Getting featured on the BBC is kind of a big deal (especially if they link to your website!). As a leading B2B PR agency, we know how intimidating/challenging it can be to you take your story to an organisation that employs over 20,000 people and reaches a weekly audience of almost half a billion. Where do you even start?
We’ve worked with the BBC on plenty of stories. We haven’t always been successful (if you’re always successful then you’re not pitching enough!), but we’ve learned a lot along the way. And those pitches that have resulted in online articles or on-air interviews have been truly impactful for our clients. We thought we’d share some of our learnings…
You can find a whole bunch of facts about the BBC on the corporation’s Wikipedia page – here are a few choice ones:
- Employs over 20,000 staff
- Is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation
- Is the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees
- Has a weekly global audience of 426,000,000 of which 95,000,000 is using its online news services
- Operates eight television channels in English
- Is funded by television licence fees paid by British households
Pitching the BBC
The great thing about the BBC is that it is so big, there is a programme for everything…The bad thing about the BBC is that it is so big, there is a programme for everything.
The BBC does have a home for just about every company and every story. But finding a home for that story or client can be tricky.
We like to think about the different ways a story could be approached, the angle, and what fits with a BBC show. There are always options for pitching a story that will appeal to one or more radio or TV producers at the BBC.
It’s worth noting….
In our experience, BBC shows compete for the best stories and rarely speak to one another. If one avenue has closed, there will be others. Just look into other radio or TV stations and think of different angles that might work. If the local BBC radio show doesn’t bite, a business focussed programme might. The key is not to just lob your pitch at a team of 20,000 and hope it’ll land on the right desk (but also keep it targeted and carefully thought out – don’t pitch every story at every journalist – scattergun approaches never work!).
Head to Twitter
The BBC and many BBC journalists are very active on Twitter. Consider following the BBC and some of their journalists. In fact, the Corporation makes it easy for you – the main BBC Twitter account holds a bunch of lists of journalists to help you find the right person. You can also use this information to gauge which producers might be interested in specific topics and to get additional contact information.
Some suggested outlets…
The huge BBC media empire offers many potential targets for pitches for web, television and radio news. Here are the ones we’ve targeted on behalf of our technology clients.
BBC World Service:
BBCWS has a number of shows dedicated to technology and business such as Business Daily and the Tech Tent. Contact the BBC business team to pitch story ideas.
BBC Radio 4:
Tends to be keen on business, technology and human interest stories. The Today Programme is an excellent slot for any news-driven comment (check out our dedicated blog on it here), often from the world of business. Get in touch with their researchers or with the planning team. Bear in mind the business team also works on specific features for the show, so it’s good to contact as well.
BBC 5 Live:
BBC 5 Live is a radio news channel. The station works at a fast pace, so any reactive comment on the day’s news could go down well. If possible, share statistics and facts. It’s based at the Salford HQ. It also has podcasts like The Daily Interview, Let’s Talk about Tech and Wake Up to Money where interview subjects or story ideas might be welcome.
BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat:
This programme services the under-25 crowd by covering entertainment, pop culture, politics, fashion and entertainment. Keep the target demographic in mind when selecting an angle.
The BBC maintains a network of informational websites covering news, sport and weather as well as the BBC’s on-demand services. Pitch them as you would any online publication. Think about good images that will add visual interest to the text.
BBC Breakfast is a news and current affairs programme broadcast daily out of Salford. It’s looking for human interest stories. Pitch the show planner with potential contributors.
This consumer technology TV show is broadcast online and on BBC News every weekend and repeated throughout the week. Sometimes it covers interesting tech that is in development or not for the individual consumer. If you’ve watched the show, you’ll know that presenters like to travel about and experience technology first hand. They are particularly interested in anything that looks good on camera.
BBC local radio and regional TV:
The local radio stations and regional TV studios are often hungry for local interest stories. Radio figures don’t tend to be high, but can be a good option if the pitch has the right angle. TV is harder to get but relevant spokespeople who can comment on local stories or events can work well. BBC local radio operates 40 stations serving England and the Channel Islands. BBC One and Two between them operate at least 22 regional TV channels. Don’t forget about BBC Scotland, BBC Northern Ireland and BBC Cymru Wales.
Good luck, and please tweet us @TopLineComms to let us know how you get on with your pitching!