• October 2010

The 3 T’s to Perfecting Your Pitch and Getting the Interview You Want

By Angle S. Bush
Radio Talk Show Host
Your 15 Minutes Radio

Everyone with a business, book, CD, or product to sell has the same goal: They want the world to know what they are offering. And getting interviewed in a newspaper, magazine, or on the radio or TV is one of the best ways to spread the word to a large audience.

However, it takes some business and marketing savvy to be able to accomplish that goal.

As the host of the Internet radio show, Your 15 Minutes Radio, I’ve heard some of the best — and worst — pitches, and have given quite a bit of thought to what makes one pitch better than another.

Here’s a guide to help you understand some of the basics about pitching your product or business to reporters. With a little work, you just might land a spot on my show!

The 3 Ts to landing an interview

Step 1: Target your pitch

1. Research the media outlet that you would like to be featured on. Whether it be the local TV station, Oprah, or The New York Times, every reporter, editor, and producer is looking for “the story” in your story. They don’t care about helping your business grow. They care about sharing interesting stories with their viewers and readers.

2. Ensure that your product or service is in line with the stories the media outlet features. Don’t pitch your new recycling book to a food and wine magazine (unless there is a clear connection to recycling). If you are an author who writes about recycling, find out which media outlets discuss recycling, the month they talk about the importance of “being green,” and if any local TV shows or publications focus on “green living.”

3. Focus, focus, focus. Even though you may be a jack of all trades, pick just one when pitching a story. No reporter or producer wants to know everything about your business or life. They want one specific tip or story. Not only is publications space limited and on-the-air time brief — so are people’s attention spans. Be clear and to the point, and you’ll be more likely to land an interview.

Step 2: Track the trends

1. Stay abreast of what is going on in the world. Watch CNN, read several newspapers (online or in print), listen to NPR — anything to get up to speed on the topics and stories that are in the news.

2. Then figure out how your expertise can fit into a story. For example, if you own a health-related company, your opinion and insights would have been welcome in March when the House of Representatives voted to approve the Health Care Reform Bill. If you run an immigration law firm, your expertise would have been welcome when a legal battle over the Arizona immigration law appeared certain after a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction in July.

3. Utilize social media. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are great places to make new friends and spread the word about what you are working on. Each day, post one interesting tidbit about your company, products, or services. Don’t brag. Just pick out something that others will find useful and helpful.

4. Know the difference between breaking news and spin. While every media outlet touts that it is providing you with “breaking news,” few stories actually fit the bill. However, if you have a story that is relevant to what is in the news today, submit your information in a well-written, thoughtful way.

Step 3: Tell your story well

1. Pay attention to your own viewing patterns. When you watch the TV news, or read a newspaper or magazine, what catches your attention? What pulls you in? When pitching your story to the media, use that same approach to compel the person reading your pitch not only to continue reading, but to contact you.

2. The devil is in the details. When pitching your product or service, don’t forget to provide a proper bio complete with your name, phone number, email address, and a link to your website (if you have one). I can’t tell you how many emails I get from people who want to be a guest on my show — but they don’t provide me with enough information. If you want me to help promote your company, don’t make me do the research.

3. It’s not about you, it’s about the story. And then there are those queries that come to me with all of the contact information, but they don’t tell me “the hook” or what they can offer that will be interesting to my listeners. Like other media professionals, I need to know the answer to why I should interview you. Keep it short and to the point, but engage me. If you don’t do that, how will I be convinced that you will engage my audience?

4. Know your selling point. If you are an inventor, tell me what led you to your invention. If you own a shop that specializes in making gorgeous and delicious cupcakes, tell us what makes your cupcake better than your competition’s. Be sure to include facts, statistics, and any current research. Those details will make you a more desirable person to interview because your expertise and insights will make our online discussion rich and intriguing. After all, isn’t that what we all want to watch, read, and listen to?

Want to know more? Listen to us live each Tuesday at 6 p.m. CST/7 p.m. EST. Learn more here: www.your15minutesradio.com.