More and more news channels now have to find 24 hours of stories to fill their airwaves – this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s any easier to get ‘non-stories’ covered but it does mean there are more opportunities to get good quality stories onto these channels. It also doesn’t only mean looking at Sky News and the BBC though, as there are chances to get your coverage on; websites, Radio, local TV as well as specific digital TV channels. For example; London Live, billed as ‘the first 24 hour TV channel dedicated to the capital’ has only been running for a matter of weeks and it will be interesting to see how their ratings and viewers build in the coming months.
So what do you need to think about before you begin to build your coverage in the broadcast media?
- Think about your ultimate audience; what platform will reach them? There’s no point launching a huge radio campaign, on a mid-morning programme, if you’re trying to reach business people who are normally sat in offices and meetings during that time of day. Also, don’t underestimate web-videos, if you can host and distribute this yourself, it may be a great way of reaching your targets.
- Like dealing with the print media, it’s vital to direct your campaigns and stories to the right people; the news producer at CNBC won’t thank you for sending them a story that’s more appropriate for the Sky News showbiz slot.
- Building relationships with key news outfits will be hugely useful for getting future coverage, and the hunger for good stories ought to mean you can at least get a foot in the door with the right, focussed, pitch.
- Providing footage and b-roll to news organisations can be an excellent way of getting the coverage you want into the media but it’s not always appropriate, or it may be too expensive to produce these mini-films yourself. The route many organisations still go down is to pitch their story and ensure they have something for the channel to come and film themselves (e.g. a product launch or successful initiative) or even more common is to make it clear you have a spokesperson ready and willing to be interviewed on the subject.
- If you put forward footage to a news channel, it needs to be excellent quality as anything less than broadcast or HD standard is likely to be deemed not good enough. This same benchmark ought to be used for those you put forward for interviews – being an expert on the topic is only half the battle, the spokesperson also needs to be able to communicate clearly and be able to handle whatever the studio or journalist throws at them. Being media trained before embarking on broadcast shows is vital, as things can go very wrong, very quickly if an executive is not prepared.
- Remember the value an exclusive can have for a news outfit – they want to offer their viewers stories that they can’t get elsewhere, or at least be the ones to broadcast it first. If the right news organisation asks you for an exclusive – it may be worth considering.
- The best media performers will be invited back again and again, David Buik is one such regular commentator on various news channels, his ability to explain, often reasonably complicated, financial or economic issues means that news producers know he is a very useful guest for business stories.
- Finally, remember to make sure your story is backed-up with real examples and even statistics that will prove your points and also resonate with the audience. Without this there’s a danger that people will just dismiss what you say as company marketing ‘blurb’.
Facing the broadcast media might be a little daunting but it’s now a genuinely attainable form of PR and coverage for even smaller organisations. If you can handle this medium properly, and carry out the right planning and preparation, it can get your story out to a huge audience and help ensure that you get remembered.
Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – April 2014