Lights, Camera, Action!
As a publicist nothing is more exciting than watching a TV segment go to air. Even to this day after 13 years in PR, nothing gives me more of a rush! At the InsideOut PR office, we eagerly huddle around the office TV – phones in hand, ready to record and re-gram. The culmination of weeks of coordinating (and a few sweaty palms!)…
But watching is the easy part – let’s take a few steps back, it all starts with the email pitch to (hopefully) get our idea over the line; and given the thousands of emails producers receive daily, it’s important to stand out from the rest.
While at InsideOut PR we consider ourselves pretty pitch savvy, I’ve gone straight to the source and asked industry expert, Supervising Producer at Studio 10, Tori Green her advice for PR’s when it comes to pitching –
- How long have you been working in TV?
I’ve been in TV for 12 years, 7 of which I’ve been with Channel 10.
- What is a typical day in your role?
I kick the day off around 5am in the office reading through news sites from around Australia and the globe for fresh fun chat points to discuss in the show that day.
From 5am until we are off air at midday we are completely slammed with that day’s show. Once we’re off air it is into our production meeting to talk about the following day’s content with the team. The back end of my day is spent producing features, chasing future content and getting through my inbox.
- You obviously deal with PR’s on a daily basis – what top tips can you share
First and foremost, know who you are pitching to! I can’t tell you the amount of emails I get saying “this would be great for Sunrise” or “we can offer The Project an exclusive” – that’s great, but that’s not me.
Hit me with a top line. What is the sell? We get a lot of pitches in a day, and a lot of them miss the mark on what the hook is and the lead is buried way down in the body of the email. If we have to read through paragraphs and paragraphs of text trying to figure out what exactly is being offered up more often than not, we’re reaching for the delete button.(I will always read them, but I’ve hovered over the delete for certain ha!)
Think about what you would watch on TV – would you tune in to a segment around a brand launching a new product? It makes for pretty yawn telly. How could it be made fun/interesting? Who is the talent associated with it? Do they have a story that resonates with viewers?
If it’s just a generic talent pitch, what are three top segments they could offer up and why would people want to watch? Dot points are awesome!
- Any things to avoid?
Try to avoid generic email blasts asking to consider content for our ‘publication’. The term doesn’t quite fit in the TV world and just points at a non-specific email. It’s like sending out of a generic cover letter.
Also, try to know the format a little bit of the show you are pitching to. I know it’s a lot to keep track of but knowing what time a show starts and ends helps arranging live segments and goes a long way just in terms of chatting with producers. Knowing the hosts names helps as well
Another big turn off is pitching talent as an expert of varying fields. We get pitched a lot of people just wanting to be on TV in any form – so they start to become experts in fashion, beauty, health, pet care, organisation and travel. The list goes on…it’s very transparent.
And know when you are pitching to a range of people across our team and one of us says no, it’s not likely another team member will give you a yes. We all confer and know what is being approved.
- What makes for a stand out TV segment?
Think outside the square. A beauty blogger with a new makeup line isn’t a TV segment. How can it be tune-in telly? Maybe it’s an audience member makeover? What is unique about the concept or their personal story that would hook a viewer in?
This might sound harsh, but more often than not just being an influencer or expert doesn’t offer a lot of excitement to secure a TV spot.
Recently we had a girl on who owned a beauty organisation business. Nothing too must-watch about that. The hook? She turned her 9-5 finance job into a multi-million-dollar make-up solution business – all by the age of 24. You want to know how she did it, and how you can do it too as a viewer. So while the spot was essentially a big plug for her brand, the story behind it was good enough to get over the line.
The segment shouldn’t be saturated with the sell. It’s got to be organic with integrated mentions.
Be willing to be flexible and creative – you’re pitching to a bunch of creative people.
By Vanessa Strangio – Senior Publicist at InsideOut PR