by Joyce Thian, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/Canada
If you want to know as a PR pro exactly how to get your stories “on the air,” news directors should be your go-to people. But it’s not every day that you get to sit down and chat with a news director—they’re busy people, after all, running entire news rooms and news departments on a day-to-day basis.
Luckily, this year’s RTDNA national conference (June 13-15) featured a lineup of back-to-basics workshops, one of which was a stellar “Making the Pitch” session with Dave Trafford, news director at Global News Toronto.
Trafford, an award-winning journalist and bona fide news veteran, took the time to share his tips on story pitches with a roomful of PR pros, freelance journalists, reporters, and producers. His insights into what works and what doesn’t when it comes to pitching offered that rare glimpse into the mind of a news director:
- Your idea has to be better than mine. Get me interested because if I’m interested, an audience will be too.
- If you’re going to pitch anything, it has to be about me. A good pitch will be about the person you are pitching to, no matter who they are. Make them care and relate it to them personally.
- Some of the best pitches are the ones that have left me mad afterwards. If the pitch provokes a reaction, I might want to see that story.
- Don’t confuse an idea with a pitch and don’t pitch by asking questions or listing some qualities. The pitch is essentially the first part of telling a great story.
- Good pitches land in the strike zone. Make a narrow pitch—be specific and focused enough that you can pitch your story in as short a time as it will be on the air. (Interested in more baseball-inspired PR tips? Check out this blog post from our global media relations director, Raschanda Hall!)
- Don’t overlook the things you find obviously entertaining or interesting; great characters can make great pitches or stories.