Several months ago one of our veteran TV journalists, Martha Sharan, summarized how to successfully pitch satellite media tours to TV stations. As a follow-up, we engaged nearly two dozen television stations in the top-50 media markets to find out their specific content needs and priorities for pitched video content, including satellite interviews and video bites and b-roll. The conversations were insight rich, and we greatly appreciate the time these very busy producers and news directors took to share their thoughts.
The biggest headline to emerge from our study is that 77% of those we spoke to do satellite media tours and use bites and b-roll from third parties. We found that regardless of market size, all stations are seeking to air the most relevant, topical and newsworthy content. Simply stated, if what you are pitching fits those criteria, stations will likely be receptive to reviewing it. In fact, if a story meets guidelines, it will make their very busy, demanding jobs easier and that, of course, is a good thing to enhance the relationship.
As in all pitching, it is important to note that the onus is on the content provider to assemble a pitch so targeted and compelling that television stations will immediately see the benefit to their viewing audience. That means, for the best chance at station pick-up, pitches must lead with a newsworthy topic, a recognizable and interesting personality, and/or a unique ‘can’t-get-elsewhere’ human interest story element. Several also mentioned that an additional local angle could also prove valuable, but only if the newsworthiness criteria are met first. Finally, other stations suggested being open to stories from non-profits, but again, the story must be engaging to their viewers and something not easily obtained on their own.
And finally, when satellite interviews, bites and b-roll are used, where might they appear on-air? Quite a few of stations said that when they use satellite interviews, they are generally conducted and aired in their morning shows and bites and b-roll are used to enhance those interviews.
So, what can we take away from these producers and news directors? First, content is always king. Second, your pitch has got to not only be very relevant and newsworthy to their viewers, but it also needs to be a unique story or new angle, and something they are unlikely to get elsewhere. Third, resist the urge to push your brand too hard. Get the story to knock their socks off, and your brand will get the credit.