Pleasantly Persistent PR Blog
How to Become a TV
Political Commentator
September 23, 2020
TV political commentators are those rare, fortunate people who share their opinions and influence public thought. Many political and campaign professionals are lured to the media spotlight and want to segue into a TV political commentator role. The competition is fierce, especially if your goal is a regular spot on a major media outlet.
I have helped a few politicos take their message from the boardroom to the green room. If you have political or government experience, learn how to become a TV political commentator with these 5 tips below.
1. Write a Book
For most pundits, writing a book is the gateway into the world of political commentary. Even if you are writing regularly for a publication, nothing quite carries the weight of having authored a book.

Your book does not need to be a best seller or prize winner. The key is that you have gotten a book published on a subject that is at least tangentially related to politics and current events. There is a cachet in having written a book, and with it comes the added bonus of being seen as an expert who has extensively studied a given subject.

2. Promote Your Book
After writing your book comes the equally difficult task of getting it published. Once that is achieved, your book proudly sitting in the palm of your hand, the work is still not over. You now need to promote your book.

Given the cacophony of news in the 24-hours news cycle, it shouldn't come as a surprise that landing media spots to talk about a nonfiction book are not easy to come by. Not sure how to promote a book? Here are my Secrets to Nonfiction Book Publicity.

The long and short of nonfiction book publicity is that you need to know your audience, which media outlets cater to your target audience, and develop an effective marketing hook for your book.
Pro Tip:
A PR book professional can handle all of your book publicity, including developing hooks and pitching to and following up with media outlets.
Learn more by reading Is a Book Publicist Worth the Money?
When you are offered media spots, whether to publicize your book or as a subject expert, think quantity over quality. The more you are on TV, the better you'll become at giving political commentary and the more popular you will become with the producers and the audience too. As they say, "Practice makes perfect."
3. Leverage Yourself as an Expert
Media outlets are always looking for experts to provide insight and context to breaking or trending news stories. The good news is that if you have done step one - written a book - you will already be considered a subject matter expert.

Besides writing a book, your professional background should lend you political or governmental expertise. Ideally you will have worked in government.

Maybe you were chief of staff at the mayor's office, or the governor's political director. A city council member, former judge, assistant district attorney, policy advisor, even a city clerk - these are all roles that have enriched your perspective as a government insider. Whether it is at the local, state or federal level, you have an understanding of the inner workings of government that most people do not. This makes you an expert.
Leverage your expertise when pitching to media outlets and when on-air as a pundit. Consider yourself not a general political commentator; rather,
you are a brand with a specific niche of expertise.
For example, I have worked extensively with Laurie A. Watkins. She is a former policy advisor who served in President Barack Obama's administration at the U.S. Dept. of Defense, and also worked on both of his '08 and '12 presidential campaigns as his political and policy advisor. I highlight her credentials as a Democratic campaign strategist, a Florida politics guru, and an insider on matters where politics and policy intersect.
Further Reading:

Political commentators are considered thought leaders in their field. Learn more about becoming a thought leader in your industry, politics or otherwise.
4. Be Opinionated
This may seem like a no brainer, but if you are going to be a political pundit, then you have to be opinionated. Always have a take on current events. Be ready to back your take up with facts and stats; the media loves numbers.

And be prepared for rebuttal.

When you're booked on a network for a panel discussion, the production staff will tell you ahead of time who will be included on the panel. Do your research on the panelists. Look at their Twitter feeds and go to their websites. The more prepared you are for a segment, the better you'll appear on TV. Your goal, every time you're on air, is to entertain first and educate second.
In short, the media wants commentators with interesting stances on events since this generates audience interest and engagement.
5. Be Self-Promotional, But Courteous
Hopefully by now you are realizing that to be a successful TV pundit you need to develop yourself as a brand with a clear set of niche expertise and informed opinions. Like any brand, you constantly have to market and promote your service - or in the case of punditry, yourself and your opinions.

The media insider world can be cutthroat. To get ahead you need to be very comfortable with self-promotion. That said, the media world is a people and relationships business. Be courteous, respectful and flexible too.
Yes, you can become a TV political commentator in 5 generalized steps,
but there are years of work that go into it.
Reach out to me today to learn more about how to become a TV political commentator and what I can do to help you reach your goals.
Feel free to contact me
Julia Brown
Book publicist
Phone: +1 619-888-7956
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