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5 ingredients for a winning segment pitch

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By Grace Joyal

Social media is the new free marketing tool, but there's something to be said for the influence, traditional media - like magazines, radio and TV - still have with potential customers. In the sea of products and services playing for air time and word count, how do you make your pitch stand out? Working in local news has given us the inside scoop when it comes to pitching a business-based segment - here are five ingredients for spinning an irresistible pitch.

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1. Know the station you're pitching to

Better yet, be on a first-name basis with someone INSIDE the newsroom. It will be VERY hard for them to ignore an email from someone who's personally appealing to them. For a first time pitch, do a little research on the different TV stations in a market. Figure out what day and respect shows will work best for the segment idea. Morning shows are your best bet, but not all morning shows do "fun" segments. Midday shows also tend to feature local businesses more so than your more typically hard-hitting night shows. You'll need to go to the station's website to see what kinds of segments they're doing. A pro tip? Check out the anchors' social media pages to see what they're pushing out during the show.

2. Make your pitch timely

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Can you guess when this segment aired?

Give your segment context. Local TV news is all about timeliness. What holidays are near? Is there a current event playing out that's connected to your area of expertise? Tie your pitch to something happening RIGHT NOW (or in the near future), and you'll make a producer or anchor smile (and book a spot).

3. Make yourself an expert

Give your segment context. Local TV news is all about timeliness. What holidays are near? Is there a current event playing out that's connected to your area of expertise? Tie your pitch to something happening RIGHT NOW (or in the near future), and you'll make a producer or anchor smile (and book a spot).

4. Think in visuals

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BONUS if you have an animal to bring and DOUBLE POINTS for a baby goat...

It's teleVISION. Think in terms of props, graphics and displays. If you can make your segment hands-on, all the better. If you can actually SHOW the anchor (and the viewers at home) how to do something, your segment becomes "news you can use" and that's invaluable.

5. Draw attention to your personal story

As a small business owner, you've faced adversity, success and probably, some pretty crazy twists and turns. Incorporate the most interesting aspects of your journey into your pitch. The human element is what will ultimately compel the newsroom to return your email, because it's the challenges and ties to the community that REALLY connect with viewers.

What sorts of techniques have YOU found effective in getting your segments on the air? Comment below!