CBS’s 10Connect in Tampa filmed a segment on Oddpodz. Interns Sarah, Justin and Baptiste got walk on roles.
Trying to get publicity on your business can be a grueling effort. You are competing with every organization out there, the news professionals are many times extreme stress baskets and under huge deadlines, and then there’s the $2 million dollar question “what is really news worthy?”.
This past week I called one of the local news stations about doing a feature on Oddpodz. I reached the morning show producer, but unfortunately, she was putting out a fire and gave me about 15 seconds to tell her our story. At the end of my sprint pitch, she requested, why don’t you email me something. “Great” I replied, “it’s on its way”.
I sent her a brief, to -the-point note about our company and three angles that may light her fire. I knew her show was a mix of stay-at-home businesses and professionals on their way to work. I attempted to appeal to those audiences.
A couple days passed. No word from my contact at the station, should I call her, email her again or blow it off?
I rationalized, sure she’s busy, but they all need news and our company is newsworthy—so I picked up the phone and followed up.
Man, I’m glad I did. When I got her on the line, she recalled the company and me. She politely said, “I do remember seeing the information and I also remember accidentally throwing it out. Can you send it again?” Sure can.
I resent the info, waited another day and called her again. This time she was very attentive, had questions and said, “sounds like a perfect story for Monday’s morning news, we’ll send cameras today and can you be at the your office at 4:30 AM Monday for a live feed too?” Absolutely!
Quick PR lessons.
1) Timing is the magic in the news room.
There are slow news days, interviews cancel, breaking news can bump your piece off the schedule, but TV stations always need stories. Scoring a segment often is not just about the hard news factor of your pitch, but about filling the airways and lucky timing.
2) The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
My follow up calls got us booked. If your story is newsworthy, non-annoying and resilient follow up calls can definitely make a difference.
3) Don’t give up so easy.
If you get a big fat, “No we are not interested”, don’t take it personal and throw in the towel. Re slice that cheese, there are many, many ways to present a story. Ask yourself, would it fly if it were tied into something already in the news, like a current affair? what about if it were pitched as a round up story with 2-3 other examples? or what about connecting it to a holiday?
4) News is often like art, its value or market merit is often left up to the eyes and the schedule of the producer.
We’ve all seen stupid stories that sound like the biggest commercial ever, with no apparent news angle, and wonder “How did that get aired?” Someone was persistent.
Our story ran this morning and will again run at noon, plus with the Internet, it will be streamed later today and be around forever, got to love that.