Conducting a Successful Media Demo
As a Registered Dietitian working in a retail setting, a critical part of your job is demonstrating and communicating healthy meal solutions to your customers and the public. You spend your days educating those who walk through your doors to do their weekly shopping for themselves and their families. There are also, as you know, endless opportunities to share this important information with those outside the four retail walls, whether it’s through a community health fair, weekly circular, blog post or an article in the local newspaper. One way to share your nutrition expertise that will reach the masses is through a spot on your local TV station.
Many TV stations are looking for subject matter experts to offer tips for segments that help their viewers improve their health and wellness, especially for seasonal or trends stories. If you are called by a TV producer for a timely story and demonstration on seasonal eating and healthy meal preparations, are you ready to hit the ground running? You have some great ideas and messages, but how do you successfully prepare for conducting a recipe demo during a media spot?
Karen Buch, RDN, LDN of Nutrition Connections, LLC and a memberof the National Turkey Federation’s Nutrition Advisory Board, recommends asking a few questions in advance to help you understand the setting and filming of your segment.
- What set options can the television studio and anchor accommodate?
- Particularly, if you are planning to demonstrate a grilling segment, find out whether your segment will need to be taped in the studio at a news desk or whether there is an option to tape on a kitchen set or perhaps even outside on a gas grill.
- Will your segment air live or will you create the segment as a “live-to-tape” segment? Often, interviews do not have the luxury of editing and you will need to get it right on the first take.
- Live-to-tape typically allows the RDN to request a re-take if needed, although no editing is typically involved.
- Live segments may take place as a single take or may take place over short cut-away intervals throughout an extended time period. This type of segment may be best for a recipe that can be discussed and viewed at various stages of preparation.
Buch recommends choosing a topic that is seasonal and getting creative with it. One example for this time of year is grilling. “I think offering food safety tips along with healthful grilling ideas go hand in hand,” says Buch. “It’s the perfect time of year to remind viewers about how to maintain safe temperatures throughout the cooking process – before, during and after grilling.” She also suggests choosing a recipe that is simple and can be showcased in stages to make them look great on TV, such as grilled Kabobs. She outlines the stages here:
- Stage 1: Whisk the marinade recipe in a glass bowl. Discuss how making your own marinade recipe is often lower in sodium than commercial marinades.
- Stage 2: Show one turkey kabob fully assembled and have the components to build a second one cut and ready to skewer on camera. Marinate an oblong glass dish or zip top bags and discuss minimum and maximum marinade time (i.e., can it be prepared in advance to marinate overnight? Reinforce marinating in the refrigerator and never on the countertop).
- Stage 3: Add the kabobs to a hot grill (hopefully the camera crew can capture an audible sizzle). Discuss how to measure the temperature using a meat thermometer to ensure that the turkey has reached 165 degrees. In addition to kabobs, discuss other unexpected ways to prepare turkey such as grilling a turkey tenderloin and provide resources for viewers to access recipe ideas for turkey.
- Stage 4: Show a serving dish of the final presentation. Have some pre-grilled kabobs that have developed beautiful color ready to plate. Include brightly colored side dishes in your final spread such as seasonal fruits and vegetables for extra visual appeal. Consider grilled vegetables and fruits, watermelon slices, steamed asparagus, corn on the cob or a colorful mixed vegetable salad and be ready to talk about the nutritional value of the whole meal.
Prepping the Media
Shari Steinbach, MS, RD, Meijer Health & Wellness Nutrition Manager and a member of the National Turkey Federation’s Nutrition Advisory Board, recommends preparing for a media interview by putting together a simple outline. “This is a great way to get everyone on the same page. The TV stations love when I put together an outline with key talking points, tips, and the recipe. Not only does this help them understand what I want to say, but it helps them build a bigger story and develop questions for me during the segment.”
What might this outline look like? Here’s an example to get you started.
Conducting the Demo
Now that you have your recipe and messaging down, it’s time to think about conducting the demo. Steinbach shared some valuable lessons she has learned (the hard way!) over the course of her career.
- Look Presentable
- Wear your hair away from your face
- Wear make-up, you need it!
- Clothing (two pieces, solid color - no black or white, comfortable shoes)
- Over Smile
- Be Attentive
- Know where to stand
- Listen for cues (to move on or end)
- Remember the camera is always on!
- Know your talking points, but be natural
- Help your ingredients shine
- Place the products/ingredients for “flow” – from left to right
- Use clear glass bowls for mixing
- Use white plates to show food
- Use colorful décor, but not too much
- Use different heights for props
- Use food or packages for props
For tips on successful grilling, checkout our one-pager for you to share with your shoppers.
Visit ServeTurkey.org for nutrition facts, recipes, and other resources to discover more unexpected enjoyment when you serve up something unexpected with Today’s Turkey. ®