Today we listened to former CBS News Executive Producer Batt Humphrey’s Webinar on Media relations. His focus was on how to create pitches that earn broadcast coverage. Humphrey’s is a former CBS News executive with 20 years of experience in network television. Humphrey’s tips were so spot on that we felt compelled to share them with you! He discussed his experience as the Executive Producer of a network morning show, how media focus can shift at the drop of a hat, and how to craft your story to get traction in your target media outlet. If you want to learn how to make the media want to cover your story, think like a producer and read some of our top takeaway tips below.
What is a Producers job?
To find the best story. The best stories make the best media segments. Once you understand how producers think, you will be better equipped to craft the right pitch to tell your story.
Life’s a Pitch
Crafting the best pitch
- Before sending a pitch, think of yourself standing in front of all of the producers during their morning meeting. Can you honestly see someone going to bat for your story idea and pushing it forward in the morning editorial meeting? If not, then don’t send it.
- You are essentially selling content. If your content is not good, the network risks losing viewers. They are only going to push forward interesting content that will increase viewership.
- Stop pitching broadcast the way you pitch traditional editorial outlets. A producer isn’t interested in the standard release or pitch. They want to know what the story is, who the talent is, and what your unique take is. If you don’t have any takeaways for the audience, the story will get canned.
Evolving your story
You need clarity, conciseness and connection.
- Clarity – Good stories are simple at their core.
- Concise –Think short sentences.
- Connection – Think of your audience and your unique element.
PR Pitching Tips for Broadcast
- Follow the news cycle- look for connections to trending stories
- Know the evergreen topics for slow days
- Use your own research- data rules
- If it’s a breaking news day, find any tie in that is truly authentic
What content has the best chance of being placed?
- 39% said exclusive research. Original research is always preferred by reporters.
- 27% said Breaking news.
- 15% said emotional stories. There is no downside to sharing a heart-warming story if you can work it into a pitch.
Your story must bring value to the audience. Be able to answer the following questions before pitching a producer:
- What does the audience gain from the story?
- How will it improve their business or life?
- Does the story wow with technology or industry knowledge?
- Is there a personal lesson to learn?
Even if you have crafted the perfect pitch, be aware of news cycles and keep away if there are tragic events. This goes without saying, but do not send releases if there is a tragic news story and don’t try to capitalize on a tragedy. If you genuinely want to establish a relationship with a producer, think like the producer and wait for a story you think you can land with a high-value target. If you jump the gun, you run the chance of being blacklisted.