Every Story Needs a Proper Platform

Posted Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Nick Ritcey

  • IMG-Story-Platform

If you’ve ever made an appearance on local TV news – in a leading, supporting, or even background role – there’s a good chance you were excited. 

At any given moment during a sports broadcast, you’re virtually guaranteed to see someone jumping up and down hysterically behind the commentators. Just the thought of being on TV makes people so giddy they’ll do just about anything.

It’s true, not everyone wants to be on TV… but chances are many of your clients will push for the opportunity.

Besides the benefits of reaching a large audience, TV offers instant gratification. You can actually see your story come to life and after a lot of hard work on a marketing or PR campaign, it feels good. TV is also a high-engagement platform, meaning people are able to connect with content by listening AND watching. The higher the engagement, the better chance the story will resonate with viewers. Print and radio only offer one channel – watching OR listening – so in the PR world, the TV appeal goes far beyond human narcissistic tendencies.

But getting on TV isn’t easy and sometimes the small screen isn’t the best destination for your story.

Put simply, some stories have a face for radio… or print.

Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages and it’s important when pitching media to recognize where your story fits.

What Makes a Good TV Pitch

On TV, pictures drive script. This means no matter how interesting the pitch, if there’s nothing to look at, the journalist has to fill gaps with boring images that don’t match the commentary. TV journalists are often forced to make an exception for prominent news stories, such as court cases, but your pitch is unlikely to be granted the same concession.

Just because your pitch isn’t right for TV, doesn’t mean it’s a bad news story.

What Makes a Good Radio Pitch

On radio, sound drives script. This means if your story lacks pictures, but has great sound effects or sound bites, it may have the framework for a great radio pitch.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Print and Online Media

Most likely, your pitch will be best suited for print and online media, so this is usually the best place to start.

Not only is online or print the most accessible platform to the public, it’s also the fastest. A story that takes a day to assemble for TV may only take an hour for a print journalist. This means they can pump out more stories more often. Interviews can be conducted over the phone, there’s no time devoted to travel, recording or set up, and final production is relatively minimal. These stories can also be published and shared online immediately, instead of waiting hours for a designated timeslot.

Pitching TV is a good instinct, but don’t waste precious time and resources trying to turn a good print story into a bad TV story. Both your clients and media contacts will appreciate it.

Pick the right platform and increase the odds of your story reaching the public.