Behind many TV interviews is a hardworking public relations professional who worked to secure the opportunity on behalf of a client. And while what airs on TV is a neatly packaged segment that may be just a few minutes long, it took a lot of time and effort from the PR pro behind the scenes to get to that point. Earned TV opportunities are ideal because not only can they provide much more airtime than a single paid ad, they are free! They also serve as an endorsement from the station for the featured organization or individual, offering a great deal of credibility. What makes a PR pro’s job challenging is determining what’s sellable to TV to peak the station’s interest and ultimately secure the opportunity. Here are a few best practices for you to consider before your next pitch…
- Make it local: Before reaching out to a TV station, determine your angle and what the station would find interesting about what you’re pitching to consider covering it. For local TV, one of the first things you should highlight is why what you’re pitching is relevant locally and will appeal to viewers.
- Make it visual: Through your outreach to the station, make sure to highlight the visual aspects of what you’re pitching. If a spokesperson has something they can demonstrate or display at the station’s studio, an in-studio interview can be a good fit. If you are pitching something like a grand opening of a new business or an upcoming event and can invite media on-site, offer them space to conduct live shots or the opportunity to capture pre-recorded interviews and footage at the site. Make your pitch as visual as possible so the station can picture exactly what they would be able to capture and why it’s worth their while to be there.
- Make it convenient and timely: If you are inviting media on-site, make it convenient for them. Typically, mid-morning is an ideal time so they can get the story ready to air on the evening news. Make it clear that spokespeople will be readily available for interviews. Timeliness is also key. Be sure to point out why what you’re promoting should matter to the station’s viewers now.
If you consider all of these points when developing your outreach plan, the odds of getting media to pay attention and agree to cover what you’re selling them are much more in your favor. Of course, once you’ve secured an opportunity, there are several steps required to ensure everything goes smoothly, but we’ll cover that in a future blog post.