Top 6 Tips For Landing a TV Hit

We don’t want to give away our age, but when we started in PR, securing a TV hit was the ultimate holy grail of media placements. 

Back then (in the olden days, when we didn’t have knee pain), most people got their news from the TV, so it was all about maximum reach, viewership, and impact. A TV appearance could completely catapult a business or individual, seemingly overnight! 

Aside from the impressive ratings data, there was a certain intangible prestige and credibility attached to ‘making it’ onto the silver screen, which brands would clamor after. The marketing industry came up with the phrase ‘As Seen On TV’ for a reason! Infomercial and home shopping networks built an entire industry around the notion that people tend to trust things they’ve seen on TV. 

Nowadays, in the age of digital and social media, people’s news sources are far more diversified. Media consumption, in general, is fragmented, and other types of press have risen up the ranks. You may see an equal, or even greater, conversion result in your business from a high-profile influencer post, as you would a coveted spot on morning TV. 

Nonetheless, in an ever-changing media landscape, TV STILL remains one of the biggest and most sought-after media wins for us and for our clients, who often cite long-running news programs, talk shows, and variety shows as their ‘dream’ media targets. TV circulation might be less concentrated than ‘back in our day’ *cracks knee* but it still packs a serious punch, and it continues to lend that air of prestige and credibility to brands all over the world.

There are some handy tricks to TV pitching that we’ve picked up over the years, and because we LOVE giving you free game – today on the blog, we’re sharing with you our Top 6 Tips For Landing A TV hit.  

1. Remember the news values – and take them up a notch

News values are even more important for TV. TV producers are often cramming the top stories of the day into a one-hour show. Is your story strong enough to make the cut? Is your pitch timely, relevant, and urgent? Does the story have a deep or widespread impact on its viewers? Is there a celebrity element you can tie in? Is there something odd, unusual or quirky about your story? You can take a refresher course on the seven news values in our previous blog, here.

2. Create a short, sharp email pitch with bullet points

TV producers are inundated with pitches. Yours has to cut through, be undeniable, and all the most important info should be at the top. Don’t tell your story chronologically – unless it starts with a bang! Make your subject email something attention-grabbing that sums up your story. TV (particularly morning TV loves keywords like ‘celebrity,’ ‘community,’ ‘changing lives,’ ‘economy,’ ‘education,’ ‘family,’ ‘good news story,’ ‘and feel good.’

3. Start Local

We highly suggest approaching your local TV stations and news programs before you head for GMA. The big national broadcasters look for evidence that prospective on-air talent has some experience in front of the camera, so if this is your first rodeo, look no further than your own backyard. It will help you build out your ‘reel,’ which you can use to garner future opportunities. Besides, many local stations are owned by parent companies who may syndicate your story across the network to other regions if it has legs. 

4. Have great on-air talent (or invest in some media training)

If it’s not you, have someone on the team comfortable in front of the camera so you can get your key messages across while appearing authentic and believable. There is an art to being great on-air talent; if it’s something you feel is missing from your team, we can help you with that! Ask us about remote media training here. We’ll get you ready to represent your business in the best light possible and hopefully get you asked back for future segments. 

5. Have great on-air talent (or invest in some media training)

This is TV! Think visually. Yes, the launch of your new bakery is awesome, but that alone probably won’t get you on TV. If you are taking cupcakes to a nearby nursing home to celebrate the launch, which happens to fall on National Senior Citizen Day, now you’re getting warmer! Maybe you’re hosting America’s first cupcake-eating challenge on-site between 2 well-known local identities who are going for a Guinness Book Record – now that’s a strong pitch. 

Or you’re having an incredible artist live paint a beautiful pastry mural on the side of your building while you give out free croissants to the community. If you do this on Bastille Day and the artist is French – you’ve got yourself a slam dunk. If your company is doing something that creates a visual impact (especially one that tugs on the heartstrings and makes you go ‘aw’), you’re much more likely to get scooped up for a TV piece. 

6. Know that many TV producers will want exclusives

Don’t offer everyone an exclusive knowing you have other irons in the fire. Once someone says yes and you’ve locked it in, you will likely have to develop another angle/event / activation to re-approach the others.