I still remember the first time I booked a TV segment. I was a sophomore in college and one of my public relations courses required us to find a nonprofit organization and volunteer our PR services, so I decided to pitch local news stations about an upcoming event we were having.

Heeding my professor’s advice, I drew up a pitch letter and sent it off to the news desks of a few local TV stations. After some phone call follow-ups…BAM! A few days later, FOX CT (WTIC) was taping the package at our headquarters. From that point on, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in PR.

Years later, I’ve been lucky enough to book quite a few segments with both regional and national programs. Broadcast is definitely my favorite medium to pitch because it’s all about the visual; I love watching the news and figuring out how my clients can seamlessly fit into a particular show’s content. Not to mention, escorting clients to in-studio appearances can be loads of fun, especially when you’re a fan of the show. I have a not-so-secret obsession with Good Day New York’s Greg Kelly.

There are a few guidelines I follow when pitching producers. Here are some of my tips for all of you PR professionals out there who are looking to land a TV segment for one of your clients:

Be Visual

TV is a visual medium. Explain to the producer, in as brief of a note as you can, what you can offer them from a visual standpoint. What props do you have? Have a fun idea for one of their anchors? Tell ‘em! Just be sure to keep the show’s format in mind.

Watch the Clock

If you are going to follow up with a phone call or even an e-mail, make sure you pay attention to the clock. Whether live or taped, know what time the show airs. You don’t want to call a producer right before or during a broadcast. And if you are pitching morning TV…those folks are gone by early afternoon.

Know Their Interests

This rule can be applied to all media. I always like to check out a producer’s Twitter handle if I can find it. It can give you a good idea of the content they are after. TV is not like print, where you can find a common thread within their published articles, so you need to do a little digging.

Think of What the Viewers Want to See

As with all pitching, you need to think in terms of the audience. Why is your client important right now? What can they offer the show’s viewers that make this a timely story? Try playing into seasonal ties, holidays or trending topics. If it’s a newsjacking – explain how your client can contribute to the evolving story.

Watch the Show

Pitching your client to a show you’re not familiar with? Do your research. Sometimes, I DVR a couple of episodes to figure out the hosts’ personalities, show format, etc. Segments are also typically found on the show’s website. This knowledge certainly helps strengthen your pitch in terms of how you’d present your idea/client to the producer. Plus, who doesn’t like watching TV?

Do you have any tips for pitching TV producers? We’d love to hear them!

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