Why there is a different rule book for pitching to broadcast

As experts we are constantly striving for new and better ways of engaging people; that and delivering greater reach, greater influence and greater returns on investment of course.

It’s perplexing then that so many businesses still fail at telling their story to broadcast media and more specifically speak the wrong language.

TV and radio journalists are all too frequently fed press releases, pitches and opportunities that have not been tailored specifically to their medium. 

They are being offered statements rather than spokespeople, and interviews in uninspiring locations, if a location has even been considered. 

The print approach to broadcast is bankrupt.

A good place to start is at the end. Broadcast reporters get to the point at the start of the sentence rather than the end.

Mirror that in your pitch and it will make it easier for the producers to visualise your story being used in their segment.

Also, keep It short and simple for broadcasters. They know within two sentences whether the story is relevant and audio-visual. 

Have a more embellished follow-up pitch ready to go with more details.

It’s also important to remember that radio and TV are much more alert to tone and pace than press is.
 
If you are pitching something for radio, it’s crucial that you can assure the producer your guest is ‘a good talker’, as broadcast journos are very alert to mumbling, jargon and filler phrases. 

This can kill a story faster than broadcast news moves.

If you are pitching to TV, make sure you can explain not only why the story is interesting, but why it’s visually appealing. 

Anyone who regularly watches TV news will know that sometimes a great picture will put a poorer story into the mix, and a lack of decent visuals will push a stronger story out. 

There’s no harm in a bit of helpful reassurance – send them a link to your guest on camera.

Logistics, locations and timings count for a lot in the world of broadcast and often it’s the lack of this bit that puts a stake through a decent story. 

Broadcast moves pretty fast – often to the second, so if you don’t get your ducks in a row you’re likely to miss out. 

If you are planning ahead, this is a little easier, but if you are pitching to ride on some breaking news, you may have only a couple of hours to sort an interview.

All too often broadcast is an afterthought when print coverage hasn't landed, rather than something deliberate and part of an outreach strategy. 

For the good of campaign coverage everywhere, that needs to change.

Broadcast continues to be hugely influential with most of the population listening to TV and radio news every single week. 

It’s also the medium to which people feel most emotionally close. 

Being able to land your story on these channels deserves to be at least a dual priority and one with a bespoke plan of approach.

Helen Moore is managing director of markettiers

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