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Nail It! How To Clinch That TV News Interview

Despite the increasing popularity of social media as a source of news stories and more traditional media going online, clinching a news story or interview on a TV news segment or programme is still a big deal. Today, we have hundreds of TV news, current affairs programmes and talk shows in the Asia Pacific that are always looking for quality content. A good PR professional will always be on a look-out for opportunities to pitch a story or their spokesperson to these news segments. After all, earned media is always much more credible and tv news is definitely one of them. Here are some tips to get your story on TV.

Make it newsworthy. Entice the producer immediately. If you are pitching a story or a spokesperson interview for a morning show, study the various segments and the appropriate ones which are topical for your pitch to be considered. If there is a Health and Lifestyle segment on the show, offer a topic the producers can relate to and give them an incentive to grant you a story or an interview spot on the show. In fact, you can even take advantage of a recent viral news and get your spokesperson or thought leader to be considered for a discussion on the topic.

Make your story angle stand out. Our journalists and editors received thousands of email news pitches daily. So, be concise in your headline and body content. This is not the time to tease. Offer your news angle quickly, to the point and do not bury your angle deep below in the pitch. A good possible TV news pitch headline could be – “Story Pitch: Scientists Found New Serum to Reduce Varicose Veins Safely.”

Respect their deadline. Take note of your journalist’s deadline and off-stone. If he or she needs to have the story by 6 pm that evening, do not try your luck and send the pitch at 2 pm. Give them ample time to review and consider. While sending the pitches early is a good practice, refrain from sending it too early as well. Unless you want your story to be lost and hidden under thousands of pitches, give just enough time to pitch your story. I would say, about a week is just right. 

Add visuals. Television is after all big on visual. Add supplementary elements to your TV news pitch such as images, infographics, charts, videos or conduct a demo of your product. When made available, it gives a reason for the producers to consider using it and making your content more colourful and appealing to the viewers.  If they find these information valuable which calls for an in-depth explanation, your spokesperson might even be invited to be on the news for an interview.

Offer your best spokesperson. While offering visuals can add colour to a piece of dry information, providing a spokesperson to share in-depth details can make your story even more real for the audience to relate. Just to note, establish an understanding with your spokesperson that there is a chance of them having to drop everything to be at the studios for the interview when the opportunity arises. So, prep them early. 

Your Godfather offer. You know your broadcast media wants to reach a lot of viewers. So do you.  Ensure that your story has a distinct value for your viewers. If you are suggesting your spokesperson for an interview,  highlight their knowledge and expertise,  the key points they will discuss and why it would be a news point the producer will be interested in. When you have a Godfather’s offer – it’s a win-win situation for both.

Be engaging. Nothing is better than personalisation. Try to send your news pitch directly to the producer in charge of that segment. Take the effort to know them, spell their names correctly and address them accordingly. While sending an email is good, a quick phone call to follow up can help to see if your pitch might fit what they are looking for. When you engage with them, it shows your sincerity and genuine interest to be on the show. Best of all, you may also offer an alternative should they decline your initial pitch.

Do not over-promote. We all know how important it is to have our company, products, services, and events mentioned in the news. However, keep in mind that producers will get turned off if you go on the promotional route too much. Focus on the topic with the audience in mind and the benefits instead.

As a golden rule, it is important to pitch your TV news to the right new segment. Do not shoot everywhere and hope for the best. Choose your right  target (news segment) and aim to nail it!

Need help in pitching your story or spokesperson for a TV segment? Contact us today.

(This article was first published on Marketing in Asia)

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