We all know journalists hate to be bombarded with pitches, especially ones that are irrelevant to their beats. We hear the gripes, see the examples of bad pitches, and we know we’ve all made mistakes. So what is the best strategy for pitching stories to TV? I’ve asked Rochelle Vayo Adkinson, host and producer of WGN-TV and Chicago Home & Garden magazine’s Bring it Home, to share some advice on how to pitch and she kindly agreed. Here are her thoughts:
Q. How many pitches come your way each week?
A. I probably get 10-15 pitches every week, and only one or two that could even remotely fit into my show!
Q. What makes a good pitch stand out among the rest?
A. A good pitch for me is clear, concise, gives the details of the person/product they’re trying to pitch and comes from someone who actually understands what my show is about. If I have to spend time searching out a company or website for more information then that pitch is probably going to get deleted.
Q. Is there a good pitch that stands out to you? What made it effective?
A. I would say the best pitch for my home design show is from a person who fully understands the show (i.e. has actually seen it before!) and includes descriptions and photos of the space or designer they’re trying to pitch me. Any pitch that would actually be good for my show and that saves me time is a good pitch!
Q. What about the worst pitch? What made it so bad?
A. I get bad pitches weekly, they’re mass press releases with my name at the top, but I can tell I’m just on a list because my name is spelled incorrectly or its just incorrect altogether (this actually happens!) and the product or person they’re pitching has absolutely nothing to do with the topic of my show. I host/produce a home design show and I can’t tell you how many pitches to interview “so-and-so, the leading expert on children’s nutrition” that I’ve received. I always try to respond and let people know they’re barking up the wrong tree, but sometimes I get so many it’s just impossible.
Q. What commonalities do you find throughout bad pitches?
A. Any pitch that is unclear, lacks specific contact information or details and doesn’t apply to my area of focus is a bad pitch, in my opinion.
Q. Is there anything you hate most about pitches?
A. My biggest pet peeve with the bad pitches I receive is that the person sending them has no idea what kind of show I produce.
Q. How do you prefer pitches? Do you accept them via Twitter or any other social media sites?
A. Pitches primarily come in via e-mail, but we’re pretty active on the social sites so if someone’s pitching, we’ll see them!
Q. Are you currently looking for any specific stories or leads?
A. Bring it Home is a local home design show (in Chicago), so I’m always looking for incredible homes and rooms to feature as home design inspiration, as well as small, affordable home stores we can share with our audience.
Keep an eye out on Cision Blog later this week for Yvette’s follow-up post Pitching Print.