Broadcast outlets communicate to engaged audiences every day and shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to media relations.
We opened our doors to some of the region’s PR community recently to host a CIPR North East event on broadcast PR.
It was great to have BBC Look North’s TV planning editor Adrian Pitches and Bauer Network’s news operations manager Matt Jones join us to shine a light on what goes on behind the scenes and the best approach when it comes to pitching a story.
Here’s what we took away from the session…
Think like a planner
Put yourself in the shoes of the TV or radio contact you plan to pitch to and what will excite them. Is your story a ‘first’, will there be human interest, have you got a case study willing to be interviewed (real people preferred over celebrity ambassadors), will viewers be inspired, is there a link with a big event going on in the region and for TV – what’s the visual? Tick a few of these boxes and you have a story to pitch, but if you don’t, be honest with yourself that media relations time may be better spent elsewhere.
How to pitch
An email is preferred, and it’s worth putting in a call to the planning desk before you hit send, then to gauge feedback later in the day. If you have a press release include it, but make sure the first paragraph is on point. It should be concise, direct, sum up what’s happening and be jargon-free. Images and video content help to show what the visual could be, so are welcomed too. Within the email, make the opportunity as accessible as possible by being clear about things like dates, timings and who’s available for interview. News and planning teams are inundated with emails every day, so make reading yours as easy as possible so it’s not lost amongst the others.
Consider every platform
TV and radio outlets are multi-platform and push out news online and on social media too. Your story mightn’t get the go ahead for broadcast, but is it the right fit for another channel? More often than not TV and radio teams have people working in digital roles on the lookout for online and social content, so even if your story isn’t broadcast-friendly, it’s still worth getting in touch to pitch it elsewhere.
Get the timing right
Give planners as much of a heads up as possible as they like to plan at least a day in advance, but if something breaks or it’s a reactive opportunity, still pitch it in as they can get film crews or reporters out on location quickly if the story is right. Embargo press releases if needed to help plan features in advance – all media love an exclusive including TV and radio. Anything from a first look around somewhere new to a first interview is great content. TV-wise, the Tuesday after a Bank Holiday Monday is usually a slow news day, so you might have more chance of securing a feature if you time it around then.
How you can help
Newsrooms are stretched when it comes to resource, and can’t always commit to sending out a film crew or reporter. This doesn’t mean your story won’t get featured, as there’s things you can do to help secure your spot. You can record an interview for radio with a smartphone using the voice memos app and email the file to the reporter. For social media, if you have high quality video footage and imagery which could have been taken using a smartphone too, share it.
Happy pitching folks! Stay tuned on our social channels for our next event.