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Broadcast Resources

TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Monday, August 11, 2014

Five Critically Important Questions to Ask When Hiring Media Relations Services

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We have recently received some great questions from clients and potential clients, so we wanted to take a minute to share them with everyone. They are critically important to understand when pursuing work with a media relations firm. Here are the top five:

1. What do you mean by saying you secure only earned media placements? What about companies that say they can “guarantee” a certain number of hits?  This is crucial to understand to ensure the best coverage for your message, and where we differ from many in the industry. We only secure earned media placements.  We never guarantee usage.  Simply put, guaranteed placements are ad buys.  Any company that says they “guarantee placements” is really saying that they purchase airtime from stations and networks. Earned media placements are true media relations hits.  Guaranteed placements are advertisements where money is exchanged for ad play. Earned media placements run in a station’s news and public affairs programming; guaranteed placements run in an undetermined grey area between news programming and advertising segments, confusing the listener. Earned placements have credibility and value. They are true news and public affairs programming.

2. Are there any extra costs that will be added on from what is listed in our confirmation letter?  No. There are no “nickel and dime” costs when you work with us. The agreed upon budget will stay the price. There are no hidden costs for us to write your pitch, no hidden costs for us to send you a final usage report, no hidden costs for us to send you the audio of your interviews after a radio media tour. We believe in an “all-inclusive” model. No fine print. No gimmicks.

3. For an audio news release, when you say you’re going to pitch 100 contacts, what does that mean? Pitching 100 contacts refers to the number of stations/networks that we call and pitch your story to the morning your audio news release is distributed. When we are pitching we’re also reaching out to networks, so that means the affiliates of all accepting networks will have access to your news. The element of personally pitching your stories enables stations to hear about your news directly from us on the phone, that way if they are interested in receiving it, they will be expecting it and looking out for it to arrive in their inbox.  We believe in true media relations, and would never send out a mass release to nameless people in newsrooms across the country. We figure out who the best person is to get in touch with that particular morning to make sure your news gets in the right hands.

4. Do you provide me with usage information after my release has been distributed?  Absolutely. You need to know where the story you worked so hard on was aired.  We personally call and follow up with every station that either you did an interview with, or that accepted your audio news release or public service announcement to see how many times, when, and in what context they used your story. We also provide you feedback on why your story did not air, to provide better intelligence on how to improve content moving forward.  We provide you with incredibly detailed usage information during our follow up process.  We update you three business days after your project is pitched for an ANR, and then provide you with a final usage report three business days later. We provide a final report on radio media tours five business days after the tour.  We also utilize multiple media monitoring platforms to assist us in providing you with detailed usage and airchecks. We know you need to know when your news was used by reporters. When you work with us, you don’t wait around for weeks and weeks waiting to hear something about when your story aired.

5. Where do your audience measurement numbers come from, and what is the difference between AQH figures vs. CUME figures?  Every year when it’s updated, we purchase our audience measurement data from Nielsen Audio, the leading audience measurement company in the U.S. With our data, you never have to worry about it being out of date or irrelevant. We make this investment so we can confidently provide you with accurate listenership data. On your schedules, placement reports and usage reports from us you will see AQH figures. We strongly believe this gives you a much more accurate depiction of listeners of your news than CUME figures. AQH, which stands for average quarter hour, determines the number of people listening to a certain radio station for at least 5 minutes during a particular 15-minute period. CUME figures are less accurate because it counts the listeners scanning their dial, and switching back and forth from station to station to station. AQH figures tend to be more conservative than CUME figures, but our intention is to provide you with what is the most accurate assessment of your listeners, not an inflated CUME figure.

Stay tuned…

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