What to Expect from Your News Talent Agent

Hollywood has long found comedic value in portraying talent agents in various ways.

Sometimes they’re represented as smarmy opportunists with their sights so laser-focused on acquiring talent, they’re willing to do anything to get it. Anything.

On other occasions, they’re the frazzled cigarette-smoking stress cases buried under so much paperwork in a disorganized office that the audience is left to question why talent would ever choose this person in the first place.

In almost every Hollywood portrayal, the agent is either at one’s beck and call, or completely MIA.

So if you’re basing your search on those credentials, it’s can be next to impossible to know what to expect from your news talent agent.

We’re here to clarify.

What to Expect from Your News Talent Agent

Regular talent agents are a dime a dozen.

But GOOD talent agents – the ones with experience, connections, and a strong presence in the industry that will deliver results – they’re a much rarer breed.

And it’s tough to put a price on that. But we’re going to come right out the gate doing that anyhow.

1. Charge Appropriate Commission

One of the first things you want to look at is the commission a news talent agent is charging. For many of them, the standard is 10%. We feel that’s on the high end.

Less experienced agents trying to get into the business may ask for as little as 5%. This is a red flag that they may not have the experience that will help you progress.

The rule of thumb is to aim for somewhere in the middle. Just as when you don’t go with the lowest or highest bid from the guy who’s going to put a roof on your home.

So be sure to do a lot of interviewing for agents. Ideally, try to find an agent who is willing to work for a 7% commission.

2. Evaluate and Promote Your Talent

A GOOD agent is one who knows what’s hot in the industry and is willing to thoroughly evaluate your video and offer an honest and constructive written and verbal critique.

After all, your talent and skill is their bread and butter. So expect them to work for it.

Plus, your agent should be willing to fight to ensure that you’re being treated fairly.

For example, if you secure a position in a smaller market and they put you on a late night shift when there simply isn’t any news, your agent should be willing to rally for you to place you in a more appropriate market or at a station that will take advantage of your skills and talent.

He or she should always be willing to speak on your behalf if you’re being treated punitively.

3. Availability

Part of why Hollywood has so much fun portraying agents is the complicated nature of the talent-agent relationship.

But it doesn’t have to be complicated.

An agent who is available at every moment of the day to take calls is NOT the sign of a fantastic agent. You want an agent who will empower you, not enable you.

It’s not unreasonable to expect your agent to get back to you the same day that you call, however. And they should be willing to regularly communicate with you several times per month – even in times when you don’t necessary need them.

But it’s simply impossible for an agent to be available 24/7 to every one of his or her clients. It doesn’t make for an effective talent agent.

They can’t take the necessary time to find new jobs and leads for you and their other clients if they’re constantly attending to your every crisis. Which brings us to the final point.

What NOT to Expect from Your Agent

Your agent is not your parent. Or a union leader.

And just as with every job, there are going to be gripes you have about any position in any market. No matter how big.

So if you’re not pleased with how little vacation time you’re getting, or the company’s insurance plan isn’t up to your exacting, then you’ll need to take it up with your employer.

This is not the responsibility of your talent agent.

So Now You Know the Nitty Gritty

Now that you understand what to expect from a news talent agent, let the search begin.

Be sure to take the time to find the person who’s just right for you.

And if you haven’t yet found an agent who meets all of the above criteria, contact us today! You just might be at the end of your search.

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What Makes for the Best News Talent Placement Agency?

If you’re looking to find the best news talent placement agency, there are many from which to choose.

But there are precious few who will truly put you first.

If you’re an experienced news personality, you need more than just an agent. You need a trusted partner – someone you know is honest and to-the-point, while demonstrating mutual respect for you.

That’s why it’s important you spend a fair amount of time finding the right placement agency.

Having someone like this in your corner is the key to getting placed where you wish to be geographically and in the appropriate size market.

So what should you look for?

How To Tell You Are Working with the Best News Talent Placement Agency

We can’t reiterate enough that not all talent placement agencies are created equal.

You want to work with an agent who has spent many years – even decades – working in the industry. It’s even more beneficial if he or she has actual experience running a newsroom.

Whatever the case, a highly professional talent agent will do the following:

  1. Connect You with the Right People

This is the first point on our list because we can’t over stress the importance of finding an agent who has connections. And they need to be the RIGHT connections.

As we mentioned above, acquiring an agent with experience running a newsroom is a huge plus. Having that experience means that he or she has built connections with a vast network of professionals in multiple markets and in all levels of the industry.

These connections make a huge different. An agent with such connections who maintains contact with these professionals knows exactly where there is movement in the market… even before the word gets out.

And because there’s this relationship, prospective employers will trust your agent. That way, you can be assured that your DVD will actually be viewed.

  1. Require an Interview

If you encounter an agent who is willing to sign you on without ever bothering to meet you, that’s a red flag.

A solid agent needs to talk with you to determine your strengths, as well as get a real feel for you.

The other purpose of the interview is to gain a complete understanding of what you’re looking for in your career. This will help him or her to place you in the most ideal location and market.

An agent who requests a DVD, resumé, and photo (for on-air talent) is one who is willing to do a thorough job.

  1. Offer a Contract with Clear Terms

Once an agent has determined that you and he/she are a good match, they will offer a contract. But it’s important that you pay close attention to the contract.

An honest and respectable agent will be very clear on what they offer and why they expect in return. They will ask that you commit to the agency and its placement process.

The contract should be well-written, easy to understand, and clearly lay out the benefits for both you and the agency. This demonstrates the agency has a foundation built on mutual trust and commitment.

  1. Commit to Your Development

A truly amazing agent knows that when he or she sends your DVD to a prospective employer, it’s essentially the first impression you’re going to make. So it has to be highly polished and professional.

Therefore, upon viewing your DVD, the agent should be willing to analyze your performance and offer practical suggestions that will further your development.

From there, they should be more than willing to work with you to further work on your DVD so that it is strong enough to handle the tough competition.

Look for an agent who has connections with talent coaches, as this offers a huge advantage when it comes to development.

  1. Be In It for the Long Run

When you’re looking for an agent, be sure to clarify what will happen once you find employment.

Even once you’ve “settled” into a job, it’s crucial to remember that your career is dynamic and ever changing. So the best news talent agents will request you send a DVD every month so that you can continue to work together on your career development process.

It may seem like a lot of work. But it’s this diligence that will help you advance in your career and take you where you want to go.

Make the Right Choice

When seeking the best news talent placement agency, it’s in your best interest to demand all of the above requirements from your agent.

You can also cut right to the chase and contact us today to talk to an agent who fulfills all of the above requirements.

And get your broadcasting career on the fast track to success.

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Finding the Most Experienced News Talent Agent

Are you an established news personality looking to forward your career?

Then you know it’s not easy.

You’ve done the work required to get this far, but you’re ready for a change.

You can go out there and start scouting for a new station in a new city or new market. You’ll get much further if you’re able to secure a successful news talent agent though.

But how do you go about doing that?

What Makes for a Successful News Talent Agent

There are plenty of folks out there calling themselves news talent agents. But do they have ALL of the qualifications necessary to be a truly successful agent?

Before you sign any contracts, you’ll want to thoroughly vet anyone you’re considering for this job.

Here are the things you should look for:

1.  Vast Knowledge of the Industry

Like anyone who wants to sell themselves, many agents talk the talk. But can they walk the walk?

Ideally, any agent you consider has years – if not decades – of experience working in the industry. Some of the most successful agents are people who ran news rooms for many years before becoming agents.

As a result, they know the industry inside and out and have access to relationships and privileged information that others simply don’t.

They also know where the jobs are and how to recognize talent and match it with the appropriate markets and positions.

So if at all possible, stick with an agent that has actual broadcasting experience.

2.  Familiarity with Unfamiliar Cities

You’ve been in the business awhile, so you know that advancing your career means you may have to criss-cross the country for a while as you continue building your career.

Perhaps you’re even hungry to explore different venues and markets.

Whatever the case, you want an agent who has more than just local contacts, but national and international contacts as well.

3.  Mentoring and Coaching

Despite the Hollywood image, a successful agent isn’t heartless, cutthroat and insensitive. They’re in the business of helping others.

Any agent worth his or her salt understands the tremendous effort that goes into a creative and editorial performance/presentation. As such, they are willing to give a valuable and honest critique of a client’s delivery, voice quality, communications skills and writing style.

Having access to and working with top talent coaches in the country is also a big plus.

4.  Awareness of Current Media Environment

An experienced talent agent is one who is not only seasoned, but also operates with current and up-to-date processes. He or she should also be up on how technology continues to change the face of broadcasting.

They will take to the time to discuss with you your desired trajectory and will be able to determine the appropriate career path for you in today’s ever-changing market.

After all, developing a game plan is just as important to a career as accumulated experience and skills.

5.  Personal Attention

An agent who’s highly experienced will likely have many clients. But that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve personal attention. A good agent will take the time to get to know you.

No matter what your level of experience.

So be sure to clarify with a potential agent the ways he or she stays in contact and the amount of time you can expect before a call or inquiry is returned. You want an agent who will be quick respond to your needs.

Remember – an agent with many clients is in that situation because he or she is adept and skilled. Especially if they’ve kept those clients for some time.

So it doesn’t hurt to find out what other talent is being represented and then reach out to them to ask about their satisfaction with that agent.

6.  Ability to Negotiate

Once you’re offered a new position, an agent’s job is far from done.

Your agent needs to be able to negotiate your contract and structure the deal. And you want someone who excels at this.

Again, finding an agent with experience on the other side of the news desk will give him or her an important edge in crafting contracts. And if he or she has legal counsel on retainer too, it shows that this is an agent that will protect your interests and get you the best financial package.

Do Not Settle for Less

It might sound like a lot to consider. But this is your career on the line.

Don’t just hand it to the first agent that comes along with an impressive smile and a business card to match.

Contact us today to get connected with a truly successful news talent agent; one of the absolute best in this highly competitive industry.

We promise you won’t regret it.

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