Quality products and services that can improve consumer lives are always worthy of airtime. That’s why a publicist must be versed in securing broadcast opportunities.
A television broadcast offers the two necessary components of any successful PR campaign: wide-reaching scope, with access to general audiences and an innate and authentic trustworthiness in the eyes of the public. It gives legitimacy to a product that other modes of coverage aren’t able to provide.
All that said, it’s not easy to get a hit with a major broadcast station. They tend to be unpredictable. Furthermore, not all stations are alike. A pitch that lands with one might not be suitable for another.
It’s a complicated process and a bit of a crap shoot, but there are some easy to employ methods to improve your chances of getting airtime. Here are some of our best time-honored tips for securing a broadcast placement
Know the Landscape
Identify which news program, morning show or talk show is right for your story. Each show has its specific demographic. The stories they pick to air will generally reflect the interests of those who are watching. Zero in on your match and don’t be afraid to let them know why you think it will work.
Remember, you both are looking for the same thing: a good story.
The hits are easier to get. Local stations have less content on their radar. They also have smaller budgets. So, if you’re story is newsworthy, they’re more likely to pick it up.
The good news is, a television placement at a local station can serve as a stepping stone to bigger national hits because national broadcast outlets will want you to supply them with samples of your expert on TV. With the folder of local station hits you’ve built up, you’ll have these samples readily on hand to provide.
Pitch Anchors and Reporters
Even though it is usually the bookers, planners or producers who arrange a segment, it might be a good idea to reach out to the reporters and anchors as well.
It’s important to producers that their reporters understand and feel motivated to report on a topic.
If you send a story to a reporter, and they latch onto it, they might be able to send it to the appropriate folks and explain why they want to report on it.
And quite honestly – they probably get a lot fewer pitches!
Plus, it’s advantageous to become familiar with multiple reporters. PR is all about creating and building relationships. Once you’ve established yourself as a trusted resource for quality content, their eyes are much more likely to light up, instead of gloss over, the next time your name pops up in their inbox.
And when you do finally get an interview request for your spokesperson, make sure you media train them for prime time. This typically involves drafting a couple of mock interviews and message points that you can role play. The more prepared they are –the better overall outcome for both of you, and the more likely you’ll be invited back.