in: Public Relations - How To Pitch These TV Programs
by: Sabina Hitchen
Getting your brand featured on Good Morning America or any national morning show can be a game-changer for your business. If your business hasn't been featured on Good Morning America yet, consider also pitching your local morning shows to build your press portfolio and validate your brand.
Here's a secret: You don't need to be a publicist or a PR professional to do it. In fact, Hope Lawrence, member of Tin Shingle and founder of Hudson Henry Baking Co., pitched her Good News Granola product and got her business featured on the Today Show after using the buzz-building tools in her Tin Shingle membership.
When pitching a major TV news show like Good Morning America, you must do so carefully and smartly. Let's cover the major Do's and Don'ts of pitching a major morning show like this one:
Do Make A "Cold Call" To Good Morning America (GMA)
Make a cold call to the Good Morning America (GMA) studios news desk and ask for the name and any contact information you can get of the producers who handle the area you are pitching: Books, Business, Politics, Money, Health, Sex – you name it!
While you're on the phone, be sure you get the correct spelling, as well as the producer's email address. If possible, go ahead and get a backup phone number as well - if you can. If the operator will not give you the phone number, you can at the very least get the Good Morning America mailing address and the correct contact that you should be pitching.
SEE ALSO: [Class] Secrets for Getting on National & Local Morning Shows
Do Ask For The Right Producer On Good Morning America (GMA)
Notice the above advice states to ask for the producer who handles the subject matter you are offering them: Books, Business, Politics, Money, etc. Different producers specialize in different areas of interest. If you ask for the name of the producer who covers that specific area, you are leaps and bounds ahead of all of the other callers off the street who don't know to do this, and you will sound more professional.
Do Email Your Idea To The Producer
Send your material and a brief and concise pitch letter or email to the producer, along with all appropriate contact information. Send this via email, and a picture attachment in that email. This email is called a "pitch." In that pitch, you'll want to paint a picture as to why the viewers of the show may be interested in your story or product. Be sure to mention your ability to employ visuals into your segment that will make it more appealing as a televised story.
SEE ALSO: How to Pitch the Media
Do Be Ready To Respond Right Away
Be sure you have all the elements of your pitch organized before you send it out to the producers, meaning, have samples ready to send, or a different head-shot, or a link to a sample reel (aka video) of you on camera. This is usually called a "Media Kit." Morning shows work fast and they will not wait around for you to get organized if and when they reach out to you. On the other hand, you may not get any response at all - so brace yourself for both silence, or a fast reply from a producer. Oh, the rollercoaster!
SEE ALSO: How to Create an Effective Media Kit
Do Rehearse First If You're Going To Call!
Write out what you are going to say before you pitch a producer, and then rehearse it. Say it out loud. Keep talking points and important information in front of you just in case you forget what you want to say in the heat of the moment. When on the phone, be enthusiastic, keep it short, and remember that there is a fine line between pitching and idea, and being pushy.
SEE ALSO: [Class] How to Write the Perfect Pitch to Land Amazing Press
Do Follow Up
After you email or call, wait about a week and then call back. You might get lucky and someone will answer, either a producer or their assistant/intern. If no one answers the phone, keep trying. Leaving a voicemail will do nothing for you, so don't leave a voicemail. Tip: Calling after 1pm EST helps your chances of anyone answering that phone. But honestly, put your effort into emailing the right producer, and connecting to assistants or interns via social media.
Don't Be Discouraged Easily.
If a producer answers, tou may be told you are on file, or to call back in a month, or even six weeks. That's not bad! Don’t give up, and in the meantime call a few local news or talk shows and build a reel of your appearances (aka a video of your television appearances) on those shows. You will want to show a national news program that you can handle being in front of the cameras in the television environment.
Don't Call Good Morning America Before 1pm EST.
Good Morning America tapes live, and they go off the air at 9am. So you'll want to call at the right time. Call too early, and they are taping. Call to late, and they are in meetings. Here is a rough breakdown of their schedule:
- 9:00am-10:00am: Filming has ended, and the producers are too stressed out to talk to you. They are probably getting a snack.
- 10:00am-11:00am: The producers, assistants and interns have a meeting to discuss the story ideas and talk about filming for the following day.
- 11:00am-12:00pm: The writers and producers are busy with calls and email.
- 12pm Noon: At noon, people are having lunch.
- 1:00pm: Producers will have more time to process new story angle ideas - this is your time to call.
Don't Forget That Producers Are People Too
Don't forget that producers are sometimes rushed, angry, tired, and impatient, so be kind. When calling, be sure to ask them if it’s a good time to for them to talk. Courtesy is appreciated.
Don't Become A Pest
Once a producer says these words: “Sorry, not for us,” you're idea is out. You are free to go to the Today Show or Fox and Friends or any other outlet, but leave the producers who said No alone.
Don't Send Samples Without Asking And Getting Permission
Don't Waste your time and money sending stuff to the on-air talent or executive producers. They’ll never see it and it will not change anyone else’s minds. A good story is what sells. Producers don't even open their own mail. First it goes to the Mail Room, then if it makes it out of there, it gets delivered and an intern or assistant opens it. Maybe if you're stuff is packaged AMAZINGLY WELL - and I mean sparkling and very cool looking - the assistant may show it to someone. But do get permission first.
SEE ALSO: How to Send Samples to the Media
Don't Forget That Producers Don't Like Saying "No"
Producers understand how valuable a television appearance can be to someone trying to make it. That said, please don’t beg or cry (as many people have actually done) as it does not make things any easier.
FAQ's About Pitching Good Morning America
We at Tin Shingle get a lot of questions from people like you who want to get publicity on Good Morning America. Read the answers to those Frequently Asked Questions About Get Featured on Good Morning America here.
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