Who doesn’t want to land television coverage?

Whether national or local, TV is always looking for “real people” to illustrate the stories and trends in their reports. But before you pitch you have to be able to answer the questions: Why should the media care? And why should the media care now? Once you get those down you’re ready to reach out to them.

Here are 5 tips to remember when pitching television outlets:

Know their needs —TV is constantly looking for good visuals and a story that can be told succinctly in sound bites. They’re also looking for people who are articulate and comfortable on camera for its short, fast-paced segments. Is that you?

Local outlets — Morning and noon news shows of local TV stations are always looking for interesting people, businesses and topics that relate to people’s interest in the universal topics, health, wealth and love with a local tie-in.

National outlets — If you want national media coverage, the first and most important rule is to watch the news to keep abreast of breaking news, and to constantly ask what you can add to the news from your viewpoint or area of expertise.

Read magazines and newspapers — Before you pitch television producers you need to get a pulse on what’s important to them and what they’re interested in. The media serves an audience and you have to serve the media by giving them what their audience wants. So pick up the newspapers and magazines your ideal client reads to get a grasp on what interests them, and then pitch the television outlets your ideal client watches.

Timing is Everything — Broadcast producers prefer a day’s notice on breaking news, but are set up to respond within minutes or hours to true breaking news. Be sure to give them four weeks on seasonal or non-breaking news.