Local TV station reporters and teams like to receive free samples and know what’s going on in their community. So reach out and take them samples!
You could create fans at the station… these are the people that you want to cover your upcoming opening or other marketing activities, creating word-of-mouth buzz about your product or service.
Whether you’re a restaurant, retail store or spa, this is a great way to build local awareness of your location and your offerings, and build relationships with the local media.
The goal of the TV station sampling is to get the product in the hands of the TV team so they will be aware of you and cover your upcoming event or promotion. They may even invite you to be part of stories or segments they are doing, for example: a round up on the newest restaurant trends, what’s hot in retail now, what are people doing for Valentine’s Day, etc…
Identify the Stations
You probably know the key TV stations in your local market that you can target…the stations you watch, and most importantly, the stations your customers and potential customers watch.
If not, use this site to find the full list of stations nearest you and links to the station websites.
Getting Into the TV Station
Once you’ve identified the top TV stations you want to target, there are a couple of ways to approach it.
- Guerrilla Sampling: Just drop by! This can work in smaller markets.
- Write with a Pitch: Contact them to see about coming in.
Guerrilla Sampling is simply stopping by the local TV station with your product samples. Just make sure the samples are hot and fresh!
The best times could be before 8am in the morning (to reach the morning crew), around 11am (to reach the mid-day crew), around 4pm (to reach the evening crew), around 10pm (to reach the night crew). Drive to the station, call the News Desk line (you can find this on the tv station’s website under “Contact Us”), and let the team know you are outside with free products. Most stations have someone that will run out to get your product (or they may even invite you in). If you don’t get accepted, just try the next station.
With the product samples you are taking, make sure to also include …
- information on your product
- menu or list of services
- new promotion or event postcard
- gift cards/certificates with notes, addressed to the reporters and producers you want to contact (see the “About Us” and “Contact Us” sections of their website)
Write with a Pitch: If you’re not comfortable just stopping by, send an introductory email to the News Desk around the time you’d like to come by.
Here’s a sample email introduction…
I’m a big fan of the FOX Local Morning Show. My restaurant, Joe’s Grill, is minutes away from your station. I just launched a new line of grilled sandwiches and I would love to bring some in for the Morning Crew to sample.
Please let me know a good date and time for me to bring them over. I’ll bring enough for everyone working to enjoy!
Look forward to hearing from you. Thank you,
New Market Opening
Right around Christmas time, we were opening a smaller new market for Starbucks in North Carolina. Early in December, we (marketing and the district manager) visited the afternoon radio shows and tv stations with Christmas goodies, mugs, tumblers and bags of coffee. In a small market, it was easy to get into the two local tv stations news rooms and meet everyone. They were excited Starbucks was finally coming to town and welcomed us and the free products. It was great to introduce ourselves and put a face with the brand that they knew so well. Later that month, they were happy to cover and promote our Grand Opening event.