By Dana Sotoodeh

Team Snackbox is at it again—touring local media outlets and soaking up as much information as we possibly can about the anchors and reporters we work with. We recently had the pleasure of touring KVUE-TV Austin with nighttime weekly news anchor, Tyler Sieswerda.

Tyler is an award-winning news anchor and holds a wealth of information when it comes to pitching and dealing with local T.V. and media (he lives it every day!). From giving us a tour of the newsroom, to taking us behind the scenes at the news desk and editing rooms, Team Snackbox had the chance to see the day in the life of a newsroom—and yes, it looks similar to the movies.

Here’s 5 things you probably didn’t know about the T.V. world that will change the way you approach reporters– and formulate your pitch.

1.)  Reporters are Swamped– You hear this over and over and see the responses from reporters in your emails saying that they are “busy.” This is no joke. Tyler took the time to show us his extremely over-populated inbox—and let’s just say it was in the 4 digits for one day’s worth of work. When a reporter’s email is full of pitches from everyone in the city and beyond, it’s almost impossible for them to answer every single person. This brings us to the next point.

2.)  Personal relationships are CRUCIAL- We learned from our Austin American-Statesman tour that personal relationships are key to succeeding in your career, but Tyler confirmed it during our tour. Building relationships with reporters is key to getting your amazing pitch, opened, read, and considered when it comes down to it. The chances of a reporter opening your email because they know you and your work ethic are much greater if you have taken the time to reach out to them. Need help doing so? Request a tour of the station or give brief shout outs on twitter letting them know you are familiar with their work. These are small things that go a long way.

3.)  There is ONE person at the news desk- That’s right. One person is working a news desk that is constantly receiving emails, phone calls, letters, and more. Put yourself in this persons shoes. You don’t have time to read every single e-mail and answer every single phone call. This is when it is crucial to be up-front with what you want or what you are pitching. Making pitches or phone calls short, sweet, and to the point is the only way to approach the person manning the news desk.

4.)   THINK like a reporter– You’re a PR pro, not a news anchor. But when it comes time to pitching them and formulating a pitch that they can run with,  it’s important to pretend that you are. Think about what makes a good story and what angle you can work your pitch so that it works for your reporter. By simply thinking like them and crafting your pitch towards them, you are already one step ahead of the game.

5.)  Watch the news- Tyler told us that it’s refreshing to know that PR pros do pay attention to the news, and it makes a lot of sense. The title PR pro means that you should be paying attention to all your outlets, all the time. Watching the news and staying up to date with current events only makes you and what you do that much better. On top of that, familiarizing yourself with reporters and what kinds of beats they cover makes you smarter when it comes time to creating media lists geared towards the right people. It is your job as a PR pro to always be reading, watching, and paying attention to everything going on in your market. Make it a habit to tune in to the news at least once a day.

These simple but important tips not only will help you grow and build relationships with reporters, but will also help you be on your way to landing placement after placement.

You can watch our dear friend Tyler Sieswerda, on KVUE- TV Austin, weeknights at 5:00, 6:00, and 10:00.

Happy pitching!