PITCHING TIPS FROM MEDIA BOOKERS - SKIP THIS AT YOUR STORY'S PERIL!
Clients often come to us asking if their story, news, or spokesperson will work for a satellite media tour - a series of interview segments pitched, booked and conducted on TV, radio and online news outlets conducted via satellite and on a single day, . We’ve been doing this a long time and like to think we have all the answers – but on a regular basis and to give the best counsel to our clients we still ask the gatekeepers at stations what topics and experts they want to talk to - what works, what might not. Here’s the latest:
WHAT WORKS First and foremost bookers at media outlets said it is important to think of ourselves as the viewer when crafting a potential interview segment – what would be likely to keep us interested for 3-4 minutes. The more interesting and timely the story – the more likely the segment will book and the longer the interviewers will be engaged in interview, which translates into more air time and the chance your client’s message reaches your audience.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK One of the complaints we received from producers during our most recent round of outreach – is that sometimes they are offered a very interesting interview and then when they go live it turns into a commercial segment or worse: something uninteresting and unappealing to their audience. The actual interview didn’t live up to the pitch - this is a surefire way to never get your content booked again.
NITTY GRITTY – here are specifics on topic and spokespersonS that we heard the most from our media contacts:
· Tips not products – stations we spoke with said they will tend to stay away stories that focus on products as the centerpiece of the segment. Provide non-competing tips or solutions to a problem that are not necessarily associated with your product or service to round out the interview for the well-informed viewer.
· Your expert should be a though leader or your research/data shared should allow viewers to gain real insights and solutions in their everyday lives. So anything that can save their viewers time, money or improve their lives in some way.
· Media outlets consistently tell us an interview is most appealing when it’s a topic or a spokesperson they can’t otherwise get themselves, locally.
· Several also mentioned that new research, survey results, or new data that supports a topic or solution also appeals to them and their audience.
· Work to generate a topic or storyline that is tied into or dovetails with current news headlines An example of this would be a recent tour we coordinated that addressed the Gender Pay Gap. Our timing was ideal as we pitched when gender equality was trending in the news. So be sure to keep on top of trending topics and see how it may fit your messaging.
· A few stations mentioned the sway locally towards “harder” news stories and the switch from the light lifestyle pieces they are often pitched. Something that our viewers to can dig their teeth into that has a real effect on their lives.
· For almost every station talent is the driver as to whether they book a segment or not – NOTE: with company spokesperson being the least appealing to television and online outlets.
· Find a bonafied expert or true thought leader for a spokesperson…lifestyle and tech experts can be challenging when it comes off to stations as a mere title– especially lifestyle experts as those are pitched very often to stations and mentioned as particularly uninteresting to bookers
· Bookers/reporters absolutely prefer (if not pretty openly only want) a third-party spokesperson and prefer someone with credibility in the industry – an author, blogger or creator themselves
· Celebrity for celebrity sake does not work either – if a personality is used they want someone who is tied to the cause or product in some meaningful way