How to Make Your Broadcast Media Pitch the Gold Nugget Amid the Dross

There’s good and bad news concerning getting coverage for your brand or organization on television and radio.

The good news is that with today’s 24-hour news cycle, the talk radio and cable news media have a voracious appetite for news sources. They constantly need new angles on breaking news, as well as fresh faces to help put that breaking news into context.

The bad news is that everybody and his brother Jack already are inundating talk-show and news-show bookers with pitches, most of which aren’t within light years of being on target. This means show producers must wade through a daily tidal wave of dross, searching for a gold nugget.

By following four simple, straightforward steps, though, you can cut through the flotsam and land your executives and, by extension your brand, on cable talk-news and talk-radio programs.

Step One: Create an on-target email list of talk-show bookers and producers, subdividing them

Ned Barnett
Ned Barnett

by the story types and story angles their shows cover.

Step Two: Carefully monitor new and breaking stories for any news angle tied to your brand or organization. The important word here is “carefully.” I use

Google Alerts, but there are many ways of identifying breaking news.

Step Three: Next, determine the brand’s take on this breaking news, then write and post a brief blog explaining the brand or organization’s position.

Step Four: Finally, and most important, send a killer pitch.

The Pitch: Remembering what we said above regarding the mound of off-target pitches, your pitch must have:

• A subject line that can’t be ignored.

• A brief introduction that sizzles—something strong enough to compel the booker to pick up the phone. Include a link to the blog.

• A short, compelling reason why your executive is ideal to put this breaking story into perspective for the show’s audience.

Remember that “brevity is the soul of success.” You must keep the pitch short enough to appear above your email’s sig-file—a brief paragraph, not more. If you have more information, put it below the sig file, with a notation, “for more information, scroll down.”

Bookers’ and producers’ buy-in time for considering your pitch will be measured in seconds; you’ve got to nail them quickly. This means your pitch has to compel immediate action. In our 24-hour news cycle, news literally is here today, gone tomorrow. Any delay could be fatal.

This is relatively easy if your organization already is in the news or an executive you’re working with is recognized as a talk-show source. This approach works equally well, however, if you are a brand promotions manager, dealing with a product that generally isn’t considered newsworthy.

For example, let’s say you promote a brand-name luggage maker. First, ask yourself, “Where’s the news?” If you’re a luggage maker, the answer could be “right in front of you.” Any time the TSA does something that catches the media’s attention—an almost weekly occurrence—you have a shot at inserting luggage into the story. Knowing the next TSA controversy is coming, follow these steps:

First, create that targeted media list. Subdivide it into the kinds of programs that cover such news. For a luggage maker, refine it for those who cover terror, travel and security, as well as consumer advocates and, perhaps, the political media. Every segment of the media that would cover either travel or the TSA is fair game here.

Next, prep your spokesperson on issues related to the TSA, included luggage-related factoids such as those concerning locked luggage and the TSA master key—something few travelers know about, but which could create problems for any traveler who checks luggage.

Moving on, pre-identify likely issues, then compose boilerplate blogs that can be quickly personalized and tailored to the breaking news.

With this in hand, refine your media-pitch list to target those programs that cover the specific aspect of the TSA story closest to what your client does.

In this way, as soon as a TSA story breaks, your expert can be booked for a TV or radio slot, explaining how the TSA works and what it does with (and to) checked luggage. In addition, your expert needs to be ready to offer something useful: three tips for hassle-free travel; the seven deadly sins of luggage packing; or the top ten things to look for in luggage that will minimize problems with the TSA.

Then, do the same thing for travel-related stories. Figure out what they will be in advance, prepare the spokesperson, compose the blog and get your media list ready. Do this for every kind of story that is relevant.

CONTACT: [email protected]

An email template you can use for your own media pitches

Using the brand-name luggage-maker example from above, here is a hypothetical email pitch following up a TSA-related breaking news story. In the story, the TSA is caught breaking locks on checked luggage and rifling the contents.

Subject Line: Why the TSA Breaks Into Luggage, and How to Avoid it

Alternate Subject Line: Preventing the TSA from Breaking Into YOUR Luggage

Pitch: The TSA has been caught red-handed, breaking into checked luggage, destroying locks and sometimes destroying luggage.

There is a reason for this, and there are ways to avoid it.

Our expert on luggage security, Bob Samson, explains it in this blog (link). He is ready to put this story into perspective for your audience.

Mr. Samson is nationally recognized in the field of luggage security. The author of Your Luggage or Your Life, he frequently speaks before travel industry groups and consumers on ways to protect what you pack.

Bob is ready to tell your audience what it can do to safeguard its luggage, even protecting it from the TSA.

For more information, scroll down

Signature file

(insert blog copy or press release text here, below the sig-file)

This article originally appeared in the April 4, 2016 issue of PR News. Read more subscriber-only content by becoming a PR News subscriber today.