How to Survive a TV Appearance: an Online Brand Guide

You’ve come here because you are lucky enough to have your brand featured on national television. Congratulations!

This could mean a number of different things. You might be launching a new commercial, doing an “as seen on,” Home Shopping Network, or even getting featured on a show like Shark Tank or “Bar Rescue.”

Even a quick 1-2 minute appearance can do amazing things for your brand. Larry Kim wrote an amazing piece on how exactly he made his national TV appearance happen.

Whatever the case may be, you want to make sure you are prepped and ready to go for when your brand goes live.

How much traffic to expect?

This number really varies. Having your app mentioned by Obama during the State of the Union Address will deliver much different numbers than having a 15 second slot at 3am on channel 321 on Dish Network.

A few examples:

Litter, a really cool online jewelry store saw over 250,000 visitors as a result of the “Shark Tank Effect”after being featured on the television show and striking a deal.

NBC tells featured companies that they can expect 100,000 hits in the span of a few minutes after being featured on the Today Show, and to prepare for it.

Have social and commenting capabilities

Today, visitors want to see engaging content that they can engage with. Integrate social media capabilities into your website to increase staying time. Keep readers on your site by providing a moderated forum where they can communicate with others in real time. It’s also important to optimize your content for maximum exposure — how well can readers tweet, “like,” pin, or share content via social networks? Make sure you’ve provided this option to readers as it will help drive traffic back to your site. Read more at http://www.imediaconnection.com/content/34459.asp#BEY49ut4Z7ZAsIs0.99

Social media

More and more users are watching TV while using a secondary device: smartphone, tablet, laptop, or even an HTPC.

One interesting survey from Hollywood Reporter from 2012 stated that 76% of people that post on social networks about TV shows, do so while watching the show.

Getting Accounts Setup

One way to surely offend a demographic is by forgetting about them. Just because your company “doesn’t like” certain social networks doesn’t mean you shouldn’t partake. Make sure you have at the very least these social accounts setup:

Keep in mind that every industry is different and has niche websites / forums where people congregate. This leads me to our next topic: social listening.

Social listening & keyword monitoring

Social listening is the process of “listening” for mentions of your brand on social media. This is normally done by using popular industry tools such as Hootsuite and Sprout Social, but a lot of savvy individuals build their own tools.

It is also a good idea to setup a Google Alert for your brand name, the name of the show you are on and any of your products or services.

You don’t want a heated conversation to happen on the web where you are not around to participate.

Social sharing

Make sure you have social sharing buttons on your website. This is an integral aspect of a viral campaign plan, and many users even expect to see them.

At the very least, make sure you have a Facebook like button, a Tweet button and Google+1 button.

The television network’s social networks

You will also want to monitor the social networks of the television network you will be appearing on. For instance if you will be appearing on PBS you will want to monitor PBS”s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Quite often discussions happen on these networks about the show that is happening live. When a brand representative is active in these conversations it shows how much you care about your brand.

Your website design

I can go into a long rant about UX, UI, conversion rate optimization, and split testing but there is no time for that. Just make sure you have these 5 things squared away:

  1. Your website loads quickly without any errors
  2. It is easy to navigate
  3. Contact information & information about your company easy to find
  4. You have a call to action that leads your visitors to what you want them to do
  5. It is usable on all popular devices (desktop, smartphone & tablet)

A lot of companies actually modify their website with a call to action catered to the TV program they are appearing on.

website modified for TV

Many websites that have been featured on TV modify their websites to let their visitors know about this event.

This is a tried and true method that has been used for ages. Customizing a landing page for a targeted demographic is an easy win that can be implemented with a few simple design changes.

If you haven’t solicited feedback from colleagues, employees, friends and family now is the time to do it.

You always want to wear your best suit for your most important meeting.

Get a Crew Together

On the evening prior to your TV appearance, hold a meeting in your office. Obviously you want people around to answer the phones and take product orders but you also want people around to:

Even if you have a skeleton crew, it might be worth it to scale up the days before, during and after your appearance. You don’t want to be scrambling and miss out on an opportunity.

Getting Technically Prepared

I won’t get too technical here, but I will say the #1 complaint I hear from people who just received a traffic spike after a TV appearance is that their server went down due to too much traffic.

Keeping your website up and running is vital to an online brand, and can really turn things negative if not handled properly.

Google makes some recommendations on what do do if you are expecting a traffic spike:

In addition to these recommendations, here are a few more:

Resize Your Server Cloud Hosting

One of the main benefits of using cloud hosting is the ability to resize your server with a few quick clicks.

Storm on Demand offers easy server resizing in just a few clicks.

Storm on Demand offers easy server resizing in just a few clicks.

You might want to upgrade your server for a brief period of time to a much more powerful server that can handle the bandwidth.

Test your site speed

I personally love Pingdom for site speed testing. Not only will Pingdom test your site for speed, but it will show you what files are hogging the most bandwidth.

It will also give you a rundown on what states are weakest in the chain. For instance your site might run really fast, but your host could be taking 1-2 seconds to respond to the initial request.

If you have a WordPress site we wrote up a full guide on WordPress site speed optimization that is worth checking out.

Let your host know

Or let your network administrator know. If you don’t have a network admin, let your host know. A lot of the times if you have a great support team they will keep their eye on things and try to deal with issues as they come up.

Simulate a traffic spike

This doesn’t mean DDoS your host, but you might want to perform some load testing to see what your site is made of. There are a number of load testing tools available on the web, both paid and free that will find the weakest link within your framework.

Postmortem

Just because the TV appearance is over doesn’t mean the work stops. Don’t forget your appearance may be re-aired (re-runs) at another time or if you are lucky sold on DVD or even made available on places like Comcast OnDemand, Netflix, or Apple TV.

One big fat piece of social proof

Now that you are a huge TV star, it is time to leverage this event. Being on TV means you are someone so make sure to take advantage on this.

One key way to do this is by implementing an “as seen on X” or “as featured on” within your website. There are a number of ways to make this happen.

Check out how this Amazon store takes advantage of their product (or a variation of their product) being featured on Dr. Oz.

as seen on dr oz

But just be sure you don’t try to get one over Dr. Oz. Recently he outed a ton of affiliate con artists face to face that stated he was endorsing

Link building after the fact

If you are lucky, you’ll get hundreds if not thousands of links from a TV appearance. But a lot of these links won’t build themselves. Outreach is key and without going into a full link building outreach post, I’ll just say that you should definitely take advantage of this.

Analyzing analytics and data

Getting this much traffic to your website is a huge opportunity to mine your own data. Take this opportunity to discover any new market segments you might not have been aware of.

Email & social outreach

If you have an eCommerce store or you are capturing emails, send a reminder out to your list & audience in the days after your appearance.

A lot of times people might want to take action during the show, but might not just because they are not in front of a device.

Use this as an opportunity to let your fans know about some of your other products or offerings.

Blog about it

Adding a human element to your blog about your TV appearance can go a very long way. Talk about what it was like. Post some photos of behind the scenes. Give a general narration of what happened before and after the show.

Blogging is all about connecting with people. If you are just writing words on a screen you most likely won’t leave a lasting impression on people.

I hope this post helped out. Although I have never been on television I have analyzed a lot of TV appearances made by brands recently and have been noticing some troubling trends.

Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe is the founder and CEO of Elite Strategies Llc. Patrick takes a hands on approach to managing Elite Strategies and loves to get involved with technical projects relating to clients inbound marketing needs.
Patrick Coombe
Patrick Coombe
  2 COMMENTS
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  • Written by: Antonino Bologna

    Really solid post on keeping a website from crumbling under the pressures of serious traffic spikes. If you couldn’t tell my favorite part was when you mentioned Google’s recommendations on what do do if you are expecting a traffic spike.
    Great work Patrick, keep it up!

    • Written by: Patrick Coombe

      thanks Antoonino – haha and yes me too, I was surprised to find that post from a few years ago on this very random topic. Always good to find “official” advice from Google.

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