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Broadcast Resources

TUNING IN

A blog dedicated to the world of broadcast and public relations

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What Do You Struggle With When Working With an Outside Media Relations Firm?

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Are you tired of waiting weeks and weeks to receive a final report on the details of your RMT? What about surprise costs and fees you weren’t anticipating? You shouldn’t have to deal with this when you enter into a partnership with a media relations team. In the last several months, we have received feedback from our clients that have been with us for a while and clients that are new to us.  We thought it would be useful to compile a list of questions and issues that are top of mind to our clients:

How do I explain listenership numbers to my boss or client?

AQH and CUME are very different ways of measuring listenership. We use AQH; even though it is more conservative, we feel it is more accurate. Here is why: AQH, or Average Quarter Hour, tracks true listeners and is measured by industry leader Nielsen. Listeners have to be tuned into a station for at least five minutes during a 15-minute time period to be counted. For CUME measurements, which tend to be roughly six to ten times that of AQH, listeners are tracked that touch upon a station during the course of a day-part.  It does not matter how briefly the station is listened to, even if it is a fraction of a second.  So, a listener can scan on a station several times, not really listening to any of the content and be counted in CUME calculations for as many times as they scanned over a station. We want to make sure qualified listeners are actually hearing our clients’ content. So even though AQH is a bit more conservative, we strongly believe it is a more accurate and complete reflection of listenership.

How do I justify a guaranteed placement to my boss or client?

We recently had a meeting with a potential client and were asked if we can “guarantee placements.” The prospect said he heard from a few other companies in our space that they had great relationships with top networks and stations, and they guarantee to run their content.  Well, we know what that really means.  But, many others not so close to and passionate about issues like this might not.  Guaranteed placements means advertisement buy. Period. End of story.  Networks and stations don’t run stories just because of a “great” relationship. They run stories for two reasons: One:  Because it is great content and a benefit to their listeners; and Two: Because they are paid to do so.

The very fabric of what we are made of is because of the former.  And, the latter is the very thread that unravels our industry.  Let’s call a spade a spade.  If companies are out there buying time, why not just admit it?  Why not just say it is an advertisement purchase and not a “guaranteed placement?” When a client comes to us and asks “Can you guarantee a certain placement and usage rate with your services?” it starts a lot of discussions here internally.  Do others present the case that a ‘guaranteed placement’ is a public relations tactic that is different from earned media?  Are they so scared their content will not be accepted and used by newsrooms that they cower and go straight to this tactic?  We wanted to take this opportunity to really put the details out there and let our clients and prospects decide.

How do I budget without knowing exactly how many interviews will be secured?

Our budget is provided 100% upfront. There are no hidden costs or after charges.  We budget projects by giving you an estimated range of bookings or if you have a firm budget, we book in a cushion number of interviews to make sure we deliver the number of interviews you are looking to confirm for a tour.   We don’t ever charge after the fact for items such as recordings of interviews, airchecks we are able to find or reporting fees.  We are all inclusive in terms of our pricing.

Why does it take so long to get final reports elsewhere?

For all of your projects that have a defined distribution date, with the plan of most stations using the story within a few business days, such as radio media tours, audio bite lines and audio news releases, we aim to have the final usage report to you within five to seven business days. That includes us calling reporters to determine when and how your story was utilized in their news programming.  We have heard from our clients that have used other firms previously that this can take up to 20 business days to get a final report! Our internal research finds approximately 95 percent of reporters use outside content within two to three business days, our question is: why would it possibly take so long for a report to be completed?

Will you advise me on whether or not a story is likely to do well beforehand?

Our reputation with reporters is our number one asset. If we look at the short-term and take on a project we don’t think would provide great content for stations, networks and reporters, we are setting ourselves up to have them not use our content in the future. We are brutally honest with our clients about which projects we believe will work, and ones we think would not.  For example, if a story has a local angle, it tends to be more successful in terms of rate of usage than a project that is purely national in scope.  A project that is more about an issue and less about a product tends to have an increased usage rate as well.

We have completed more than 5,000 projects in our company’s history, so we have a pretty good idea of what content makes a project successful and use that historical knowledge to move forward on what will work in the future.  Each project we take on helps us create details on what will and will not work in the future.

Stay tuned…

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