Get your Small Business on Local TV
News is covered differently based on the region and size of the TV market. As a journalist, I’ve covered news in Phoenix, Miami and New York – and all three markets couldn’t be more different when it comes to getting stories on the local news.
If you’re in a smaller TV market, it will be easier to get a story on the local news. Don’t assume just because there are fewer TV stations that you will have a harder time getting a TV station to cover your event. In many cases, a smaller market will work to your advantage because the news is more sparse.
So how do you get the local TV station to cover your event? Many PR blogs will advise you to pick up the phone and call. I recommend you put your thoughts in a concise email first. By putting your thoughts in writing, you will be more concise and focused with your message. You will also have more time to define the story. (I have written many articles on how to identify the narrative, which you can read in consistent coverage).
Once you put your thoughts on paper, pick up the phone and call. It should be common sense, but there are always people who call right as the newscast is about to start. If you are trying to get the local TV station to do a story on your business, don’t call as the newscast is about to start. Instead, call right as the newscast is ending. Yup – that’s an insider secret for you. This is when the desk and producers are unwinding, waiting for time to pass so they can go home. This is also when they will likely have the most patience to take your call.
The news desk will likely ask you for something in writing, which is why you will be a step-ahead by writing the pitch before you call. When you have that assignment editor on the phone, tell him or her, you will email them the story as soon as you get off the phone.
Finally, if the TV station says they don’t have a crew to cover your story or event, don’t give up. If it’s newsworthy, ask the news desk if you can send them video. If the news desk likes your story, there is a chance you can get it in the news, especially in the smaller markets.
However, if you are in a larger market, this strategy probably won’t work, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss this approach. Just target smaller news outlets. In the case with the Number 1 TV market, New York City, there are several smaller cable news outlets that operate like small TV markets. News 12 and NY1 both operate like smaller TV stations where many reporters shoot their own stories. You can find a list of TV markets and TV stations by clicking here. If you still aren’t having any success, give us a call and we can help.
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Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.