Pitching Broadcast: The Optical Story

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Flip on the TV – it’s a visual and auditory experience.  A worthy story can reach through the screen and grab viewers, often moving them to action.  When pitching stories to local broadcast we need to think like the producer -focus on a local angle and remember what makes good TV.  Components to a solid TV story include a strong narrative and compelling visuals. You can’t have just one otherwise you miss the chance to take advantage of the power of this medium.  Producers select stories that feature both: a great plot and captivating video.  When pitching we have the opportunity to explain why our pitch has all of those components, but yet producers often lament that PR folks often miss the mark and don’t tailor their pitches to showcase how and why it is a story made for TV, especially local broadcast.
WWPR recently hosted a broadcast media round table highlighting basic broadcast PR reminders and a few local pitching cues:

Doesn’t hurt to brush up on:

  • helping producers visually understand the story
  • the 5Ws
  • how to peg to a story
  • thinking like a journalist
  • using short subject line
  • following trends on Twitter
  • offering an exclusive
  • knowing broadcast lingo

Locally tailor your pitch:

  • with compelling interviewees and something tangible to run video on – all packaged around a national story with a local twist.
  • by giving producers a unique place to send the news truck Saturday morning – and no, a 5k is not a story.
  • to explain what will be the local viewer take-away.

But don’t take my word for it – hear directly from the source.  Charlitta Rodrigues, a producer for NBC4 in Washington, DC offered her guidance.

Tina McCormack Beaty’s passion is food, local retail, and small businesses. Professionally focusing on strategic communications, branding, and entrepreneurial marketing using integrated tools of social media and PR. Currently, Tina is president of Washington Women in Public Relations and is an accounts lead on Porter Novelli’s foodie team. She also serves on Miami University’s (OH) Alumni Board. You can reach Tina at @TMStrategy.

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  • Kathryn

    Thanks for these great tips. I plan to share them with my PR students at the University of Oregon this term. Suffering from budget cuts, I’ve noticed that local broadcasters are even more receptive to a well thought out pitch that they can run with immediately.

  • http://www.ereleases.com/prfuel Mickie E Kennedy

    This is something I always tell my clients — think like a journalist! Even if your ‘story’ is a new product announcement, you really have to keep in mind that a reporter/journalist is eventually going to have to make a story out of it. “Write with the end in mind.” Great piece.