Direct Marketing Article
How to Get Local TV to Cover Your Event
By Marsha Friedman
Holding a press event is a tricky thing. It can generate great media
coverage and public exposure, but you also run the risk of throwing a party
where no one shows up.
If the key to your event is getting press to come, then you need to be able
to get their interest and participation. That's why I've jotted down the
following tips to help you get the word out to the press in a way that will
give you a high percentage shot at having them attend.
Getting a television crew to your event requires some finesse, and the
format of the pitch is different than that of a press release. A media alert
is the appropriate tool which gives a TV producer or assignment desk editor
all the information they need to decide on whether the event you're holding
is of interest to them. Write the media alert in five sections: Who, What,
When, Where and Visuals.
Who: Name your company and any key executives or dignitaries who
might be in attendance. Include only those who will be available to speak on
What: What is the announcement or the reason for the event? Include
all material you consider news.
When: Make certain to include the date and time of the event, and how
long it will run. Also include the schedules of any on-camera spokespeople,
and if they will be available before the event.
Where: This is key. You need to include an address, directions, and a
link for Google Maps or MapQuest if you can. Getting a reporter or a crew to
an event can be won or lost in how well you direct them there. If security
personnel will be at the event or venue, make sure they know the media might
Visuals: TV is a visual medium, so make sure you have something for
the cameras to shoot. Talking heads does not a press event make. Have demos,
graphs, lots of people around, so they'll have something other than an
executive in a suit to shoot.
To get a television crew at your event, you should follow these instructions
precisely, to ensure the highest level of communication possible without
annoying the producers and assignment editors.
1. First, send the media alert out two weeks prior to the event.
Then, one week prior. Then send it to them each of the three days just
before the event. The reason for this is that there are different desk
editors on different days and different shifts, and they delete all their
emails frequently to make room for new alerts.
2. Two days before the event, call the assignment desks at all the TV
stations you want to cover your event. Ask them if they received your
alert - they'll say no. That's okay. If it doesn't grab them right away,
they'll toss it. Send it again, and then call him back immediately
afterward, and pitch your event. They'll give you instructions on how to
proceed, which will usually include them asking you to call the morning of
the event. That's okay - you're going to do that anyway.
3. Call on the morning of your event. By now, they know your event,
and they know who you are. If your event is interesting enough for them,
they'll tell you. If your event is on a Saturday or Sunday, please be
advised that most TV stations only have one crew on duty on the weekends.
They'll be stretched thin, so you reduce your chances for success with
Use the right tools, making sure the producers and assignment desk editors
are fully informed, but do it in a professional way so as not to drive them
crazy, and you'll have a much better shot at getting coverage for your
About the Author:
Marsha Friedman is a 20-year veteran of the public relations industry. She
is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations
www.emsincorporated.com, a national firm that provides PR strategy and
publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional
firms. She also hosts a national weekly radio talk show, The Family Round
Table, and is author of the book, Celebritize Yourself.