A few times a year, Boom audits over 100 television news rooms – through direct contact as well as monitoring of news programs to find out what types of content they want, don’t want, and basically what they may or may not use. Here is your EXCLUSIVE LOOK at some insights gained from our most recently completed effort.
WHERE DOES YOUR STORY FIT IN?
After a comprehensive review of news station broadcasts in several markets, we were able to determine how much time is devoted to different topics.
Typical 60-minute Newscast
As you can see – the bulk (63%) of an average 60-minute local news broadcast is geared towards the local viewer with coverage of the local news, sports, weather and traffic.
This does not leave much left of the pie for your segment to make air. Just over 20 percent of the news rundown – about 2-4 minutes of a 30-minute news rundown and 6-9 minutes of a 60 minute rundown – is dedicated to feature stories (health, business, entertainment, kicker).
The audit also revealed that celebrity stories (other than breaking news about the celebrities themselves) do not make the news that often. In fact, stations in smaller markets rarely, if ever, covered celebrity news.
BREAKING THROUGH THE CLUTTER:
Most of the news desks we contacted confirmed that they gain a portion of their news from outside sources (b-roll pitches, media alerts, news services, etc.) on a daily basis. But because their audiences demand that the program focus on local events/news /weather/sports – there is not much time left in the rundown for feature type stories. And, the competition is fierce – with many of the hundreds of pitches made to stations each day not making it beyond the assignment desk.
So, how do you compete to break through the clutter and get your story on the news? News desks across the country provided us with some solid insight into how a story is assessed internally and the questions that are being asked before a segment makes air.
- Is there a sponsor and is the story overtly commercial? If yes, does the news value/appeal outweigh the commercial aspect of the piece?
- Will the story appeal to the majority of my audience? Is it news they can use?
- Is there a way the story can be teased to gain viewers for my news program?
- Is there a local angle to the story?
- How much time do we have to devote to tell the story?
- Will our audience be better served (tune in) with an interview segment?
- Do we need outside visuals for the story – or will a reader do?
- If it is an event b-roll. Are visuals so quirky and amusing that the location of the event does not matter?
So what does this all mean? Simply, it shows us that the newsroom is like a business – and their business is getting local audiences to tune is so that their ratings and revenues increase. When developing a news or interview segment, it is imperative that we take into account that stations are also our customers and create segments that will appeal to their audiences. Contact us if you’d like more insights on general news trends or an exclusive look at our analysis of FDA APPROVAL stories.
Event Broll 101
You’re planning an amazing publicity event. You see the photo op. You can visualize the lead on every local newscast. But then…nothing. Why? What happened? With so many variables affecting whether your story makes air – well, it could be any number of things. But as a PR expert, you know that in order to GET the story on air, you have to start by providing the visual, right? But simply providing the visuals does not guarantee that your story or segment makes the cut. So, your objective must be to control as many variables as possible, while managing a budget – to ensure you are maximizing your chances of getting on air.
Before you plan your next event or event broll package, get us involved. We can help evaluate, set expectations, and manage those expectations as the event details take shape. In the meantime – get the low down from the comfort of your own office (great video to share with staffers too!): BOOM IN THE ROOM: YOUR EVENT BROLL PACKAGE
Ideas and Projects
Public Service Announcements: Stand Up To Cancer, Black Eyed Peas for Arts!, and coming soon: Light The Night Walk for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. These amazing organizations come to Boom for effective, efficient, and successful PSA campaigns on TV, Radio and online. Email PSA@boombroadcast.com to get details on how we do it.
Make it, share it…it’s easy to kick start your viral video – check out: Forget Perfect! Can a Bachelorette Save the Planet? These videos were jump started online with Boom’s “Online Content & Conversation” service. Extend the impact of your social media efforts by tapping our digital team to literally push, post and pitch your new content. You know how to get our team on it fast: email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your Boom Buzz WTTIF (We Think This Is Funny…)
Recently, we’ve seen, and are often asked, about “what guarantees” we have for placements. From broadcast TV news, to radio, to Online. The irony is, of course, that traditionally, PR’s ability to place “earned media” or editorial coverage, has no guarantees – that’s why it’s PR and not advertising.
Of course, with an ever-evolving news and online environment, there is an increased pressure to deliver eyeballs, and the idea of a guarantee can be attractive. And, it must be said – a quality placement for pay, should be considered when the end result may be a strong, valuable airing or mention on or within a reputable program, outlet or publication. So, how do you know what you are getting when you hear “we guarantee results?” More and more often, we are including “earned + paid” media in your plans – is it the right approach? Here are a few guidelines from Boom:
1. Do your homework. Ask for details on the guarantees:
- What, exactly, does the guarantee represent? Usually, this is a buy on a station or outlet. It may be worthwhile as long as the client is getting what they signed on for: content that runs during editorial air-time, and is or can be perceived as editorial and not pure advertising.
- What outlets are represented? Get a station list and, if possible, audience or impressions for that media outlet.
- Who do they reach? Ask for audience, or impressions associated with the outlet. Is the viewership Nielsen rated? Is it cable? Is it a digital station associated with the main outlet?
- When/where does it air or run and how is that verifiable?
2. How does the buy affect your budget and is the return on investment worth it? You may be better off going with a true earned media tactic on news radio versus a buy on television that only airs on lesser cable outlets.
Super Tactic #1
Online video – if you are not promoting or posting your videos or clients’ videos online you are missing a HUGE opportunity. Contact Boom and mention POSTING POSSE. Did you know you have an ENTIRE TEAM at your disposal to post, embed, promote and DRIVE VIEWS to your video? And it gets better…we can embed your video with instant links to websites, social media pages, contest sign up pages….call us for a demo on that. This is not “hey we can syndicate/send put a link on 8 gazillion news sites”….this is measurable, online media relations. What are you waiting for? click here to get more info! CLICK HERE to see some of the videos we’ve already promoted online.
Super Tactic #2
The Hybrid Media Tour. “All-Media Tour” “New Media Tour” Yes, an SMT can still get you seen, heard…even a winner! (ask Cheerios – they found a fan, and a winner of a contest via an airing in San Diego featuring Cal Ripkin.) We weave radio and online media segments into the tour to MAXIMIZE return on investment (AKA ROI) – throw in social media video production and you have the SUPER FOOD of broadcast media relations tactics: The Hybrid Media tour. And Boom guarantees a minimum number of placements for your tour – there is a reason our clients consider us their secret weapon when it comes to dazzling the end client…find out yourself. Call or email us to brainstorm your next project 303-904-2100, or, click away…
Super Tactic #3
Social Media Integration. I know, Your team may or may not “own” the social media piece. But are you at least integrating your traditional PR activities with the appropriate media’s twitter and Facebook? How about a direct message to the media complimenting the job they did covering your story? We provide fb and twitter handles for the media we secure – leaving it up to your team how to leverage. Simple, but clever. That’s how we roll. Let us know how we can help make your team rock stars.
They’re everywhere – and Americans just can’t get enough of the latest celebrity news. As far as PR goes, we want them talking, attending, wearing and tweeting our “stuff.” But, are there limits or rules on how to use star power and do celebrity endorsements work? Here are Boom’s considerations for engaging a celebrity for your broadcast/online PR efforts:
Do we need a celebrity to front our campaign?
Forego using a celebrity for “celebrity sake.” First and foremost the celebrity should have a direct relationship or reason for interest in the product or cause.
For instance a celebrity breast cancer spokesperson should either be a breast cancer survivor or have had a close relative with the disease. And, if a celebrity is the face of a charity or charity event he/she should be intimately involved in the cause – a personal reason for being spokesperson such as Denzel Washington has with the Boys & Girls Club. If the celebrity is just used for celebrity sake – stations will view the segment as too commercial right off the bat. This rule also applies to any spokesperson: The spokesperson should have a direct link or expertise on the topic and client messaging.
We’re doing a publicity event or press conference, do we need a celebrity to give our event media appeal?
In terms of celebrities at events – this is where it can get tricky. Each and every day there are at least a dozen celebrity attended events and these are rarely seen on local news. A celebrity appearance can often only result in photo opportunities for gossip/celebrity magazines, sites and television shows. For the most part local news stations do not cover celebrity events – national entertainment shows and entertainment outlets are most likely to cover these events. Yes, local news will cover celebrities – but these shows tend to only cover their personal trials and tribulations.
Many times celebrity events will take place in New York and Los Angeles. All too often these markets are saturated with celebrities and charity events – note to mention local breaking news and other local events, which can make it difficult to get coverage. It is important to keep in mind, that while these locations make it easier to get your celebrity on location, the media may not show. this can make internally produced b-roll footage critical : allowing you to provide visuals to media that is interested, without having to rely 100 percent on media commitment.
What can we expect for pick up with a celebrity?
Your celebrity won’t necessarily guarantee success, the approach to your broadcast or online effort should still consider the following:
- The news angle: is it news, an announcement, an event or feature?
- Spokesperson: how does our spokesperson or potential spokesperson fit with the call to action or client positioning? Is our spokesperson a bonafide expert? Celebrity? Or internal representative?
- Existing visuals: is this a visual story or is it more content/data driven? Do we need to create/shoot visuals?
- Timing: how does timing play into the news and our tactic?
- News environment: are stations taking sat interviews? Do they want broll? Do they want options like a local expert?
- Media mix: will this story be more effective with a mix of TV, radio and online outlets? Or is it a better fit for one over the other?
- What is meaningful to the client? What is your idea of success, because that’s what matters.
What’s the best way to use a celebrity if they are involved in our campaign?
Often, a celebrity associated with a campaign or cause may resonate better via an interview segment (SMT/RMT) than a broll package (press conference or soundbite.) But like our golden rule, the celeb still has to be a logical fit: i.e. having Valerie Bertinelli discuss weight loss, Maria Schriver talk about children’s causes. Someone with an existing “track record” in that arena. Also, never rule out a Public Service Announcement, or, if you are not working with a non-profit, an RNR crafted as a public service announcement can be an effective way to communicate the message.
Are all celebrities created equal?
A resounding NO. At any given time, a celebrity may be “white hot” but to us that might also mean “over exposed.” Food Network stars, Dancing with the Stars personalities, or someone like MIke Rowe, who hit a peak with Dirty Jobs and was offered for many, many tactics within a short period of time. As with any and all strategies, let’s evaluate the project together to develop the most on-target strategy, and realistic expectations possible.
Here are a few thoughts and ideas that might be handy for your next PR strategy/planning session. Remember, Boom is just down the “virtual” hall – let us know when you need us to be an extension of you or an extension of your team.
#1 Broadcast News Finding New Outlets
Local network affiliates in top and middle markets are generating 24-hour programming on their digital properties. Stations combine the news- and information-gathering power of their locally owned operations that often include the traditional television station’s news operation, but also local radio properties. For us, this can mean airings on multiple properties when we successfully place content with a single television station. Not bad, maybe incremental, but shows that broadcast content continues to find a way to reach more viewers.
#2 The Tactic should fit the assets. Not the other way around
Just because your client wants to do TV interviews via an SMT, doesn’t mean they should. Often, backing into a tactic – including it in the plan before you secure or have a handle on your assets can doom a project from the start. For example, you want to feature a new nutritional supplement on local news programs so it seems a satellite media tour might accomplish this. You call Boom. Boom asks who the spokesperson is, to which, you might reply, we don’t know yet but here is what we want to communicate: the supplement is brand new, the supplement will make people all powerful, the supplement is safe for everyone. Well, that sounds great, but ultimately, for an interview segment, media want the personality, the interview. If they just want the facts, the news for example, perhaps a news package or pitch will suffice. And online media and bloggers? They vary widely on what’s going to appeal. Bottom line? Let’s have a conversation about your news, your assets, and your audience. We’ll be able to suggest the right fit – usually. THEN WE SAY, put it in the plan. Call or email us to brainstorm your idea into a successful tactic 303-904-2100, or, click away...
#3 Impressions equal engagement?
In the great and lush history of PR and Media Relations, the holy grail has usually been impressions. Print, television, radio…impressions. As we wade into the ever growing online media environment – do impressions matter? The trend we see is clients lumping UMV into impressions on a campaign. For us, our online media relations efforts include pitching interview or q&a (SMT, RMT, IMT); pitching, placing or posting video content; or pitching a story with multiple assets like an infographic, article and maybe also a video. But our goal, usually, is to drive views (engagement) to a specific video for a specific campaign. Ideally, that viewer will engage in the content, and possibly take the next step to action – whether that is viewing more videos on our client’s channel, or going to a website, or entering a contest…if we’ve secured a view, we’ve engaged an audience! That is a success – if there is click through, participation..that is engagement! If we use the cumulative UMV for this type of effort, is that a true gage of a campaigns success? It might be a gage of one or more sites’ influence or presence, but is that meaningful? You might say, well, the impressions tell us what the potential was, and views, well, that can be a relatively small number. Yes, but at Boom, we want to go for the tangible, maybe play “small ball” but show that we connected with your audience. Granted, this might not be your objective on a particular campaign – but we want to have this conversation more often. Why? Because we think it allows you/your client to actually (brace yourself) connect, relate, to the Public. Simply put: an act of public relations.
Your Boom Buzz WTtiF (We Think This Is Funny…)
Just useless but funny (true?): Public V. Private
Second in a series on “if you are planning a PR stunt”: Watch this video