Help me help you help me cover the Super Bowl
I’m heading to the Bay Area to cover the Super Bowl with one of the networks. Don’t know my schedule, assignment, or location. These sorts of media circuses are what we in the biz sometimes refer to as a Cluster Fornication. Coverage of major planned events is complicated by a ton of rules and roadblocks.
The stakes are very high for news outlets that will have people on site. Never have pressures been greater to produce a high volume of content for a wide variety of platforms. For local media in Charlotte and Denver it is a rare opportunity to gain long-term audience through distinctive coverage. Put it this way: Charlotte, NC has never had a World Champion of anything. You can either play that Queen song or you can’t.
I’m an old dog, and one of my tricks is to let PR people do as much of my work as is possible. Doesn’t mean I run your pitches verbatim; does mean I will ask you to do a lot of leg work to secure me unique stories and visuals.
Here then, are some ideas for how you can help me help you help me.
- #1 question: What’s my visual? I need captivating content.
•Know who’s traveling to SF for each local TV station. Assignment editors left at home don’t want to know about the free booze and debauchery they are missing out on. Contact people in the field directly when possible.
•A majority of the station will stay at home. Every reporter not going to the game will be looking for Super Bowl angles. Denver reporters will be made to do stories about Charlotte, and vice-verse.
o It’s the CAROLINA Panthers. Two states. Both with stories, both with interested media.
•KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: There are a lot of rights and clearances issues at major sporting events. Don’t get your client in trouble and don’t paint journalists into corners.
•If your pitch begins with “thought I’d give it a shot” this is not the time. Replace that line with “let me know if I can help in any way” then ditch the longshot. Reporters like to think of their own stories and maybe your client has an element you didn’t think of.
•Bring the story to the media. Nobody is going to drive across two bridges for a vo.
o Know where the media will be. Get the schedule of events and follow people on social.
•You’re going to see a ton of food stories. If it’s edible don’t reduce the impact by sending an email… i.e. Bring the media food whenever possible.
•Keep your eye on the headlines. They will illuminate popular themes. The cliché is true. TV people get story ideas from newspapers.
o i.e. Cam Newton vs. Peyton Manning is like young gunslinger vs. old sheriff = Wild West
o FYI for compelling copy: Charlotte also had a gold rush in 1849.
- Be Interesting