Lights. Camera. Action! This month kicked off with one of our clients being featured LIVE on FOX 2 News Bay Area. The lights were on, the camera was rolling, and the we got major air time amongst the cream-of-the-crop media. They all want it: these top-tier broadcast hits. But how do us PR folks get it? And once we do get it, how do we make sure our clients are prepared? Here are my top three tips for pitching (and securing) broadcast media.
1. Think Outside of the Box
Unless you are Jeff Bezos or Tim Cook, you are likely not going to have the opportunity to speak on television solely about your company or product. Broadcast media are the top of the totem pole for clients but they are also the hardest to pitch. They are extremely selective and you have to offer something unique. Before pitching broadcast first identify:
- What does my client have that they might like?
- Does my client fit in to what they are already talking about?
- What can we offer them that they can’t get themselves?
Do some digging, think outside of the box. Is there some unique tidbit about your client that can be leveraged to a larger idea? Or maybe an SME has a background that would qualify them to speak on a trending, news-of-the-day topic. These are good thought-processes to have when approaching broadcast media.
2. Understand the Broadcast Media Landscape
So, you have your winning pitch formulated, you’re feeling good, you click send and… crickets. The best pitch in the world will not have success unless it’s seen by the right people. The winning formula for broadcast media also includes knowing who to target.
First think about what you are offering. If you are offering someone to come speak in studio you will want to target producers and assignment managers. If you are offering something on-site or promoting an event you will want to target reporters. Having a solid grasp of how a broadcast newsroom works is essential to securing top-tier hits.
The other essential: the follow-up. And this means, brace yourself, picking up the phone. Broadcast media get a TON of email. From firsthand experience, I can say producers only look at about ¼ of them. Bring your winning pitch to their attention. Practice what you are going to say and how you are going to sell them even more over the phone.
One difference between print and broadcast is television news desks actually pick up the phone. So be prepared with what you are going to say.
3. “And Cut”, the Key to Preparing Your Client
Congratulations! They want to put your client on-air. So now what? A broadcast media refresher is in need. And if this is a live interview, it is definitely in need. Your client must hit the mark, be succinct, and be engaging. They only have one chance to get it right and one opportunity to work in key messages about their company or platform. Practice makes perfect and perfect means practice.
Also remember THEY are part of the story. The audience is not only listening to what they have to say, but also watching how they say it. If you tell your client to act more energized than they feel comfortable, it will likely come across just right on television. Also, stick your chest out and don’t be afraid. Television reporters can be intimidating but remember, it’s a conversation – that’s what comes across best on TV – and your client can guide the conversation when relevant.
So there you have it. The winning tips to pitching, and securing, broadcast media. Now go out and spread your TV wings. And remember: “Stay classy SHIFT!”