For nearly 13 years, I’ve worked in a PR agency and have experienced a consistent truth: the allure of broadcast television is nearly irresistible. Even clients who initially seem reluctant to incorporate TV into their media strategy invariably succumb to its siren call.
Over the years, I’ve found that the outcomes of such appearances are overwhelmingly positive. Having been a TV news producer, I understand the inner workings of broadcast media.
And for those in PR who find securing broadcast coverage a Herculean task, I’m here to share some simple tips for how to craft the perfect TV pitch and land that on-air interview for your client.
Harnessing the Power of Newsjacking
Newsjacking may be inelegant, but it encapsulates an effective strategy: aligning your client with a relevant news story. Broadcast media are news cycle slaves. They thrive on the timely and the topical. Your client’s latest hire won’t cause a blip on their radar. However, your CEO’s expert insight into a trending news story might just hit the sweet spot. Here’s how you do it: search for relevant keywords daily, read pertinent news stories, subscribe to trade journals, and engage your CEO in these stories. You’ve struck gold if their background or stance brings a fresh perspective to a news story. This intel is the bedrock of your pitch to producers.
Preparation is Key
TV is a dynamic beast, and the news cycle can influence your client’s interview content. The producer’s primary concern is delivering “news they can use.”
Your client’s promotional agenda must align with this priority.
Ensure your client understands the importance of responding well to the interviewer’s questions, even if it means leaving some promotional points unsaid. Remember, a successful interview increases the chances of a repeat appearance.
Understanding Your Target
Before you pitch, it’s crucial to understand the show producers you’re reaching out to.
Research them online and on social media.
Familiarize yourself with their shows and their style. Analyzing their content will inform you about the type of stories you should pitch.
Observing how experts are interviewed can also provide a blueprint for positioning your CEO for an interview.
Researching the Network, Show, and Reporter
Your role as a PR representative is to ensure your client is well-prepared for interviews. That means understanding the intricacies of the network, the show, and the reporter conducting the interview.
Different networks and shows have different ideologies, agendas, and demographics. You need to understand these nuances and convey them to your client.
Three simple steps will get you there: watch the network, read articles about it, and speak to anyone with firsthand experience of appearing on these networks.
Laying the Groundwork for Pitching
Before pitching TV, identify the person you want to put on TV within your organization. Discuss it with them, ensure they understand the implications, and, if possible, arrange media training.
Next, decide what type of broadcast aligns best with your goals. Research the shows on these networks, watch their content, and figure out the best pitching strategy. Find the right producer to contact through LinkedIn or Twitter, and craft a concise and impactful email.
The Art of Follow-Up
Navigating the world of TV producers can feel like a black hole. Responses can be sparse, but timely follow-ups can work wonders.
Be patient and strategic about when to pitch. Building a meaningful relationship with the producer is the key to landing that coveted TV interview.
Securing a TV spot for your client requires a mix of strategy, patience, and tenacity. Remember to engage authentically with producers, understand their needs and preferences, and persist even in the face of silence.
By building meaningful relationships and pitching relevant, timely stories, you can secure the coveted broadcast media coverage that your clients desire.
– By Annie Pace Scranton