Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tips from the Experts: Pitching Morning News

This Monday, the Philadelphia Public Relations Association hosted its annual meeting in Old City, Philadelphia. Along with introducing its newest board members, the programming on the agenda included an awesome presentation by CBS3 and CW morning anchor Erika von Tiehl. Erika gave an incredibly eye-opening presentation with tips on pitching your client to morning news programs.

As PR professionals, whenever we can gain access to the preferences and desires of the media, we instantly have a one-up over our competitors. Getting coverage for your client can be a matter of pitching the right way at the right time. Here are some tips for Erika to help land your client a spot on morning news.

1. Know your morning show audience and set up.
In the mornings, more people are listening to the news rather than sitting down to watch it, Erika explained. It's important that the story you're pitching be something that can catch the viewers ear, as well as their eyes. Also, because morning shows tend to run longer than evening news, prepare for more time to be allotted. If you're offered four minutes on air, make sure ever minute is interesting and engaging.

2. Be visual with your pitch.
Instead of sending a few paragraphs to a reporter when pitching, send just the information they need summed up in a few sentences, a long with a photo or video. Don't worry about describing every minute detail. If a reporter needs more information, they'll request it.

3. Be flexible and responsive.
Realized that journalist, similarly to PR pros, are working on very tight deadlines. If a reporter emails you for information, or needs to client on air, act fast and deliver. Also, encourage your client to do the same! Be very frank and explain that the offer and opportunity has an expiration date.

4. Think of the viewer benefit.
Reporters want to share news that will truly benefit their audience. Don't pitch a commercial for your client, instead, create a story that will benefit or make the lives of the viewing audience easier. Offer your clients expertise, and relate it to current news that's impacting the lives of the audience.

5. Use social media.
Imagine how many emails flood the inboxes of the journalists you're pitching. Instead of going the traditional route, try using social media to pitch. Erika recommended tweeting a short blurb and including a photo or video. The more visual you can be, the better. Also, when your client lands a spot, be sure to promote it using the morning show's social media handles and hashtags. Always ask if there are any social links you and your client can share!

What strategies do you use to help get your pitch across?

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