For many Australian organisations, business and events, being featured on a national TV show is the pinnacle of publicity. The opportunity to reach a national audience of potentially millions of viewers is a tantalising prospect, but valuable brand space on these shows is in high demand, and unless you want to fork out tens of thousands on advertising space, a strategic approach is required.
I’m going to share with you 5 tips that I have effectively used to secure airtime on some of the highest rating national and state TV programs in Australia.
1. Know your target
One of the most critical factors when pitching a story opportunity to a major Australian TV program is to know that program inside and out. These shows want something that their audience will be interested in and engage with. A story about a local automotive parts manufacturer increasing manufacturing within Australia despite recent trends may be of interest to Channel 7 News, but it will be of little interest to the same network’s breakfast program Sunrise.
2. Be timely and relevant
The trick to get on the news is to be newsworthy. While this may sound like common sense, the difficult part is recognising what is newsworthy and what is not. The mainstream TV news media are often interested in the news that they reported on in the last few days, or the news that their competitors are reporting on. If you can positively align your brand or product with a situation or topic that is currently making headlines in the media, your chances of coverage dramatically increase!
You should have a constant newsworthy barometer switched on to be aware of when potential story opportunities arise. A small product launch or a new company website would probably have little chance of making the nightly news, but a major announcement or event that has a wide impact on Australians or residents of a major city or state probably stands more of a chance of getting TV news coverage. Make the most of your opportunities!
3. Pitch strategically
Know who to pitch to. Just as important as having something newsworthy to talk about, if you don’t know the right people and channels to pitch your stories opportunities to, you won’t get very far.
In any major prime time TV program in Australia, there are key decision makers who you need to reach. These key contacts often carry the titles of Executive Producer, Chief of Staff or News Director.
Once you have sourced these contacts, they must be approached in the right way. These people are often subjected to hundreds of pitches every week. This means cutting through the noise can be difficult. The important thing to remember is that they need you. TV programs, specifically news broadcasts and talk shows, need to fill their allocated time slots with content. If you can present them with something newsworthy, relevant and interesting, they’ll not only run the story, they’ll thank you for it.
The art of a good pitch is a difficult one, but the key points are be succinct, get straight to the point and clearly outline why they should air your story and why it will be of interest to their viewers.
The last part of the pitch is to follow up. Once the story pitch has been sent or communicated to your key contact, give them a call or send them an email. Often because of the sheer volume of pitches they receive, your story opportunity may have slipped through the gaps. Sending them a friendly reminder can often reignite interest in a story.
4. Give the media what they want and everything they need
Media are inherently lazy. While I may have just offended some of my closest contacts, I’m sure they would not disagree. If you can provide them with exactly what they need, they will love you for it.
Structure your campaign and story opportunity around the TV program you are pitching to. Make sure that they see your story as being custom tailored for their program.
5. Investment into doing something great pays off
Do something great. Invest some money into doing a publicity event in a public place, and use that as the leveraging point to get TV shows interested. When you’re trying to get coverage on national TV, investment in publicity pays off.
See below for some case studies where I have successfully used the five points listed above to secure TV coverage for our clients: