We are often asked what public relations service makes the most sense for a given project. While most every PR professional would love their organization’s stories covered by television stations and networks, when does it really make sense to allocate your communications dollars for a satellite media tour rather than a radio media tour? The key is to think like a television news producer and about what makes for good television viewing.
First, and foremost, think about the visuals. Objectively, what visual elements do you have that can help tell your story and make it both compelling and memorable? And because stations are so competitive with each other, often looking for exclusive material, your visuals should be something a television station can’t get on their own. Next, think about how can you then make sure there is a strong human element. It’s typically not enough to offer just a “talking head,” even a “camera-friendly” one, no matter how credible or brilliant your expert might be. To a news producer that is the equivalent to a remote control waiting to click away to another station. If you are covering the latest research on a rare disease, for example, offer the facts and figures AND provide a family that can illustrate the day-to-day struggle and impact of that disease in the real world. This helps engage the viewer as they can more easily relate to a personal story, sharing in the emotion.
Second, do you have a strong, single focus? Television news stories are typically quick-paced, running 30 to 90 seconds and told concisely.
Third, do you have a local angle? Local television stations often rely on national network feeds so ask yourself if you can deliver something uniquely local. If so, it may help you get on-air.
Fourth, think dollar signs. Satellite time costs money for stations, requiring your story to be strong enough to override that potential cost concern.
In summary, when it comes to satellite media tours, television reporters and producers think about three when they create their news stories: “sound, pictures and seconds.” They want to grab their viewers, hold their attention for 30 to 90 seconds, and then move them to the next story. If you can sell your pitch in those terms, a satellite media tour will likely be worth the effort.