A TV producer friend clued me in on a very simple model that when followed results in the ideal broadcast business news segment. In effect, it’s the checklist that gives producers what they want. You might think it almost elementary. Yet, so many producers accuse PR professionals of pitching sources and ideas that don’t gel with their show’s format. It makes sense. We sometimes become so consumed with what we want, pitching the clients’ products and ideas, we don’t consider what works for the medium.
These are the three questions to address when developing a pitch for almost all financial news TV interviews.
1. What’s the news hook?
Finding the news hook is simple. Ask yourself – what is everyone talking about and how can I relate it to the client’s business? It’s obvious, but often overlooked. Financial services PR pros are essentially idea brokers. Aside from say, a mutual fund, we are all peddling a point of view, not a product. It’s in packaging those ideas a certain way that makes it palatable for a TV producer, who wants an idea driven by the news of the day. Now this is where your training comes into play. Align the headline with your client’s business strategy and investment philosophy and you’ve markedly increased your chances of securing the hit.
2. Who’s the face?
Once the producers have the news hook, they’ll tap into their stable of on-air talent and assign the story for reporting. Since we’re on the other side of this process, let’s consider who at our client firm is the best spokesperson on the topic. With that decision comes a few preparatory questions:
– Is our expert media trained?
– What are his or her talking points?
– Is the perspective bullish or bearish?
– Who is conducting the interview?
– Is he the only guest or is he being pitted against contrarian voices?
– What are our responses to questions about issues sensitive to our business?
3. What is the actionable investment advice?
If you’re a PR professional who represents money managers then you’ve heard the phrase: “We’re not stock pickers. We love all our kids.” Well, 10 times out of 10, that won’t fly with a TV producer. There are ways around it sometimes, but viewers want a takeaway. In lieu of straight stock tips, talk about a sector play based on a theme that ties back to the firm’s investment philosophy. The approach will vary by show. You might get away with this on a format driven more by big picture news, but certainly not on CNBC’s Fast Money, which covers stock stories almost on a tick-by-tick basis.
Before pitching a broadcast interview to any producer, shape the interview using these rules for the road. It may not guarantee a spot on the network that day, but it will most definitely call attention to your client in a smart way and while it’s incumbent upon you to stay in front of the producer, it’s likely they will seek your clients out when they want an expert.
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