Here in the US, the Independence Day Holiday (July 4) falls on a Sunday this year. Many businesses are giving their workers an extra long holiday weekend from Friday July 2 through Monday July 5. That means a lot of local TV newscasts will need extra holiday-related stories throughout the four day span and that could spell opportunity for local publicity-seekers.
The stations will want to cover the usual holiday-related topics – weather, travel, parades, sports and recreational events, picnics, outdoor grilling, festivals, concerts and fireworks displays – plus they will likely be looking to feature people in the community spending the 4th of July weekend in ways beyond the usual food and fun or maybe celebrating a traditional holiday with a twist.
Still Time to Pitch – Local TV news generally works on a short lead time – that is, the time between receiving the pitch. acting on it and getting it on the air can be just days or even hours. Pitch a good visual story for the holiday weekend sometime this week – do it today or the night before, or even call on the day of your “happening” – and you could get coverage.
Pitch without Promise – Don’ expect a firm commitment. TV news operations won’t generally guarantee they’ll be anywhere. No one can predict the future and breaking news might consume all their resources on any given day. What they may say is “sounds like a story,” or in some way indicate they’ll add it to their day book list of story possibilities. That’s as good as it gets.
Tell ’em Again – A brief, low key “day of” reminder call might seal the deal. Leave a voicemail or say something like, “Hi, I just wanted to remind you we’re celebrating the 4th and my uncle’s 103rd birthday with a barbeque today at (time) and (place), in case you’re interested. Here’s my cell phone number XXX-XXXX. Hope to see you there.” Don’t badger them or demand a call-back. Say it and forget it. With luck, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Extended Play – Senior news staff will likely have the holiday off so a skeleton crew will be racing around to get all the content for all the shows. Your story might get extra play on several newscasts because the short staff needs to “fill the news hole” and can only physically cover so much.
Photo credit: stock.xchng/hortongrou