Time for TV?

The increase of 24 hour rolling news channels as well as the appetite for rich media on websites means that many organisations now have to seriously look at broadcast media as part of their communications plan.

It’s a very different medium to get to grips with and of course it can have a serious impact if it’s not done right. Pictures tell a thousand words and so you need to make sure your footage is putting forward the right image to start with, but it’s also very easy for a gaffe to go viral these days, whether it started on the web or not. These issues mean it’s important to put in place a strict regime for those who use broadcast as part of a marketing strategy.

Broadcast news is often seen as ‘the thing to do now’ – so you have to get involved right? Wrong; this isn’t the right motivation to engage with a platform that could broadcast you to millions of viewers in an instant. The truth is that for many organisations, TV and radio won’t fit with your goals and aims, it may not be niche enough to reach your specific audience and you may prefer to stay a little further below the radar. But for many organisations broadcast is becoming an increasingly attractive option for reaching stakeholders, not least because business news is hitting the headlines, and as such a more generalist audience, nowadays.

So where should you start with this medium? Getting the right preparation under your belt, and hopefully formal broadcast media training, is essential. TV and radio shows can be daunting and when you’re in the spotlight; you want to look relaxed and in control – the rabbit in the headlights look is not good on live TV. You also need to make sure your messages are clear and succinct – you’re unlikely to have the time to go into lengthy explanations in a three minutes interview, and it’s not unusual for your time to get cut short if other news comes in – you must make sure you communicate a few pithy ideas which get remembered. Furthermore, you need to be able to bridge to your own agenda if the journalist tries to drag you away; having well defined messages in your mind will make it easier for you to find these ‘rocks’ when you need to get back on track.

Also, while still important for print media interviews, body language and how you use your voice are vital for broadcast; you have to make sure you are animated (TV is a ‘flattening’ medium) and confident, that you speak clearly and slow enough for the audience to follow you, making sure you use pauses, intonation and pitch to accentuate your message.

There’s no quick way to get really good broadcast coverage and with this much to remember it may sound tricky, but the appropriate preparation, lots of practice and the right media training will do wonders for your performance when the time comes.

Written by Will Edwards – www.bluewoodtraining.co.uk – January 2013

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