How to pitch a successful TV interview
A pitch that will be successful with a print journalist will most likely quickly be rejected by a podcaster. To serve your clients well, you not only need to know their stories, but how to frame their stories for each media type.
As a senior publicist, I can tell you that getting your client on television is a big win. As a television journalist, I can tell you that it is not easy to get that kind of a win. But you can make it easier by applying these tips:
1. Make it personal.
“To whom it may concern” is not the kind of greeting that will get your pitch noticed.
Before you pitch a station, make sure you find out the name of the appropriate producer or reporter. Then, find out more about them. Look at what they have done in the past. Tell them how great their work is and how your client’s story would fit their beat perfectly.
TV journalists receive thousands of pitches a day. Crafting yours with some personalization can help it to get noticed.
2. Do your research.
To be successful, a pitch needs to go beyond buzzwords. Make it obvious that your story is real and relevant to the station’s viewers by providing support. The more facts and links to related news that you provide, the less work reporters will need to do and the more open they will be to considering your story.
3. Find timely tie-ins.
TV is all about what is happening now. Therefore, your pitch needs to be relevant to what is happening now.
Even if you need to pivot from your client’s primary angle, finding a way to connect with a timely event or breaking news will do a lot to boost the appeal of your pitch. Keep your eye on the latest news and look for ways to leverage what is trending to get more exposure for your client. Also, make sure your client is prepped ahead of time and ready to speak on any relevant topics. If your pitch is successful, the station may need to talk right away.
4. Stand out
No matter who your client is or what field they operate in, they are going to face some competition when it comes to media exposure.
Make sure your client stands out by highlighting what makes them the best choice. If they have won awards or hold special certifications, make sure to include that in the pitch. And make sure to include it near the top; if a reporter does not find something newsworthy in the subject or first few lines, they typically will move on to the next pitch.
5. Keep it local.
When pitching to local news, make sure that your pitch resonates with the local community.
Paying attention to local news and community events will help you to craft a pitch that local watchers will want to see and, consequently, local news will want to cover. Often, following local governments’ social channels can be enough to give you the cues you need to make your pitch relevant.
6. Be visual.
Unlike most print media, TV needs supporting elements. Providing B-Roll or video elements makes your story that much easier for a TV reporter to use. Make sure you mention in the pitch that you can provide some extra media, such as photos and video content. If the footage that you can provide is compelling, make sure you describe it in a compelling way.
7. Be a resource.
TV reporters typically need to interview more than one person for a story. If you want your pitch to stand out, make sure you explain that you can provide more than one expert. If your client leads a non-profit, perhaps you can also recommend a key supporter or board member as a potential interviewee.
Again, the more of a resource you can be for the reporter by providing support and content, the more likely you are to be included in the story.
8. Keep it short.
Reporters are on deadlines, so your pitch needs to be short and sweet. If it is too wordy or too complicated, it will probably get overlooked. The body of the pitch should provide the essentials: who, what, when, where, and why. Anything beyond that can be attached or provided via a link.
Apply these tips, and the chances that your pitch will get noticed will go way up. Make sure that you conclude by including all the information the reporter will need to get in touch with you or the appropriate contact for your client. Then, get ready to get that call.
By Danielle Grossman