Happy Monday! We’ve love being able to share our insider tips on media outreach success – especially because everyone at Nardi Media comes from a background of working in the news. We sat down with Nardi Media Broadcast Publicist Lorilee Binstock to get her take on what it takes to get booked on broadcast interviews, as well as stories from the “other side” — the newsroom. Lorilee is a former anchor and producer with years of newsroom experience, incredible newsroom contacts and connections, and not to mention she is a pure joy to work with!
NM: What has been your biggest career booking success?
LB: It’s tough to say. I have booked many great interviews throughout my career but the ones I consider the most successful are those where both the client AND the network or station are pleased beyond their expectations. It’s great to hear from news outlets after the interviews asking to have the guest back on. That’s when you know the booking was a success.
NM: As a former TV producer, tell me about some of the best ways to be pitched a story.
LB: TV producers are pitched multiple times daily, getting hundreds of pitches a week. To be successful, your pitch has to stand out from the crowd and be able to work with the producers’ news cycle. That means researching what the network/station is covering and how your guest can add to their programming. As a former morning producer who worked the graveyard shift, I understand that a station’s time and resources are limited, so providing the legwork to the station, such as suggested questions, b-roll, background information that is short and to the point, can really help make a difference in whether a pitch is well-received.
NM: What types of challenges do clients face getting booked on television or radio? How do you overcome those challenges?
LB: One of the biggest obstacles to getting on television and radio is an already busy news cycle in which networks and stations already have their programming set in advance. This is especially true during an election year because a significant amount of programming is dedicated to that purpose. This year, for example, had major events such as the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention and the summer Olympics, and many stations’ resources were stretched thin. Sometimes, even if an assignment editor loves a pitch, they are not able to accommodate it because of competing priorities. Breaking news can also make it more difficult to get on the phone with a producer. However, as a publicist, it’s our job to work with the client to discuss how their story can be relevant to what is happening currently in the news cycle. It’s also our job to be persistently polite enough to convince a station that our client’s perspective will enhance their programming.
NM: Share a memorable story with us from the “other side” – ie when you worked in the news, such as a story you were covering, trying to book, etc.
LB: As a morning producer and anchor, I would begin my workday at 11pm in order to produce and anchor a two hour morning show that aired live weekdays at 5 AM. Normally, the organization and substance of the show would come together well before we went on-air. However, one morning in 2008, about an hour and a half before showtime, we learned of breaking news involving a shooting on I-64 in central Virginia. At that moment, everything that I had produced had to be scraped. With just over one hour to produce an entire two-hour show, I began filling the rundown with the stories I wanted to cover and directed my reporters to make calls and update the run-down in real time with bullet points while I prepared to go on air. While anchoring the live show, I continued to produce the show, draft scripts and make phone calls to police, both as we were live on-air and during commercial breaks. While the show appeared pretty well put together to viewers, it was certainly chaotic behind the scenes.That’s one morning in news that I’ll never forget.
NM: What do you love about working on the “other side”, media relations and outreach?
LB: As a publicist, I have the opportunity to work with some amazing clients, learning their stories and giving them an opportunity to tell it to a broad audience.