Broadcast coverage is undoubtedly the best way for your company to reach millions of viewers and listeners and gain widespread exposure. So, when these occasions present themselves, it’s vital to get things right.
We’ve recently been working with BBC1 on a new series of ‘Bang Goes the Theory’ and last summer one of our clients met with Roger Harrabin, the BBC’s Environment Analyst reporting for Radio 4’s ‘PM’ show.
As with all media interviews, preparation is key. Body language, posture, tone and dress are also important things to consider and are covered by professional media training courses. Here, we’ve put together five important tips on how to improve your chances of securing broadcast coverage and ensuring things run smoothly on the day.
1. Maintain the momentum
We’ve already written about how maintaining the momentum of your PR and marketing campaign will deliver a better return on marketing investment. A sustained campaign will also help optimise your SEO, allowing greater Internet visibility. This shouldn’t be underestimated. Media researchers are frantically trawling the web for background information on companies that fit their director’s brief and contact details for industry spokespeople.
Publishing regular news releases, articles, case studies, blogs and social media significantly increases the chances of a researcher spotting you. That regular flow of news that you think isn’t always generating widespread coverage, is, in fact registering with broadcast media so that when the time comes, they’ll know who to call.
2. Be realistic
For the average company, broadcast opportunities can be few and far between and are notoriously difficult to secure. It simply isn’t a case of picking up the phone and insisting that Kirsty Wark really should reconsider featuring your groundbreaking news on tomorrow evening’s Newsnight.
In the real world, it takes time, patience and many days, weeks and even months of planning, along with careful and considered communication to attract the attention of major broadcast outlets. But let’s not forget one small but vital component in all of this; if you really don’t have a strong news story that is relevant, timely and topical – then forget it. As professional PR consultants, we are well placed to advise you on what is, and what isn’t broadcast news.
3. Scrub your schedule
So we’ve helped you to secure a broadcast opportunity. It might be a live radio interview or a pre-recorded TV show. Regardless of the opportunity, you need to remain flexible. It’s advisable to reschedule any existing appointments you may have for that day. Moments like these are few and far between so be prepared to drop everything and give it your absolute full attention. Brief radio interviews shouldn’t cause too much inconvenience. However, you could be in for a long day if you’re required for pre-recorded TV filming. Things are likely to move very quickly so don’t be too surprised when a ‘SWOT’ team of researchers, film crew and, if you’re lucky, a celebrity presenter descend on you and take over your premises.
4. A date with the director
Freelance film crew, researchers and presenters are often paid on a daily rate so broadcast budgets are carefully managed. You can guarantee that, with the help of a research team, TV directors will already have a clear idea of what shots are required and which locations they think will work best. Directors may also have pre-prepared scripts for presenters to read through (often for the first time) before they go on air. Suggest a sit down meeting with the director and talk through their ideas. Have some interesting facts and figures to hand and suggest including them. You know your business better than a TV or radio production team with limited research resources so don’t be afraid to suggest alternative recording locations that may be more suitable for broadcast events. This precious time also gives you the chance to anticipate what questions you’re likely to be asked.
5. Having three is key
You will only have a few minutes to get your message across so it’s worth spending some time working this out. Ask yourself what do you want the audience to take away from this interview or programme? When the microphone is on or the cameras are rolling, nerves can set in so make things easy and keep it simple. Stick to no more than three key messages that are easy to remember. Then, practice delivering them in a jargon-free, calm and self-assured manner.