For many PR professionals, national broadcast represents the jackpot of all media coverage. We’re always looking for ways to tap into the minds of producers and craft clever pitches that don’t land in their junk folders.
Recently, I learned how to get the attention of top producers straight from the horse’s mouth at the PRSA Meet the Media: National Broadcast Media event. The panel featured Shira Sky, Executive Producer and Talent Booker for Huffington Post Live; Tracy Langer Chevrier, VP and Executive Producer of “The Better Show” (Meredith Video Studios); Jevon Bruh, Producer and Talent Booker for “The Chew” (ABC-TV); and Kristen Scholer, CNBC Producer for the New York Stock Exchange.
While some answers varied among the panel, here are the tips everyone agreed on:
Be concise: All preferred short and succinct emails with strong, clear subject lines. Start your pitch by stating your hypothesis or story idea, use a bulleted list to support it, and end with a clickable link to view more.
Know your audience: Producers appreciate when you watch their show, read their back-story, and think about what will resonate with their viewers. Trying to pitch a weight-loss product to a cooking show during Thanksgiving season isn’t going to fly.
On-camera experience is a must: If you’re pitching a client or spokesperson for an on-camera appearance, the producer needs to see a reel of him or her in action. Include a click-to-play hyperlink that directs straight to the reel. If passwords, encrypted downloads or firewalls are involved, your pitch will probably get trashed.
Do your due diligence: Don’t pitch more than one contact from the same outlet at the same time. One producer may pass your story idea along to another, but if they both show up in a pitch meeting with the same pitch from your mail merge, you’re in trouble. If you don’t get a response, follow up and let them know that if you don’t hear back by a specific deadline, you will pass along the opportunity.
Read what’s trending: The best pitch ideas are those that producers think will make – or change – the news cycle. Be aware of current headlines and showcase how your client is a game changer in their industry.