How to Pitch to Journalists
We all want attention and coverage from ‘real life media’ because they not only have the most attention themselves (and thus can give you visitors), but also provide the best links. But how to get their attention?
At Brighton SEO last week the technology producer for Channel 4 News Geoff White and discussed this exact topic: what journalists are looking for in a story and how you, or your clients, can work to make journo’s lives easier and get the coverage you’re looking for. Lexi Mills of Dynamo PR then went into the topic of creating successful content and getting the best outreach.
Geoff White – Technology producer for Channel 4 News
In terms of being a TV News Producer means many things to many people. Geoff opened with a joke (tick) then explained that it was easier to explain what a TV producer doesn’t do
- Doesn’t appear on screen
- Doesn’t read out the scripts
Anything else is something that a TV News Producer can do so for example:
- Finding the story
- Substantiating the story
- Finding locations
- Finding Interviewees
- Getting permission to use graphics
- Increasingly editing pieces themselves
- Potentially also shooting the footage
Channel 4 News has specialist producers that work with specialist correspondents with the idea that the two work together as a sniper team.
There is a very high bar to getting a story on air:
- Competition – there are a lot of stories
- Breaking news is prioritised – may push out stories
- Technology news is hard as there are no real time relevant pictures
The idea of TV news is that you can follow the story with the sound off. Technology often has one man on a computer and another man on a computer – you cannot tell what they are doing like you could with a warzone story for example.
There needs to be a story that is impactful that has an effect on real people that hopefully thereafter triggers something.
If you are trying to go down the traditional media route you need to question
- What story should you target – pick stories that will work – not everything is attractive or ‘do-able’
- Think in pictures – the first thing you’ll be asked is what are you going to point a camera at – which is why we always want case studies
- Where does your story hit the real world – case studies will also cement your example in the real world
- The best TV news stories are about people
- Does your story tie into a bigger issue? (follow up and case studies avoids undue prominence)
There are rules regarding undue prominence and all news is regulated by Offcom. The example given was a local regional news piece about the Narrow Boats and a guy who rescued people on boats (the AA of the waterways). There was more than one company providing this service and the other company complained to Offcom suggesting that there was not an equal representation. Offcom agreed there had been a breach of the broadcasting code and the news channel was fined tens of thousands of pounds.
7 Secret Weapons of Successful Content & Outreach – Lexi Mills – Dynamo PR
- The conference session covered
- Finding Content Ideas
- Scaling Content Ideas
- Preparing for Outreach
- Outreach Tecniques
- Giving the right Presents
- Building Relationships