Like digital and print media, it’s constantly changing. Here are a few current trends:#1: The pace of the news cycle is increasing tenfold while newsrooms are shrinking. Breaking news always takes precedence and there are fewer reporters to cover it.
All of these factors influence the mindsets of reporters and producers. If you’re looking for earned broadcast media opportunities, here’s what you should consider:
☑️ Put the viewer (or listener) first. Why should their audience care about your story? This makes or breaks your broadcast pitch. Before you reach out to the TODAY Show or GMA, ask yourself: Would this information appeal to a mother of young children or an empty-nester in Iowa? Alternatively, if you’re pitching CNBC TechCheck or Cheddar, what is the bigger picture for a business owner or investor? Similarly, radio shows on NPR and Bloomberg focus on breaking news, major business trends across the country and the economy.
☑️ Time it right. Broadcast reporters and producers are covering stories that matter now. Does your story tie into a larger trend? TV follows the major headlines of the day. Pro tip: Don’t call when the show is on air—reach out before or after.
☑️ Find a local or national angle. National broadcast outlets care about issues impacting everyone in the country; local broadcast outlets care about local news. Don’t discount the value of a local TV placement—there’s a chance it will be picked up by national affiliates if it bubbles up to a larger trend.
☑️ Make it visual. B-roll still rules. If you have it, call it out in the pitch subject line. If you don’t have it, tell the producer.
☑️ Offer a real expert or person impacted. Provide experienced (and trained) spokespeople. They should be able to think on their feet and have a compelling, not self-serving POV. Also, do you have access to a person impacted such as a customer or patient? Broadcast journalists love to balance their stories with both perspectives. Pro tip: Make sure the spokesperson’s LinkedIn is updated—bookers and producers typically check online profiles to make sure their position and expertise is legit.
☑️ Be accessible. Is the spokesperson available on short notice? This is key. Producers often reach out to multiple sources for one interview. If you can be the first to respond, it improves your chances of being on air.
☑️ Navigate the newsroom. The reporter might like your story but the executive producer or news director might not. Remember, there are lots of cooks in the kitchen—your story needs to be pitched to multiple producers before it gets air time. And obstacles like scheduling and breaking news can get in the way. Find out when the daily planning sessions are scheduled (typically morning or early afternoon, depending on the show time) and give them ample time to review your pitch.
☑️ Offer an exclusive. If your story is the perfect fit, consider offering an exclusive as it will sweeten the deal and help lock it in.
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