Pitching Media in Today’s World
By Shari Steinbach, MS RDN, RDBA Contributing Editor
If you conducted media spots for your retailer before the pandemic, you probably went to the TV station for a live or taped segment. But for the past several months, stations have not allowed any guests to make in-studio appearances. Don’t let this stop you from pitching stories to your local news outlets. Now more than ever, they are looking for some engaging and timely topics for their viewers and you can be creative with delivery. Here are some things to think about as you navigate media during these unprecedented times:
- Capture their interest. Provide some kind of hook such as mentioning that you saw they covered a pertinent food related topic or the hosts were discussing growing weary with home cooking. Tell them you can provide new, healthy ideas and offer specific examples to back up your pitch. Put together a brief overview of what your content will include, such as tips, a recipe demo and product solutions. Conclude with a call to action regarding possible dates and a location (see next point).
- Change the venue. Since live appearances are off limits for now, consider other ways that you can deliver your messages. Offer to do a Facebook live segment, send in a video for the show, or interact via Zoom with the hosts. Suggest taping a 3 to 4-minute segment in your home kitchen showing 3 quick assembly meals using a rotisserie chicken, or lean ground beef as you tie in a range of affordable, convenient foods from your store(s). You could also offer to go off site depending on the time of year. For example, an apple orchard would be a perfect location to talk about fun fall meals, or an outdoor patio for a grilling segment. Stations will often allow these types of segments if the reporter is wearing a mask.
- Provide a timely solution. One thing to take into account during times of crisis, is not to pitch a story unless you have something relevant to offer. Since so many people are shopping instore or online and cooking at home, there should be plenty of interesting, timely solutions you can provide. Basic cooking skills, kids helping in the kitchen, easy assembly meals, tips for eating on a budget, nutrient-rich foods to help support well-being, managing weight, and how to host a safe family holiday gathering are just a few examples.
Remember that the information and products you are talking about must be helpful to the situation our world is in right now. Monitor consumer trends and what your key media outlets are reporting to find areas of relevance.