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How to Pitch Broadcast News with Robyn Stevens

How To Pitch Broadcast News With Robyn Stevens

On this month’s profile, we are talking with none other than Robyn Stevens. After fifteen years as a television reporter and meteorologist, her experience in the media industry enabled her to obtain major media placements for her clients. She has created and developed original TV shows for her clients that are currently syndicated in various TV markets.

Her publicity credits include securing media opportunities for her talented clients on CNBC, Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, MSNBC, The Doctors, Dr. Oz, Cheddar, Bloomberg and various digital and print outlets such as Forbes and Vogue. She has also had the honor to works on some outstanding marketing partnerships with brands such as Chase, Hilton, Olay, Intuit and more.

Within this interview, we discuss all aspects of broadcast media. From what to include in your pitch to the KPIs PR professionals should track for broadcast placements, Robyn is sharing her years of experience and learnings in the industry.

Read below for the entire interview with Robyn:

1.) You spent fifteen years working as a television reporter and meteorologist in Philadelphia. How did you initially get your start in journalism?

I always asked lots of questions as a child and I’m still very curious. I knew when I was in high school that I wanted to be a TV reporter. Staring out as a reporter in Philadelphia was truly a dream! Such a great city.

 

2.) What made you make the shift to the PR industry from the journalism side?

It was a natural fit from working in newsrooms for years and listening to what producers look for in a good talk show guest to what journalist think is an ideal spokesperson. I began my career in PR with providing media training and that quickly lead to pitching spokespeople to the press. I really enjoy what I do and especially love that it is always changing!

 

3.) You’ve worked with notable clients like Dyson, Johnson & Johnson, TurboTax, and so many others. How has it been working with massive companies like these? What’s your favorite part?

It’s amazing! You learn so much from major brands that have name recognition and longevity. They really teach you about importance of the story behind the brand, that it’s so much more than simply a product or a service but it’s rather it’s a solution.

 

4.) Your PR specialty is broadcast media. You’ve gotten your clients opportunities on Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, and so many others. How does pitching for television differ from pitching for print/digital?

When pitching TV it’s very important to share current video links so the producer can see and hear the spokesperson they might be considering putting on TV. With TV you want your expert /spokesperson to tell a story and share an experience as opposed to solely offering tips and advice. Whereas, with print and digital media outlets concise quotes and even bullet points might work well. However, when pitching all media outlets be sure to include a short bio (that clearly states your clients expertise) and social media handles as well as various topics your client can be a resource for.

 

5.) What are the top three things you’d encourage PR pros to include in a pitch for broadcast media?

A short bio, current video links and topics your client can discuss. Be very clear and concise as to why your client is an expert on a certain topic.

 

6.) What makes a pitch enticing for a broadcast journalist? How can PR professionals breakthrough?

It’s very important that you understand the journalist beat and deadline that you’re pitching. They can tell in a minute if you’re not familiar with their particular media outlet. Pitch a story that aligns with their vertical (health, education, finance) and pitch a new angle that will help the journalist advance a story. Let the journalist know straight away your clients availability and if you can offer other assets such a b-roll, images, quotes or testimonials from other individuals that might make the news segment more compelling. Help the journalist or producer, don’t just pitch a guest.

 

7.) What KPIs should PR professionals monitor for broadcast placements?

Did the media placement provide engagement? True engagement. Social media, website traffic and audience reach are important but did the broadcast placement generate future media appearances, speaking opportunities, and raise the level of awareness for your own personal brand? Was the media placement an opportunity to elevate your clients career and the clients overall long term brand?

 

8.) How can sources be more enticing for broadcast journalists?

Don’t just join the current conversation but rather your source should help a journalist create new conversations offering tips, advice and solutions that have not already been covered many times in the media. That way your source is a real thought leader.

 

9.) What’s the best thing PR professionals can do to prepare their thought leaders for going on-air for the first time?

Practice! Often times people will be so caught up in their key speaking points that they forget to say hello and thank the interviewer. It’s important during practice to help the spokesperson truly hear their own answers. Do the answers sound like a mere list or do the answers tell a story and provide examples?

Breathing and really listening when being interviewed is key. You want the spokesperson to have a real conversation and allow the host to chime into the dialogue. The spokesperson should genuinely hear what the host asks and how they respond so they can provide a true reaction.

Also, it’s useful during media training to go over questions and topics that your client might not want to be asked. That way you can provide steps on how to redirect and move forward during the interview. In addition, discuss best practices for body language and appearance, from body positioning in interviews, energy levels, hand movements, eye contact, and attire that might distract from important messaging.

Remember to tell your client not to wait for the perfect question — they will need to look for ways to insert their message into the conversation. Practice having your client make their point immediately rather than having it getting buried towards the end. Watch out for favorite pause words or catch phrases and try to have the spokesperson call the host by their name. Help your client be confident and comfortable as they would in any other conversation. Viewers remember stories!

 

10.) What are your top tips for building (and maintaining) relationships with journalists in the broadcast space?

Always go to the news site that the journalist, producer or editor works for prior to reaching out to them to make certain that there isn’t any breaking news going on when you’re trying to connect with them.

If a journalist or producer reaches out to you regarding one of your clients always ask what is their deadline. Then be certain to deliver what is needed prior to the deadline. Never offer a client as resource on topic and then say the client is traveling for two weeks.

In addition, offer stories, stats and sound bites so that the content can be shared via social media. Make certain that you are button up when reaching out to the press. The producer shouldn’t have to keep asking for items such as bio or video links everything should be organized in one email not in a string of emails.

 

11.) What’s the best piece of PR advice you’ve received that you want to share with others?

Don’t be afraid to say to a producer or a journalist that your spokesperson might not be the right fit for a certain topic. We all want to obtain media placements for our client’s however the media outlets do not appreciate if your client truly is not a solid resource for a particular topic and you might be setting your client up to fail. Have a conversation with media outlet don’t just pitch and plug spokesperson.

 

BONUS: We noticed you live on the East Coast. What’s your favorite fall activity to do there?

Waking in the leaves especially in the beautiful Pocono Mountains!

 

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Want more tips about PR? Check out this interview with Michelle Garrett who talks about how to use Twitter to amplify PR results and your personal brand!

Like this series and have a guest you think would be a good fit? Shoot us a Twitter DM or email us at info@onepitch.co and let us know who you’d want to see featured next! PS: you can recommend yourself too.

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OnePitch is comprised of tech-savvy publicists, rad data geeks, and former journalists who believe that the PR industry is long overdue for some innovation.

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