tv3.jpgTime was, television was just too expensive a promotional medium for most small business owners. But the rise of reality TV and the coming of Internet videos have changed all that. Now's the time to grab some TV exposure and build your brand.

If you think your business would make a good reality-show subject, find a producer and pitch it. The owner of Uncle Jack's Steakhouse in New York, William Degel, recently decided he was the toughest steakhouse boss in the Big Apple -- and sold a reality show based on that idea to RelativityREAL, the producer of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They in turn sold it to Turner Broadcasting's TruTV.

Beyond the TV screen, the opportunity to create shows on the Internet is booming. To help people who want to launch their own online show, longtime Hollywood producer Lauren Lloyd launched BigTV this month. Described by Lloyd as "Oprah meets YouTube," BigTV provides a platform for hosting your own online show and talking about your passion -- in the case of entrepreneurs, your business. You can pitch them your show idea at submissions@bigisgood.tv

Another recent press release I got reminds me that TV is also still a good place for product placement and that end-roll credit that puts your company name in front of millions of viewers. It's a way to add instant credibility to what you do. For instance, this month Geranium Lake Flowers in Portland scored a gig to feature its floral arrangements on the reality model competition Model Latina on SiTV. The rise of more channels means more possible places for you to get this kind of exposure. Niche channels also can deliver a target audience you may be trying to reach.

Have you scored a TV gig, either online or on the good ol' boob tube? Leave us a comment below and let us know if you found that a productive way to market your business.