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I recently presented, “How to Pitch Broadcast Media” at Robert Wynne’s “BroadcastU” event in New York City.
The event is designed to let public relations professionals personally network with broadcast reporters, producers and bookers in one place, at one time, to finally answer the big question – what does the media actually want?
I’ve known Rob since my Fox News days when he had me on as a panelist.
He very kindly invited me back to speak to the group about media training and how to get their pitches read by the media.
The audience was predominantly made up of hospital and university PR people, which meant I got to see a ton of people who I had worked with as a senior health producer at Fox News Channel – how great!
It won’t surprise you to find out that most of what the broadcast producers were saying the same things I have said time and time again!
Here’s the top seven takeaways:
- The media wants new faces – Media is always looking for you, on social media, other media, their contacts. You must be there to be found! Make sure you’re producing your own content and videos so you’re showing up in their searches. Here are some best practices for video.
- Be excited to be there, but don’t act brand new – Finding a balance is key, according to Jennifer Zweben the Senior Talent Producer at CNBC/Closing Bell. It’s always nice to have an expert who is excited for their segment. No one wants someone to look like they resent being there! That being said, make sure to act like a pro whose done it all before. The more you practice being on camera the easier it will become.
- Have an opinion – As Amber Sizemore, Producer at Bloomberg TV said, “I want someone with an opinion – what makes them different from everyone else? I don’t see that enough!” Before you pitch or create content – ask yourself, What do I stand for? How is what I say different than everyone else? What are you always telling your clients? What gets you fired up about your industry?
- Start small – Network and national news outlets won’t book you if you have no experience. That’s just a fact. But also starting with local and small outlets gives you time to really hone your message first. Far too many experts act like snobs when it comes to media – you’ll never get booked with that attitude! Media begets media and here’s a great example of that.
- Don’t be long winded – Jesse Rodriguez the Director of Booking at MSNBC said it best, “Don’t drone on and on. You don’t need to say everything you think in the first sentence. The host will come back to you for another question. Otherwise the host will get frustrated and sometimes you’ll run out of time for the segment.” Avoiding this problem is all about practice and really knowing how to get to the core of your message. How do you say what you need to in a single headline?
- Don’t be a salesperson – David Grasso the Business Anchor at BoldTV reminded the group that producers aren’t bringing experts in so they can sell to their audience. You’re there because they think you have something worthwhile to say, something that could help the viewers/readers or listeners. Step one is always be of service. Remember no one cares about your book, your business or your brand! It’s not about you – it’s about the audience!
- Speak like a human – While you might be an expert in a given field it’s also important that your message is accessible to everyone. It’s tempting to fall into industry jargon, instead try to imagine your explaining it to a fifth grader. As David Rind the Associate Producer at ABC News Radio puts it: “We need people who speak like human beings! Who can break down a wonky segment succinctly and in a way that an average listener can understand who doesn’t have a background in that topic.”