There is a trick to working with all media, however working with broadcast media and local news is definitely a little different than the rest. We’ll separate this in two different areas; general broadcast and local news.
General broadcast includes prominent national morning news shows and other general broadcast. Shows on this list would include Good Day LA, Good Morning America, Ellen, The Tonight Show, The Doctors, The View and others.
The easiest way to get on these shows are ‘pay to play’ segments that can run you from $250- $800K (sometimes more). However, if you have something that is especially newsworthy, you may be able to pitch the producers as a special segment. Doing your research on the kinds of stories they LOVE is integral here. If you have a product associated with your pitch, be prepared to be asked to furnish between 100-300 pieces of your product to support the “live audience” giveaways.
Another way to potential get into general broadcast segments is to target lifestyle influencers that are brought on as special guests on many broadcast shows. You pitch the influencer your product for special segments (maybe Back to School, holiday gifts, Father’s Day). You can find these influencers by checking the shows website for “contributors”.
If you’re interested in getting on the local news, make sure you have a local news angle. Easy right? Your news should affect the local demographic and needs to be an interesting story. Imagine yourself watching the news. What is the positioning of your story that would get a complete stranger interested? If you’re targeting the top DMA’s (designated market areas) like Los Angeles, New York, SF Bay Area then you have a lot more competition ahead of you, but may be able to have a less localized story, depending on the show.
Watch your local news to determine the segments that may be a good fit. You’ll also be able to see who the anchors are on those shows and who may be relaying your news.
Find the producer of your segment. The great thing about local broadcast is that it is pretty easy to uncover who your local news producers are. You can check the news website and even Google it. Different than other mediums, most broadcast contacts are actively sharing on Twitter. You may even want to try reaching out to TV personalities though open DM’s (Direct Messages) on Twitter. Otherwise email or Linkedin may be other good ways to reach out to producers (email is always best).
You may want to submit your news to the news desk. The phone number for the news desk is publicly displayed. Don’t be afraid to make a call and ask more. They will most likely ask you to “send it again”, but may have a more keen radar on your news the second time. Make sure to follow up.
What do you want them to say? Make sure you’ve pulled together exactly what you want them to broadcast. To get a good strategy on this, watching the news segment is helpful. It is rare that they put people on local news, so make sure you prepare press materials that will allow anchors to deliver your news in an informative way. You should also be able to ask a producer to make sure they list your website on the screen as they are publicizing your content.
As they say in showbiz…break a leg!