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Five steps to create a successful TV pitch

tv pitch - mighty mussels at abc7

A successful TV pitch generates news coverage that helps businesses and organizations increase their brand awareness. Ultimately, media coverage can drive foot traffic, sales, website visits, donations and more. 

That’s why crafting a TV pitch is so important. Media have the power to reach audiences near and far, and unlike advertising, news coverage is entirely earned. This means a story is aired or published because it has news value. 

Earning TV coverage is valuable because news stations, especially in Southwest Florida, do not just air a story once. Stories air during multiple newscasts. In fact, at least one of Southwest Florida’s four network affiliates – ABC7, FOX4, NBC2 and WINK – are on-air for 15.5 hours daily on weekdays. Stories that air multiple times broaden the potential viewing audience. 

Priority Marketing’s Public Relations Team provides client partners with a wide range of PR services, including media pitching, to help businesses and nonprofits tell their stories. Firing off emails to reporters is not the best strategy. Instead, Priority Marketing takes a more calculated, thoughtful approach when pitching stories. In the fast-paced world of television news, crafting the perfect TV pitch takes expertise and planning. 

What is a TV pitch

Journalists rely on a variety of sources to generate story ideas, including: 

  • Conversations with decision makers and community members 
  • Reviews of meeting agendas from government agencies 
  • General observations and first-person accounts 
  • Google searches and reviews of other media outlets 
  • Social media content 

News releases and story pitches also offer inspiration. A story pitch is a key public relations tactic that is especially effective for television reporters, assignment editors and producers. 

Elements of a media pitch 

Generally, public relations professionals will make story pitches via email, text or a phone conversation. Pitches are more informal than news releases and usually personalized for a specific journalist. They can be as short as a few sentences and include the essentials – who, what, when, where and why. Members of the media can receive hundreds of emails each day, so brevity is important.  

The process of deciding which stories to pursue and air starts with reporters and assignment editors, each of whom makes pitches of their own during internal planning meetings. From there, newsroom leadership decides which stories make the cut. 

Building a successful media pitch

Getting the attention of a journalist or news organization is a challenge. Without earned media coverage, it’s difficult for businesses and organizations to inform and educate the community. 

Below are five steps to create a successful TV pitch: 

Step 1: Do your homework 

Reporters typically are assigned specific beats based on topics, like health care or education, or geographic locations, such as Naples or Cape Coral. Knowing this information helps determine who should receive a pitch. 

TV stations list bios and contact information on their websites, making it easy to search for journalists most likely to cover a story. 

Step 2: Determine a newsworthy angle 

A story must have a news value to viewers or readers. Highlight why a topic is important for the community – not why it is important for a business or organization.  

For example, if a hurricane is forecast to impact Southwest Florida, reporters will be looking for sources to discuss storm preparation. After it passes, journalists will need experts to discuss cleanup, insurance and other matters of importance. Major events offer opportunities to step forward as an expert with timely, helpful advice. 

Step 3: Visualize your story on air 

A good print story does not necessarily make a good TV story. The difference often lies in the visuals. TV stories must contain video. This can include on-camera interviews as well as Broll, a term used for supplemental footage that often airs on screen as reporters, anchors or interviewees are talking. 

TV journalists must show AND tell their stories. 

Step 4: Draft your email 

Email pitches should be clear, concise and structured – just like a news story. Pitches should not exceed 200 words. Bullet points make it easy for a journalist to scroll the pitch for newsworthiness. Adding all background and details can overwhelm the pitch recipient. Instead, attach a news release, flyer, photo or blog that contains more information. 

A TV pitch should indicate: 

  • The name and title of individuals available for on-camera interviews, and when. 
  • A list of potential visuals to support the story. 
  • The who, what, when, where and why of the story. 

Step 5: Timing the pitch 

Before hitting send, consider the day and time. Although media organizations operate 24/7, the timing of the pitch can determine whether an email is even read. Meltwater, a media monitoring company, advises to send pitches in the morning or early afternoon, preferably on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

Journalists receive many emails and do not respond to every message. It’s OK to follow up after a few days to make sure the email was not overlooked. 

WATCH: FAQ Fridays Quick Tips 

A familiar pitch 

Priority Marketing has established relationships with journalists across the region, state and nation. When pitching stories to media, familiarity helps get emails read and stories told. 

VIEW: Public Relations Services 

Looking for a public relations firm to help pitch your stories? Please give us a call today at 239-267-2638 or send an email to LetsTalk@PriorityMarketing.com. 

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