Getting Your Story On TV

If your small business has a hot story that you know would be appealing to a producer or reporter at a television station — local or national — you can call them up and pitch them. And you’ll quickly realize that if you haven’t done your homework on that particular reporter at that station or network, that pitch call will be a one-person conversation faster than you can say dejection.

The best PR professionals take the time to study each different reporter and television station/network so that they can target their story pitches with great precision. We spend hours and hours studying, and often times I feel like a football player walking out of the team headquarters with all kinds of knowledge. I get a great understanding of what my reporter covers, the type of stories the station likes to run, if there are special segments on any of the newscasts or shows, and on what day.

Once you’ve developed your story pitch (use the PR Toolkit to help with this), figure out which show you want to be on, whether it’s the local NBC news affiliate or the CBS Early Show. You must start with a target. Next, begin recording that show on your DVR. This will enable you to go home each night and take 15 or 20 minutes to zip through the day’s telecast. Study who the reporters are. Get to know their television persona a little bit. You’ll quickly realize that one reporter covers health stories while another one covers investigative or consumer stories. This is how you will know who you need to pitch your story to, which is key to understanding marketing opportunities.

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