Years ago, I lived in Chicago and worked in public relations, faxing many a media pitch of my clients and following up with journalists via my landline telephone. (Maybe it was decades ago?) Today, the game has changed quite a bit.
But television is still around. And despite the rise of Instagram stories, Snapchat, and Facebook video, TV as a form of media is alive and well and therefore, knowing how to pitch media is still important.
Read on for some tips on the nuances of pitching your story, client, company, brand or products to TV producers.
Create a symbiotic relationship with your producers. You should both benefit from working together. Get to know the producers you’re pitching, work with their schedule and put yourself in their shoes throughout the pitching process.
Watch the show before you send a media pitch to a producer. Learn the hosts’ personalities, the show format, etc. Check out the host’s or producer’s Twitter handle. Find a common thread in the articles and segments they are publishing. This will all help you build your media pitch in terms of how to present your expert and ideas.
Pro Tip: Use what you learned to turn your pitch into a headline. Create a catchy and clear name for the segment you’re pitching to grab the producer’s attention.
TV producers work anywhere from 60-80 hours any given week. Their world is a constant blur of emails, calls, quick turnarounds, and high expectations. Make the producer’s life easier by keeping your pitch short and simple, using CliffsNotes and bullet points. They don’t have time to read an entire email or media pitch, trust us. Less is more in this case.
Provide a real person for the TV producer to interview. Find a spokesperson for your client or company and present them as an expert in their industry. What can your client or company offer as advice, tips or trends? What story do you have to tell? Pitch the story first as the segment idea, then include the expert’s background and general product or service information about your client or company. First and foremost, producers want good content.
TV producers spend all day (and night) thinking about…you guessed it…television. They are visual people and usually need to see a segment or expert on video before knowing how it will work on their show. Attach a video featuring your client or company. If you don’t have any digital media to share, film a short video of your own speaking to your expertise. No need to be hi-tech with this. A simple iPhone video or computer shot will work well.
Pro tip: Breakfast producers tend to work from about 5:00 a.m. to around lunchtime/early afternoon, while producers of morning shows and evening current affairs shows tend to work from nine to five.