Blog post by Regina Ruiz
Get your elevator pitch ready because you have 15 seconds to sell your story.
Why 15 Seconds? That’s about how much time television news directors typically take to decide if a story idea is newsworthy or not. If your idea gets the green light, the payoff is exceptional: millions of viewers are in front of their TV or computer screens, ready to watch.
TV news is big business. I have spent more than a decade reporting in newsrooms from coast to coast. We cannot forget that television news is a powerful business. That’s why only the best story ideas make the cut. Stations must deliver the most compelling news if they are going to build and sustain a loyal viewership. More viewers mean higher ratings and that translates into bigger advertising dollars, which keep these powerhouses at the top of their game.
Show, don’t tell to increase coverage 150%. A vosot – industry shorthand for 30 seconds of video with a voiceover and sound bite – is one way to tell the story, but a 30-second vosot can morph into a minute and 15 second news package if you give the reporter more to work with visually and with compelling interviews. That’s 150% more airtime.
People make the difference. The most riveting interviews are with people who experience events first-hand. Viewers care about the people who are affected by a cause, organization or event. It is also valuable to include a company spokesperson, who can be interviewed as an expert and bring added credibility to the story.
The eyes have it. Television’s greatest strength is the way it shows the story instead of solely telling it. People will often remember what they see but forget what they hear. A photo is worth a thousand words, but video’s reach is even more powerful.
Take viewers where the action is. Show viewers what is behind-the-scenes. Everyone loves a backstage pass, so give exclusive access to products, places and people they haven’t seen to get people talking about your story.
Whoever tells the best story wins. Show what makes your story worth watching – what sets your business or organization apart. If you tell your story well, people are likely to talk about it. Television news is powerful. It will reach a ton of viewers, but you have to ensure you grab viewers’ attention and keep it!