Words by Jonathan Burch
On a cold February evening, I headed into Clerkenwell to attend a panel discussion with some top names in the technology broadcast industry. Broadcast can often be the holy grail of coverage for a client. However, managing to secure a prized interview in front of the camera is never as easy as they may imagine it to be.
So, the aim of the night was to gain some new insider knowledge of how best to charm broadcast journalists over the phone. With a very large glass of wine and my laptop to hand, I was ready to hear from industry experts David McLelland (Freelance/BBC), Tessa McCann (CNBC), and Johny Cassidy (BBC). With years of experience in broadcast between them, there was no better place to discover the secret of securing that coveted broadcast coverage.
The first lesson was to understand what the shows you are pitching for are based on, and what times they air. By understanding when the shows are on, it is easier to pitch as you know what sort of stories will be of interest to the producers in the first place, and you know the best times to get in touch to pitch them.
Then, we were informed that it’s important to understand how the broadcast teams work and which locations they are based in. Would your client need to head into their studios or would they be able to send a van for an interview on location somewhere? Would Skype or Facetime ever be a possibility for the show? We then moved swiftly onto the types of people that the panellists prefer to have on their shows, with all agreeing that interviewees should not be media trained to within an inch of their life – a little character never hurt anyone.
Then it was onto questions from the audience. From questions about whether lunch meetings with PRs were worthwhile, to whether “bad” news can ever present an opportunity for positive PR, the panellists were grilled about all of the audience’s curiosities.
Overall, it was a brilliant evening and it was fantastic to pick the brains of some of the top experts in the technology broadcast space. I left feeling more educated on how to pitch to broadcast journalists, and more confident about the next time I pick up the phone to them. It’s now just a case of putting my newfound skills to good use, and helping my clients get their 2 minutes of fame on the TV.