How do you break through the noise and get your story noticed? It’s not an easy question to answer, especially in a world where reporters, editors and producers are busier than ever. As part of this monthly feature, PRSA taps directly into the expertise of the pros to better identify what they’re looking for when it comes to story pitches. In today’s edition, we catch up with Matt Petrillo, a reporter for CBS3.
One of the staples of CBS3 Eyewitness News broadcasts is Matt Petrillo, who joined the station as a general assignment reporter in March 2018. It was a bit of a homecoming for Petrillo, as he is both a Montgomery County native and also an alumnus of Temple University.
Since joining the Eyewitness News team, Petrillo has regularly covered some of the hardest-hitting stories in the city, including the surge in gun violence that has gripped Philadelphia over the last several years. He is, however, always open to cover lighter stories and welcomes outreach from PR professionals.
“I love getting pitches and meeting new folks in PR! Taking a good pitch and making it land for tv news can be easy if you know what we're looking for on 'the other side,'” Petrillo says.
When pitching Petrillo and his colleagues, he said the key is to think visually.
“In TV, we 'write to the video,' so if you're sending stats or talking about a new trend, it helps to explain how we can show the story visually in a compelling way,” he says. “Also, think like the reporter whenever possible. If there is a great tie to the Philly region, point it out at the top of the email.”
When pitching any reporter, it is common to not immediately hear back. Sometimes, that means they are not interested in your story, but it also could mean that they just inadvertently missed your email.
That’s where a friendly nudge can go a long way, Petrillo says.
“Follow up! Reporters get a lot of emails. Sometimes, messages are missed. So sending a friendly reminder is a good way to make sure the pitch is on their radar,” he says.