Seifert’s top Broadcast PR tips:
- Don’t spam him with emails. He’ll let you know if he’s interested.
- Be open minded.
- Consider offering guests for podcasts.
- Have fun! We are, he says, in this together!