I was glad to be a part of the recent Hispanicize panel called “Cafecito with the Producers of Top Hispanic Morning Shows and News Magazine Shows”. The panel gathered news directors and show producers from top networks and media companies including:  Leticia Herrera, Executive Producer of “Enfoque con Jose Diaz Balart”, Richard Borjas, Vice President of Production for Telemundo Network, Hector Manuel Castro, CNN en Español producer for the Camilo Egaña show and yours truly. The panel was moderated by Yvonne Lorie, National Board President of HPRA and PR Veteran.

The session provided insights and true applicable pitching strategies that help public relations professionals working in the Hispanic market deliver brand coverage for their clients. Here is some of the advice that I shared with the crowd.

Know the medium you are pitching

We are on TV, TV is visual. It seems obvious but you’d be surprised to see the among of pitches we get without even a photo or a link to check out the product. A video would be ideal showing how the product looks, performs and is used. Even better, a video of how a normal person would exactly use this product.

No speeds and feeds

Don’t get me wrong, specs and features are important but they are not the whole picture. I don’t care if something used 110 or 220 Volts or some other technical spec that might be irrelevant to the end user. I know what you are thinking, they are needed and the answer is, yes they are, but try to leave them towards the bottom.

Don’t be the blocker

When it comes to reviewing and showing products on TV, the process can be messy, we have to test them, unpack them, take them to the studio, set them up and there is always the chance that the product might break. That’s why we won’t sign your product agreement that makes us liable if something happens to the product. Think about it, we are showing your product on national TV and the PR value alone is in the thousands of dollars, if you can’t handle losing a product, don’t pitch it.

No press releases on the first date

Remember that press release that’s 6 pages long and that you and your client spent a couple of weeks working on and that was finally approved by legal? That’s pretty much useless for us in the first pitch phase. It doesn’t mean we are not going to use it, it just means that’s not the most useful first contact with us. It might become useful later but at the beginning it can be a little overwhelming.

Timing

The timing of your pitch is important, the producers in the panel all shared stories of brilliant pitches that came in at a bad time and that they didn’t pay it the attention that they could have because they were in the middle of the hustle and bustle. If a morning producer is on shift, it’s probably smarter to pitch them when the show is over.

Junkets are not for everyone

One of the topics that I mentioned that was a little contentious is that we generally don’t go to junkets. We run a business and it takes a great deal of effort to spend 3 days away from the office being told what to do at every turn. It’s just not productive for us.

At the end, the panel was fun, it was great to spend some time with industry colleagues and I hope that it will have some impact on the professionals in the room. I sure had a great time.