Winning Tips for Pitching Morning TV Shows
Morning TV show producers receive hundreds of email pitches and countless phone calls from PR people every day. Many producers work overnight, then produce their show, then prepare for the next day's show. By the time a producer looks at your email pitch or answers your phone call, there is very little time to consider your story. In addition, your story is often competing with breaking news and both local and network segments. So how can you build relationships with producers, win their interest, get your story booked and secure valuable earned media exposure for your brand/client?
Research, Research, Research
Knowledge is invaluable when it comes to pitching any TV show. Check out station websites and watch their program to get a sense of the personality of a show and find out what kind of segments they're doing. Invest in a good media database for detailed intelligence on what individual producers are looking for. Corner a market and look up stations by DMA with a database or the great free site Newsblues.com. And never underestimate personal research–ask producers and assignment editors for any specialized demographic information that's not already available. We have found unique nuggets of info this way: that their viewers are largely working moms or stay-at-home moms, include many retirees, skew younger, or are predominantly male to name a few.
Building relationships with producers begins with getting to know how they like to work. Determine if they prefer email or phone calls. Most of the producers we work with prefer email. A few prefer phone calls. Others request an email pitch followed up with a phone call.
Check in with a producer occasionally when you are not pitching. Briefly ask about what kinds of segments they are doing and if there are any highlights coming up such as theme shows, remotes, etc.
Timing is Everything
Become an expert on the timing of the show you are pitching. If the producer accepts pitch calls, there is a very short window in which you can call–usually shortly after the show ends. Stay informed of breaking news in the market and avoid pitching during local news events such as natural disasters and major elections.
What's Your Story?
Pitch the segment idea first, and the brand second, in a way that is relevant for their viewers and contributes value to the show. A top 50 morning show producer advises, “We're cracking down on product-related interviews. There must always be some news or tips for the viewer. If you lead with the brand, I'm going to ask how commercial the story will be.”
- Use short, punchy email subject lines, and include the city or market you're pitching if there's a local hook.
- If pitching by phone, try to sum up your segment content, expert credentials, and visuals in a few sentences.
- Describe the visuals of your segment–what's on set and any video that will be available. Visuals are more important than ever for morning shows, but if your segment is light on visuals, you can play up unique and/or localized content, and your expert's credentials and/or media appearances.
To meet the challenges of pitching morning TV shows, winning a coveted spot comes down to building relationships, gaining the trust of producers, knowing your audience--and always, telling a good story.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: Maggie McMahon
Maggie McMahon, Media Relations Specialist. Maggie has booked hundreds of high-profile satellite media tours in her seven years with MultiVu. Prior to this, Maggie was a freelance copywriter and independent publicist. Maggie's clients included MediaLink, HarperCollins, Penguin Books, HCI Books, as well as bestselling authors, celebrities, and experts. She has worked as publicity manager for ReganBooks/HarperCollins Publishers, handling author tours and corporate communications. She also held positions as copy chief for Bantam Books and copywriter for Berkley Publishing. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia.
MultiVu, a Cision/PR Newswire division, produces and places compelling content strategically across multiple channels globally to deliver targeted results and drive desired engagement. Created in 2002 from network news veterans and media relations professionals, MultiVu has grown into a content creation and media strategy company, leading in the broadcast communications industry. More information can be found on www.multivu.com.