By Roshanda E. Pratt
Everyone loves extras.
Extra fries, extra time to complete a project, and extra money in your bank account. Just as you and I enjoy a few “extras” so does the local television media you’re pitching.
Before we outline the sort of things you can offer as “extras” to land your interview, we must understand first: what is a pitch?
A pitch is simply direct communication with a writer, reporter, producer or any media personality by either email or telephone in an effort to persuade them to cover your news.
Notice in our definition the words persuade and your news. Some of the best persuaders I know are salesmen.
Now, wait. Don’t turn the channel yet. Please hear me out. Salesmen are very good at persuading you to buy “their” product. Salesmen know the right words to use and they certainly know how to sell you on the benefits. Just think of your recent “big” purchase.
Recently my husband surprised me with a new HP laptop (I love that guy!). Once I started playing around, I discovered a lot of hidden “extras” which have me completely sold on HP products even though I’m pretty much an Apple products gal.
Extras are what make you stand out from the others also vying for a “sale.” Your local media is your “client” and you are the salesman. You will be able to make the sale when you can give them valuable “extras” which can make your pitch even more tantalizing.
Types of “Extras” That Make Them Say “Yes”
Here’s a short list of “extras” to include in your pitch:
- B-roll (video from your YouTube channel or posted on your website of your product or event)
- Tips or advice (Local media loves lists. Offer three tips.)
- Press Kit
- Sample articles you have written to give them a better idea of expertise
- Visuals such as samples or a live model
- Products to give away on air such as tickets
- Provide a flexible schedule, be open to appear early
- Social media or links
- Prepared questions which can be included in your press kit
I double dog dare you to start creating a list of your “offerings” and include only one or two the next time you pitch. Don’t overwhelm them with a laundry list of things.
What a Local Theater Offered
A producer’s work life can be hectic. Back in my producer heydays, I liked pitches that took the guesswork and labor out of my already busy job. For example, while producing a weekend morning show for WCNC-YV in Charlotte, the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center pitched me about coming on our show to promote their newest production. The theater offered two live performances and a ticket giveaway during my three-hour morning show.
Local television producers are looking to fill time, one of the many demands of the job. Digital journalism—such as posting stories to social media and the station website, and editing video in conjunction with writing— have added additional tasks to an already time-consuming job.
As you create your pitch, you can make their life easier by thinking like a producer. Back to my example: The show was awesome. We had live interviews, characters in costume and were able to give away tickets to our viewers.
I didn’t have to create the “moment” in the show. It was already created for me.
Help Them Create Magic
Great producers live to create magical moments in their shows. But as a colleague told me recently, it’s hard to do these days when producers have to wear many hats. This is the perfect opportunity for you to seize the moment.
Meet the needs of the local media. It’s a dual relationship. They want your expertise, advice, wisdom and products. You want their audience. By making your pitch more enticing and value packed, you have a greater chance for the local media to reach out to you.
A TV interview is short. Be clear and concise about the extras you’re offering to make the interview ZING. Go Forth and ZING!