Week 3 - 21st century media content


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How to secure coverage in media outlets by writing convincing pitches for broadcast, radio, print and online.

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Week 3 - 21st century media content

  1. 1. CRAFTING THE PITCH STEP 1 – THE SUBJECT HEADLINE Develop catchy Subject Headline that will cause the reporter not to delete your email. SAMPLE SUBJECT HEADLINESEditors: Marathon Madness: What to Know Before & After Race DayNEWS FROM PARENTING.COM: Homework help; moms who rock; theback-to-school statistic you need to knowAAA: Are Car Seats any easier to install?
  2. 2. THE LEADThe lead is the introductory paragraph - it should have a hook that engages your reader from the first sentence. It could be a ripped from the headlines story; a startling statistic or an announcement of a product or service that has never been seen before.A lead can also reference a story the writer has recently covered – this will show that you are not blindly pitching the story. You’re pitching them because you thought they would be interested in it.
  3. 3. BULLET POINTS Your second paragraph should contain 3-5 bullet points including important and interesting facts about the subject you are pitching: From a recent holiday gift guide pitch from Panasonic: New Panasonic NB-G110P FlashXpress Toaster Oven – with a temperature keypad for precise temperature control and digital timer to prevent overcooking, this toaster oven can prepare a variety of holiday appetizers from frozen foods to pizza. Available at a suggested retail price of $129.95. New Panasonic SR-DF101 and SR-DF181 Microcomputer Fuzzy Logic Rice Cookers- adjust power depending on how much food is being cooked for precise cooking and consistent results. Clearly labeled with large control panel icons, this 5-cup and 10-cup capacity rice cookers can cook up steamy soups and delicious side dishes. Panasonic’s SR-DF101 5-cup rice cooker has a suggested retail price of $79.99. The SR-DF181 has a suggested retail price of $89.99.
  4. 4. THE PITCHCompelling lead paragraph– offer an exclusive interview with your client or the opportunity to experience a brand or service for the first time before the general public.Be a storyteller -If you’re pitching a person, share an anecdote about them that the reporter can relate to.Suggest a few topics you can discuss - The pitch can also includes a variety of angles your client can discuss with the reporter. This should also be in bulleted format.
  5. 5. CONTACT MEEnd the pitch with a way for the reporter to get in touch with you via email, Twitter and/or Facebook.Enter your name, email address and phone numberInform the reporter that you will also be following up with him to ascertain his interest
  6. 6. THANK YOUThank the reporter for his timeEnd the letter with your signature line:Sincerely,NameTitleCompany
  7. 7. MY PITCH PEEVES1. GET TO THE POINT – You are not writing a novel – you are writing to capture the attention of a very busy reporter or producer2. SPELLING ERRORS -- If you’re pitching a stationery company, certainly don’t use the word “stationary” in your pitch – (I received a pitch with that spelling). Know your client and know how to spell words that describe their services.3. POORLY WRITTEN SENTENCES – Don’t end sentences with the word “of.” “Um,” “Like” and “You know” do not belong in any pitches or releases.
  8. 8. MY PITCH PEEVES4. OFF TOPIC PITCHES: Writing a pitch that is completely off topic and sent to a reporter who would never cover what you’re pitching.5. POOR USE OF GRAMMAR: Don’t insert a semi colon when it needs a comma. And don’t put a comma before “and” – refer to your AP style book.6. A CONFUSING PITCH: The reporter can’t figure out what you are pitching. Get to the point, get me the facts and then tell me why I should cover you.
  9. 9. TELEVISION PITCHESGet to the point: Broadcast producers have no time to focus on long winded pitches.Bullet Points: Include bulleted tips from the person or client you are pitching.Examples of past interviews: Include a sizzle (media reel) of your client to show he/she has TV experienceBackground info: Include a bio of your clientContact Information: Include your phone number, email address and Twitter handle.
  10. 10. RADIO PITCHES Research the hosts: Know the show you are pitching Facts & Statistics: Include tip driven information tied to the news of the day Engaging interview subjects: Offer the types of topics your client can discuss on air Include a link to a recent radio interview and/or TV appearance Include a bio of the interview subject Include dates when your client is available Where to reach you -Include your contact information
  11. 11. PRINT PITCHES Research what the reporter has covered in the past Draft a hook that will show the reporter you know their work and don’t want to waste their time. You’ve got something they may want to cover. Include an exclusive offer (interview, access to a new product or service before the general public). Include bullet points with relevant links that provide additional background on your client. Check the calendar and see if your pitch ties in with something that’s taking place that month (ie. You pitch an author who wrote a book about self esteem during Bullying Prevention Month) Include you contact information at the end of the pitch
  12. 12. ONLINE OR BLOG PITCHESConcise - Keep it very shortUnder 300 words - Pitch should be no longer than four paragraphsResearch the blog -Identify that you have been reading the blog/website in question.Provide a special offer or offer an exclusive experience to the bloggerProvide images they can use for their blog post with photo credit provided.Include important links to websites and/or video
  13. 13. IF YOU DON’T HEAR BACK…Change the pitchEngage with the reporter via email FB or Twitter – find out why they are not interestedFind another reporter and pitch againDo not give up
  14. 14. GROUP PROJECT1. Notification: I will be notifying you via email which group you have been assigned the week of 9/17.2. Connect: Once you have been assigned a group, you should plan to connect either in person or via phone so that you can select a company or brand you will be covering.3. Collaborate: I will be giving you time in our in person classes to collaborate and will be available to assist you during this time as well.4. Divide and conquer: One group member should not be pulling the weight on the project. Assign a task to each member so that the project is truly a collaborative effort.5. No Excuses: If you cannot attend a class in person, you are still responsible for working with your group. Research, writing and communication with your group can be conducted anywhere.
  15. 15. YOUR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS3A -- Blog entry No. 1 (post in Discussion Board):1. What are some of the most compelling news stories or blog posts you’ve seen this week? Include a link to the story.2. Why did they grab your attention? (1 sentence)3. After reading the blog post or news story, craft a pitch letter that could have secured that coverage. Due by Sept. 20 midnight. 200 words (15 points)
  16. 16. EMMY AWARDS TWEET-UP1. 3B: Emmy Awards Tweet up. Watch the Primetime Emmy Awards (http://www.emmys.com/) on Sept. 23 and write at least 10 tweets during the show. Visit www.tweetchat.com and enter the hashtag #Emmys to join the discussion. While you are watching the twitter stream, identify media reporters and outlets participating in the session and show how you discovered that someone won an Emmy via Twitter. Next write a blog post announcing the winners based on the tweets you’ve seen online 200 words total (post in Blog post section). (15 points)