Keep your pitch neat and tight. Every second counts in TV news. A 30-minute newscast consists of eight minutes of commercials. That leaves 22 minutes to recap the top stories of the day and provide an update on weather and sports. So at best, you are vying for probably 18 minutes of air time.
Be aware of daily deadlines. Planning meetings happen daily. Sometimes twice a day. During these sessions, producers, reporters, writers, assignment editors and such gather to determine what’s going to be covered and who’s Your Local News taking what story. Understand station by station when these meetings happen, so you can be sure your pitch hits the right person’s hands prior to meeting.
V is for video. TV is a visual medium. How often do you hear someone say, I was listening to the TV earlier? People watch TV, and video makes a story come to life. Anytime you can add visuals to a TV pitch, you have a better chance of getting covered.
Some ways to visuals to your story:
Offer a demonstration. Show the audience how to do something or how something is created.
Host a sizable gathering of people in the community. Events get covered. From festivals and high school football games to rallies at the courthouse and community meetings, they add visual flavor to the news.
Create an unveiling. When outdoor outfitting retailer Cabella’s opened its first store in the state of Ohio in the city of Columbus, more than 500 people lined up to be one of the first to walk through its door. That story aired on multiple newscasts that day.
Make way for immediacy. When watching a newscast, listen to the reporter telling the story. Pay close attention to the language they use. Most often, they speak in the present tense. Why? Because unlike newspapers, which often reports the news the day after the fact, TV stations are here to provide the freshest, more current happenings of any given event. TV news likes to tell a story as it unfolds.
Bring it home. People watch their local news to learn what’s happening around their hometown. If you are pitching a story that’s national in scope, you need to be able to bring it home and provide commentary from a local angle.
Give thought to timeliness. A few things to keep in mind about being timely with your pitches:
Never pitch a story after the fact. A hero’s homecoming isn’t quite the same when you don’t capture the reaction of family and friends.
Keep in mind the time of year. When pitching stories to your local TV station, be relevant to the here and now. A fundraiser to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association will have more meaning and a better changes of getting covered around Labor Day Weekend than Memorial Day Weekend.
Time your media releases appropriately. You never want to send a media release to a TV station weeks in advance. It will get buried. The key is to time it within a few days of your release, if possible. Experts suggest making a call then following up with an email.
© 2013 Stephanie Faiella, [http://www.avantimarcom.com]
Stephanie Faiella is a virtual marketing consultant and founder of Avanti Marketing+Communications. Stephanie offers a free audio report on “15 Marketing Campaign Strategies Designed to Build and Grow Your Business” – along with two free bonuses – which is available for immediate download at [http://www.avantimarcom.com].
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