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The Power of Imagery in Securing Broadcast Media Coverage

October 15, 2015

By Kimberly Davidow, Senior Media Relations Specialist

The word “imagery” holds an intrinsic power in the English language. According to Merriam-Webster, imagery is the “language that causes people to imagine pictures in their mind.” Imagery can transcend the imagination of audiences on a massive scale, through visual pictures or videos to the usage of descriptive language found in novels and biographies and even works of art. Imagery sets the tone of human emotion, too.

In healthcare PR, imagery holds great significance to the overall success of pitching client content to the media. If your words fall flat in your pitch, so will reporters’ interest. So, how do you create gritty newsworthy content from materials that are sometimes bland or complicated in nature? Visualize the story that you would want to read. Let me explain…

As a former broadcast journalist, I’ve received hundreds of pitches from PR agencies over the years. The emails flooding my inbox were essentially novels of content filled with meaningless footnotes and disclaimers. Unfortunately for those senders, the content provided in most pitches missed the mark – by a long shot. I wasn’t convinced that what those agencies shared was anything truly appealing or different than the content that’s been covered countless times by other media outlets. As a journalist, it was my responsibility to report newsworthy information that would impact my audiences in some capacity – either on a personal or professional level.

The moral of this story is that those pitches lacked imagery. Their content didn’t express why the information they were providing was not only important, but would resonate with audiences. To provide informative materials is journalists’ main goal. From my experience as a journalist to my role now in the PR world, I’ve found that the ideal equation of creating a successful pitch is as follows: Imagery + Authenticity = Powerful Storytelling.

When approaching broadcast media, here’s the rule of thumb: journalists won’t take time out of their hectic deadline-driven schedules to review pitches unless they can visualize the potential story. The media is constantly searching for visually exciting materials to bring to the forefront. For example, imagery I enjoyed receiving as a broadcast journalist included:

  • B-roll video that aligns with your pitch
  • Spokesperson interview opportunities
  • Photographs and infographics

For my fellow PR professionals, as you develop your next pitch, say to yourself “How can I take this content a step further? Can I tell a powerful story with the materials that I have before me?”

Here are my top four tips for approaching and securing interest from broadcast media:

  1. Keep your message simple and your facts short, sweet and to-the-point
  2. Offer interview opportunities
  3. Provide exclusivity to unique embargo materials
  4. Build positive relationships. Even if journalists pass on your content, acknowledge their rejection in a kindly fashion. They’ll remember and appreciate your professional response, especially if you intend on pitching other content to them in the future.

Lastly, here is a look into my former role as a broadcast journalist with WFMZ-TV: