Posts Tagged ‘broadcast public relations’

Four Things You Must Know Before You Pitch a TV Talk Show or News Program

May 24, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes that P.R. pros make when it comes to pitching TV talk show, lifestyle and news format program is that they don’t think like a television producer or reporter. In fact, this single issue is the key to success when it comes to increasing your results that land your client on the air.

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, that outlines the four things you must know before you pitch:

Your interview booking success rate will take a curve upward when you study and understand the differences among the talk shows and news programs you pitch to with your media alert. In addition to everything else that we discussed so far, this is one of the biggest secrets to getting booked on TV and if you skip this step, your efforts will tank. Here are four things you absolutely must know before you pitch to a television producer.

#1. Know the Show You’re Pitching. When I was a producer on daytime talk shows, I think one of the most annoying aspects of my job was when I would receive pitches from publicists (and other professionals who should know better) that had no clue what the show was about. I’d often find that I was getting pitched a Jerry Springer Show sort of segment when I was working on a light celebrity interview and how-to-segment driven show, Live with Regis & Kathie Lee. Some shows showcase doom and gloom, but others opt for fun and fluff so don’t get egg on your face and ruin a valuable relationship with a producer by wasting their time with a pitch that is not suited for their show.

I remember many times during my days as a producer that a publicist managed to get me on the phone and then proceeded with a pitch that was not appropriate for our show format. I’d ask them if they watched the show I produced. They would usually respond with, “No, I work during the day so I cannot watch your show.” I’m sorry, but that’s no excuse since this was when it was already quite easy to record programs. A day job should never have prevented a professional publicist from studying the show they pitched in hopes of getting their client booked as a guest.

There are many reasons to understand the different types of talk shows when you want to pitch your idea to producers. The number one reason is that you don’t want to waste their time if the story angle you’re pitching is not appropriate for their show.

You can go to my website at MediaTrainingGuide.com and get a free bonus containing a downloadable list of current national network and syndicated talk shows, with short descriptions of the shows and links to their websites, to make this easy for you. When you are forging your media plan, you should make a point of watching at least one to two episodes of the shows you feel would be a good fit for you and your message.

#2. Know the Format of the Show You’re Pitching. Talk shows and lifestyle programs come in all shapes and sizes. There are LIVE daily shows, taped shows, tape delayed shows, shows that tape daily, shows that tape two shows a day for three days straight, hour-long shows, half-hour-long shows, celebrity driven shows, issue driven shows, segment driven shows, trailer trash shows, and the list goes on and on.

In addition, you should know the length of the show. Is it thirty minutes, sixty minutes, ninety minutes, or two hours? There are some morning news programs that are four hours long. You should also take a look at the type of stories the show is producing based on the hour of the day. For example, the national morning shows tend to focus more on hard news stories in their first hour and then lighten it up in the second hour. If they have a third hour, they’ll typically make that hour more lifestyle oriented, but those are not steadfast rules so you need to really study each show carefully.

#3. Know the Audience of the Show You’re Pitching. The variety of talk shows in the marketplace is reason enough why you should clearly know the show your pitching – its scope, its nuances, not to mention the ever-changing formats. The shows also have different viewer demographics, and producers are under constant pressure to appeal to their particular audience of viewers, whether they be career professionals watching before commuting to work, stay at home moms, etc. Also, keep in mind that viewers in today’s world include people tuning in on multiple devices such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads, laptops, and desktops. Then segments from the show are often shared via social media.

#4. Know Who To Pitch. After you have all your ducks in a row it finally comes down to knowing who to pitch at a show. In general, your best bet is going to be to get the name of a producer. This is where it gets tricky because it’s getting more and more difficult to find out who’s who, but I have an easy secret. Every Friday, most shows run long credits that include their entire staff. Set your DVR to record the Friday programs and then review it to write down the names of producers. Now, you may have to do a little Googling to figure out email addresses, but you can always send your pitch via snail mail as a start to the mailing address of the show.

Finally, do not mass mail every producer on the show. Start with one and if you don’t get a response or can’t get them on the phone to pitch them, then move on to the next name. Keep pitching until you get an answer. Never give up because sometimes even with a good pitch, it’s just a matter of timing. I used to hold on to good pitches and when the “stars aligned,” we’d book the segment.

I hope you’ve learned a lot from this excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, available on Amazon. In the book, I share behind-the-scenes insider secrets on how to get booked on television shows that even P.R. pros don’t know. Also, if you provide media training services to your clients, this is a great guide to tips on how to ace on-camera interviews.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2017 by Marianne Schwab. Excerpt reprinted with Permission.

All Rights Reserved.

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End of an Era: West Glen Communications Closes Its Doors Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy July 10th

July 17, 2013

WestGlen Communications began in 1970 as a distributor of sponsored 16mm films and as a producer/distributor of news films, the forerunner of video news releases. Their early clients were sponsors of television documentaries who wanted further exposure in the nation’s classrooms.  From those beginnings, they grew to be a leader in broadcast public relations and weathered many of the storms of our industry over the past decade and was on the cutting edge of providing services in the emerging technologies.

WestGlen filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on July 16th and their entire staff of employees were let go.  I had heard the rumors flying for weeks from several colleagues that WestGlen was in trouble, but thought they were just that – rumors.  For anyone who worked with them on the production side, we were well aware of behind-the-scenes cash flow issues from time to time, but they always seemed to pull it together and land on their feet.

You may not know that I was WestGlen’s dedicated West Coast Producer since the late 90’s for over a decade producing for them where ever in the country I was needed.  Even after I launched CMP Media Cafe, we still worked together and always had a “gentleman’s agreement” regarding clients.  You may not have known that I produced VNRs, SMTs, PSAs, and more for them since I was their “ghost” on the coast so to speak and worked seamlessly as a part of their organization (not revealing I was a stringer for them and other organizations as well), but I feel I no longer have to wear the “cloak of invisibility” with this recent public announcement.  They knew their clients were in good hands when they assigned projects to me under their company banner and it was my job to uphold their stellar reputation.

BobGreene-MarianneSchwab-June2009I really enjoyed working with their team of professionals on the East Coast and my many interesting assignments over the years that took me into the offices of Governors and the dressing rooms of movie stars to less glamorous locations like the grape vineyards of Coachella east of Palm Springs. But all good things must come to an end, I guess.  The assignments started to decrease around 2006 when they hired some excellent full time producers which had become more economically feasible than hiring “freelancers” and my last project I produced for them was in June of 2009 – a remote satellite media tour with Bob Greene at a supermarket in Thousand Oaks.

I’m sad that this institution in broadcast public relations has shut down after it had managed to hang in there for over four decades.  I have always held WestGlen in high regard, enjoyed our professional relationship and it was an honor to provide them with production services they could rely on.

As they leave a hole in this industry, they will be missed.  I hope you’ll consider letting CMP Media Cafe assist you and your clients to achieve your broadcast campaign objectives in their absence.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2013. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

Five Tips to Maximize Satellite Media Tour Success

July 25, 2012

No amount of advertising can give your product, service or brand the credibility that editorial placements on TV news and lifestyle programs can and that’s why satellite media tours (SMTs) are an effective tool for your public relations campaign.

SMTs may focus on one spokesperson for a new product or significant event, like a new book release or movie premiere.  Although these media tips are important if your promoting a movie or book, they’re essential for any other topic since the results of your media tour depend on getting these five things right.  So, if you’re considering an SMT for current or future public relations efforts, here are five tips that will not only help you maximize your success, but hit the ball out of the park.

Choose a Headline Grabber for an Angle.  Most every P.R. pro knows this, but the slugline is your one shot at grabbing news room decision makers attention so you need to make it a great one.  Think about the emails you actually open. Next to who the email is from, the subject line is what grabs your attention to open it and news producers and assignment desks are no different.  Also, don’t under estimate the power of the negative slug line either as they’ll get your story on the air.   When you choose CMP Media Cafe to produce your SMT, we will work closely with you to craft the most effective angle for your story.  For more tips on sluglines, take a look at the Number One Mistake Pros Make on Press Releases.  Finally, news producers want news-you-can-use with easy-to-understand consumer messages that are relevant to your viewers so make sure your story angle has a broad appeal or way to include a broad audience. 

Your Spokesperson Should Be Relevant to Your Topic or Angle.  In addition to your angle, the spokesperson you choose for your SMT is critical to maximize your results.  Does the spokesperson have some level of media recognition or expert credentials or do they offer a truly unique perspective on the story?  If you want to secure the Top 50 TV Markets, then an A-list celebrity will be your best shot at this but only if it makes sense for your product and product message since the wrong celebrity spokesperson (or C-Lister) will derail your best efforts if they’re not the right fit.  An A-list celeb is not the only answer to a successful SMT, however, since a meaningful consumer angle can be very effective with the appropriate expert (or “celebrity expert” – like a well known doctor, attorney, dietician, author, blogger, etc.) on the topic.  The key is relevancy combined with the angle.

Choose the SMT Airdate with Care.  Timing is everything and you want to choose the best airdate to maximize exposure.  This means that you need to be aware of a possible deluge of competing stories (i.e. election year political results, back-to-school, holidays, etc.) and avoid scheduling your airdate during these times if it’s not critical.  Also, if your catalyst for the story hinges on an “awareness” day or month (i.e. Breast Cancer Awareness, Heart Health, et al), be aware that other companies will be out there with a similar idea so either do everything you can to be the first out there with your story or develop a unique angle to set you apart from the clutter.

Synergize Your SMT with Marketing and Advertising Campaigns.   One of the most effective things you can do is synergize your public relations efforts with the marketing and advertising campaigns of the client you represent.  I’m am constantly amazed at how few companies understand this value and anticipate an SMT to have the same effect as a DRTV spot.  According to marketing research, most people need a minimum of seven exposures to a product before they make a buying a decision.  It’s one thing when they see a product in a commercial, but then when they see that same product featured in an editorial segment of a TV program, their brain connects the dots in a unique way.

To Super Size the synergy of a satellite media tour, you should also choose a date that will coincide with publicity print campaigns as well.  Think about it, you see commercials for the product, it’s popping up in television shows, and you open your newspaper or online magazine and see the same product featured there.  It takes a lot of planning, but you can see the value in this type of syngerstic approach.  Movie and TV Show publicity are a great example of how this is done well. It’s no coincidence that Angelina Jolie is appearing on the Today Show and the Tonight Show while also being on the covers of People Magazine and more while you’re also seeing commercials for her latest movie in heavy rotation during prime time viewing hours.

Start Pitching Stations Six-to-Eight Weeks Before Airdate.  Although CMP Media Cafe’s strong and up-to-date media contacts carry a lot of klout when it comes to booking a satellite media tour, a minimum six-to-eight-week lead time from the time the Media Alert is approved is recommended to maximize success of pitching your SMT to news media.  Due to the current media environment, if less than eight weeks are allotted, there is a greater risk that the programs we’re targeting will already be booked for the timeframe available.   Keep in mind that most programs only have openings for one to two satellite media interviews each day so we want to be first to pitch them your story before their schedules book up.

Use these top five tips to maximize your satellite media tour success.  Also, feel free to contact us for a consultation on your project.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2012. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.