Knowing how to pitch a video is, on some level, knowing how modern media is consumed.
By 2020, nearly a million minutes of video will cross the internet every second. But despite the staggering popularity of the form, it can still be highly difficult to get your filmed and animated content accepted for online publication.
We can confirm this from experience and independent research. Having asked the top 30 media outlets in the UK if they accept this content, we found that:
Video is seen as an advertising medium
This is somewhat bizarre in the age of YouTube, but editors like to bring up the topic of advertising the moment you suggest providing video content for them. Now, video can be effective advertising, but the two aren’t intrinsically linked.
It’s like if you knocked on someone’s door and said “I’m selling these fine cosmetics” and the person who owned the house said “That’s great! Please wash my legs”. You can theoretically do it, but it has no relation to what you were actually offering.
Media outlets often prefer in-house video
Many companies simply aren’t interested because they produce their own content, with their own crew, their own cast, their own ideas, and their own aesthetic styles.
There are few or no guidelines
The medium may be more popular than ever, but many companies don’t have a definitive editorial policy. It’s hard to know how to pitch video content if you don’t know what they’re after and what they’re not interested in.
It’s all going to change sooner or later
The editors we spoke with – even the ones who hadn’t developed a definitive policy – acknowledged the importance of the medium, and indicated a willingness to accept video content in future
Of course, there’s more to knowing how to pitch a video than the above – and if you’re looking to get your content approved in the meantime, you should follow these guidelines.
How to pitch a video (and get it accepted)
1. Pitch it properly
Give your video the full written-pitch treatment. That means following general best practice: no ‘Hi! How are you? How’s the wife?’-style banalities, no filler, no life history of you/your company: get directly to the point, and make it clear why your video might be interesting to the target audience. Also make it clear that it’s exclusive to the publication – even if only for a specific timeframe. Every media outlet wants exclusive content so consider that before posting it elsewhere e.g. your blog.
You can spice it up by sending an example script that broadly outlines what you might offer them, and it always helps if you can let them know what the B-roll of the video might contain. Otherwise, stick to tried and true pitching methods: you shouldn’t be giving journalists any reason to treat it differently than other submitted content (read our guide to contacting journalists).
2. Use written content to support your video
In other words: be stealthy. Pitch an interesting, engaging written piece and indicate that you might provide video content to support it. This way you get eyes on your video, and a nice, fat, juicy followed link for SEO purposes.
Just make sure they’re actually related – the video should bring themes and ideas articulated in the written piece to life, and the written piece should inform your approach to the video.
3. Create a video that’s worth a damn
This tip is more or less exactly what it sounds like. If you’re going to have your CEO talking into your camera, then you’re not going to engage your target audience: it’s basically a video will, but more boring because nobody died and nobody’s getting any money or land.
So if you’re going to make a video, get creative – and do your creative vision justice. Work closely with your video company to make sure the scripting, editing, casting, and sound production are all on point. If a media outlet trusts you enough to accept your video content, don’t take that trust for granted: create something that appeals to their specific editorial requirements and their specific target audience.
And if that sounds a bit daunting, you can outsource your work to the professionals. We know how to pitch a video and get it published online – get in touch with our director to discuss your needs.