Pitching broadcast is a daunting task for many PR professionals. It’s faster paced than print or digital and getting a hold of a TV News reporter can seem impossible. As a former TV Producer, I remember tossing a majority of press releases and pitches that came my way. Now, on the other side, I find myself thinking back to what made me open (and read) a PR pitch. Below are four things to consider when pitching TV news that will result in, well, results.
What will your news story show? That is the first thing a reporter or producer is thinking about when you are pitching them. The visuals are often more important than the topic or messaging. For a live or in-studio TV segment, you need to send several visual elements in your pitch. I suggest bulleting them out, so it’s clear what you and your client are offering. Whether it’s live performers, interviewees, or b-roll. Offer up the world, and there is always room to edit.
Stay Short & Concise
PR professionals tend to write and talk a lot. A typical TV news story is 20-40 seconds and consists of 4-6 simple sentences. This is how reporters, producers, and news anchors think – so sending drawn out pitches that are several paragraphs, followed by a press release is a major turn off. You can always offer additional information at the end of your email. Pro tip – write your broadcast pitch and cut it in half.
Be Aware of Breaking News
In an ideal world, PR professionals are keeping up with the news 24/7, but sometimes the real world gets in the way. I highly recommend staying on top of breaking news as it pertains to your clients. A wonderful way to do this would be to sign up for breaking news alerts from your local markets and national markets. Do not pitch or try to contact reporters during breaking news stories such as a mass shooting, natural disaster or terrorist attack. Understanding what state of mind reporters and producers are in is vital to forming relationships. You do not want to follow up with them on your light-hearted pitch when they have worked all day covering a tragedy.
It’s All About Timing
When pitching TV, timing is everything. It’s important to be aware of what time the reporters and producers you are reaching out to are working on live shows. If you want to talk to someone from the morning show, reach out to them before noon. The morning crew starts coming into work around midnight the night before, so if you reach out in the evening they are likely already in bed. The same goes for night reporters, do not pitch anyone who works late early in the morning. Do notcall news stations during live shows. If a live show is happening, no one is going to talk to you about your pitch.
Pitching TV is a completely different beast than pitching print or online media. You must put yourself in a different state of mind. The more you can practice the above tips the more successful you will be in securing TV coverage for your clients.
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