News & Views

7 Tips for Securing TV Coverage of Your Travel Destination

When you turn on the TV do you notice how much content – from news to lifestyle programming – has changed in the last 10-15 years? Or did I already lose you at “turn on the TV?”

In the past decade, the type of content being featured on television has morphed because viewership patterns have evolved. Live television has ramped up its game to compete with all the other ways consumers now spend their “free” time. Unlike my father’s generation, which sat down each night to catch the 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. news, consumers are inundated these days with methods to gather information. It’s easy to think the nightly news may quickly become a thing of the past.

The good news is that with today’s 24-hour news cycle, television programs constantly need new angles, as well as fresh faces to help put stories into context. The bad news is, many travel destinations are inundating producers with pitches, and most of these pitches will be overlooked because the pitch misses the mark.

TV producers are working to keep themselves relevant by producing content for various channels – on-air, on websites and in social media – and as long as they focus on the basics of relevant, solid, reporting, they have a chance of standing the test of time. In this world of on-demand news and media, destination PR professionals have to understand the best ways to get a producer’s attention when pitching a segment.

Here are a few tips to help you secure those necessary minutes of TV time for your destination.

Know What Will Interest Your Intended Audience

Though it should be obvious, you must come with an interesting story. Think about the idea you want to pitch and consider why it is important, why people should care about it, and how is it impacting consumers. Pitching a story that is interesting and relevant to your target audience – and the TV program’s target audience – ensures a much higher rate of success.

Know the Outlet You are Pitching

Having an understanding of how the outlet you are pitching typically works will also give you good insight on the best ideas and ways to pitch them. Consider if they will interview your person in studio or on the air? What destinations or types of events do they typically feature? Do they shoot on location? Will they visit your destination then do a segment after they return? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you decide on the right angle to pitch.

Know the Type of Segment You Want to Land

Framing the pitch with a good idea of what kind of segment you want to land is also important. If you want an in-studio segment, you will need a spokesperson to travel to the studio and appear on set. And let’s face it – if they look good on camera, you’re more likely to be welcomed on set. If you are looking for an on-location segment, a reporter will have to travel to the destination or event to cover the story. If you are trying to secure a call-in segment, a spokesperson will need to be articulate on the phone, as well as available to call into the broadcast show and provide an interview.

Know Your Look and Feel

Your pitch needs to include information on what the segment will look or sound like. Use creativity to your advantage here! Include a bio of the spokesperson and a recent broadcast clip to show that they have experience in front of the camera. Include b-roll and photos when applicable. Give the producer a clear idea of what you want your segment to look like. Plus, if you have a solid pitch with these aspects already included, it requires less work on the production end to get it ready for air.

Know the Best Time to Pitch

Knowing when producers are most likely to answer your phone call or email is crucial to a strong segment pitch, but you must also pay attention to the current news cycle. Send your pitch out at least a week in advance, call the news desk, and call the producer.

The ideal time to pitch morning producers is typically right after the morning news ends, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. To get a hold of an evening producer, you should pitch in the afternoon before 4 p.m. If you are trying to secure coverage of an event, always call again the morning of the event to see if they can slot your event – schedules often change quickly, even overnight. Make sure your pitch doesn’t get lost in the hundreds of emails producers receive each day. However, if there is current breaking news or a major local or national story coming out, your pitch is likely to get lost in the shuffle. Hold your fire and wait for a more opportune time to pitch.

Know What to Expect

Manage expectations of your destination organization’s CEO and tourism industry partners, especially if you’re targeting national morning shows. While Good Morning America producers may cover your story, they may also connect you with their advertising team to discuss a paid package that will include a branded segment. If a paid partnership fits within your budget, be flexible. If you’re working with more regional programs, integrate trip or ticket giveaways for viewers into the segment. Audience engagement tactics not only boost viewership, they provide a practical way for consumers to engage with your destination brand as well.

Want to learn more about how to secure travel coverage for your destination? You can read more about what makes great TV in our case study for Huntington Beach.

Written By

Kayla Lynskey

Kayla is a senior publicist in DCI's Tourism Practice. Prior to joining the DCI team, Kayla managed public relations and marketing initiatives for a variety of travel and hospitality accounts, specializing in Caribbean travel brands. She earned her BA in Public Relations at SUNY Oswego.

More Articles by Kayla Lynskey

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