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When you work with Boom, you’re partnered with a team of seasoned broadcast public relations professionals who understand there is no "one-size-fits-all" when it comes to getting your message on air.

Why Local Media Matters

At a time in history when it seems that every day we are experiencing historical events that have the potential to literally change the world around us, how do we, as communications professionals, break through the noise? Forget the noise for a second, what about breaking through the fear, the hype and the panic to tell a story that might actually affect you, your family, your neighbors? Can we? Is it even possible? Does it even matter?

To these questions questions, I submit that the answer is YES. More than ever on both a personal and professional level, it matters. It matters to me personally to know that there are initiatives, programs, events and just some GOOD news in my community. It matters to me as a professional to know that the local media markets all over the country actually want to hear about these initiatives, programs and events and share them with their audiences. It matters. It’s possible. And we can.

Here at Boom we work with some amazing clients. We have the pleasure to be working with The Entertainment Industry Foundation (you’re likely familiar with their Stand Up To Cancer initiative) on a new initiative: Think It Up. Think It Up is the first-of-its-kind platform to fund student-powered, teacher-led learning projects in partnership with DonorsChoose.org. Our role is to maximize the message through Public Service Announcements on TV and Radio. Our focus is to gain national exposure by way of local network affiliates and media outlets. LOCAL. The key here is connecting the dots on a cause or issue that affects people in a specific community and making a case for the media outlet sharing it. Old school, one-on-one outreach. Not syndication/RSS, not viral, not digital. Just connecting a message with an audience. And it works. It’s not immediate, it’s not snappy or chatty. It’s local media relations.

We were thrilled to see that particular campaign firing on all media platforms this week an landing locally. In fact, in my own backyard. A local tie to the initiative was covered in the Denver Post this week…both their online and print editions of hyper local “Your Hub.” The feature focused on the first-ever Think It Up Live event that took place A Columbine High School (in my own Jeffco neighborhood.) Kids and teachers brainstorming ideas for powerful learning projects that will be submitted for crowdfunding on ThinkItUp.org. This initiative matters, the story matters, and local media matters.

Check out the PSA here.

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It’s happened to all of us. You’ve come up with a great idea for an event b-roll package that the client has bought into – a giant Baked Alaska in the middle of Times Square that will be devoured by the remaining members of One Direction just before they break up. However, once it comes to executing the event none of the elements seem to fall into place and instead of a dessert the size of a small yacht, it’s an oversized cake that fits into a shopping cart that will be tasted by a food blogger – not nearly delivering the visuals that were initially pitched.

If the event is not executed well or as initially planned, it doesn’t matter how good the story is on paper because it won’t hold any interest at assignment desks. We can make it sound amazing in our pitch efforts, but if the visuals are boring and no one shows up to the event stations simply are not going to use the footage.

So when you come up with an idea for an event b-roll package, be realistic on what can actually be executed before expectations are set too high.

Okay, so now you have the event you know can be pulled off ready to go – do you produce and distribute a b-roll package?  Most likely the answer is yes. But take these points into consideration:

  • How quirky and visually appealing is your story?
  • Is the event too localized?
  • Is your event able to tell a story in 30 seconds or less?
  • Do you have the first, the fastest, the biggest to add to the visuals?
  • Will you be able to make the visuals available by 2-3 p.m. ET on the day of the event?

Let’s say that all of the elements are in place – that means your b-roll is a shoe-in for airings right? Not necessarily – event b-rolls have a short shelf-life and there are factors that could hurt usage of the great b-roll you are offering stations, such as:

  • Breaking news – local and national
  • Weather stories – snow, heat waves, floods and Hurricanes
  • Sweeps
  • Championship Sports Games
  • Elections

All of these factors take away precious time from news rundown and limit the airtime for your piece. Some factors can be avoided and should be taken into account when planning your event date.

So, is there anyway to guarantee pick up for your event b-roll? Not really. Even if you have a celebrity (A or D list), be sure that the event has all the elements listed above. And, before you commit to your VIP talent be sure take into account that your local newscast has little space for celebrity news outside of gossip (when was the last time you saw a celebrity ribbon cutting on your local news that occurred in another market?) and many times celebrity events are better suited for the nationally syndicated entertainment programs.

And remember if event has no local media coverage – chances are outlets outside of the market may also not be interested in covering the event.

An added bonus to local media covering your event – the local affiliate may feed their footage to their network and then affiliates across the country use their footage. This will be instead of the b-roll that you produced – but this type of coverage is seen as editorial and can lead to increased viewership throughout the nation.

So, in this case – what is the point of spending money on b-roll in the first place?  You can’t always predict what will interest the media or if there will be a local breaking news story and none of the crews were able to show up—the b-roll would be all you’ve got—so it still pays to do a b-roll for a big event as a “safety net.” And, remember local affiliates may not have known the footage is even available if it hadn’t been for pitching the b-roll in the first place. Should a local affiliate cover the event, Boom publicists will make it a point to reach out to the affiliates across the country to encourage them to use locally produced b-roll footage.

The bottom line is that the success of your event b-roll package depends on the execution as well as the fickle news cycle on the day of your event. But, the good news is that stations are always looking for a visually compelling, fun kicker story that can end their news cast on an upbeat note.

QUESTION: What is sweeps and how does it affect television coverage?

ANSWER: Start bracing yourself for ratings-grabbing segments, sensationalized series on hidden dangers, guest stars from network programming – basically any news that will help boost audience numbers.

The reason you will see more stunt news casting and “very special” episodes of your favorite programming is because May sweeps is just around the corner (April 23-May 20, 2015).

Sweeps are what advertisers and stations use to determine local ad rates (not so much national rates – those are gathered yearly) and thereby the revenue of the local newscast. So, as you can imagine, this gives stations a huge incentive to get those ratings as high as possible using any means necessary.

There are four sweeps periods every year – February, May, July and November.  But generally the May and November are considered to be more important – followed by July and then February.

So what does this mean to you and how does it affect your story making it on air?  Because of sweeps, local television news programs have less airtime that can be dedicated to sponsored content and are much more picky during these periods as to what type of segments they will book. More than ever they will be asking themselves if your story will engage their audience and help boost their ratings.

The reason they have less room in their rundown for your story is because stations are devoting more time to segments that will increase viewership such as:

  • Sensational weeklong series that you absolutely need to watch so you can find out what is killing you and how to stop it from killing you
  • Promoting other programming on the station (both national and local) via on-air discussions, guest interviews, etc.
  • Uptick of sensational news stories – the old adage “if it bleeds it leads” is never more true than during a sweeps period

So does this mean that you should not conduct a satellite media tour during sweeps? Absolutely not – with the right story, spokesperson and lead-time your segment can be just as successful during sweeps as any other time.

However, if your story does not need to happen during a sweeps period – it is something you may want to consider postponing if the angle, spokesperson or timing is not optimum to break through the sweeps clutter.

So while you need to keep sweeps in mind when planning your next campaign it is not a time period you need to avoid altogether.

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Are you using radio to get your message heard?  Why not?  Radio media tours or “RMTs,” give you the opportunity to spread your message to a broad audience, and can help if you are trying to reach a specific demographic or target only certain key markets.

Are you using radio to get your message heard?  Why not?  Radio media tours or “RMTs,” give you the opportunity to spread your message to a broad audience, and can help if you are trying to reach a specific demographic or target only certain key markets.

A radio media tour is also cost-efficient. Your RMT might include placements on 1 – 3 syndicated networks – which means that one interview airs on hundreds of stations across multiple markets – delivering an outstanding return on investment for a broadcast tactic.

RMTs also have a number of other advantages. Radio interviews are often 6-8 minutes long, where most TV interviews run for 3 minutes or less.  So – radio provides more time for your message to be worked into the interview and spokespeople tend to have more latitude with key talking points during the segment.

Radio interviews can also include listener call in – which can lead to more airtime and engages the audience in your message.  And, radio audiences also tend to be the more responsive with call to actions.

And, when searching for the perfect radio tour spokesperson, be sure to look for a personality that will resonate with the demographic you are targeting.   If you want the FM morning zoo-type shows be sure you have a music personality, sports star or celebrity that fits this 20-something demographic.

Once you’ve chosen an expert, celebrity, or company spokesperson you are ready to craft an interview that will be of interest to radio programs during morning drive across the country.  And always remember, Boom can help with all of these elements along the way.

Radio media tours are a strong, viable, cost-effective tactic to get your message out to a broad audience. Keep them in mind during your next planning session.

Boom Broadcast is ten years old. However, I’ve been involved in broadcast media relations for over 20 years (oh…that is painful to type…) In that time, terms like “hard copy,” “beta,” “VNR” and even “satellite feed” give way to “digital upload,” “H-dot-two-six-four,” “broll & bites,” and “digital delivery.”

But while the technology changes, the essence of media relations really hasn’t. Even if it’s “sponsored content” what matters is delivering meaningful stories or messages to the appropriate news outlets to reach your desired audience.

While rumors of our industry’s demise have risen and fallen over the years, hype for the newest tool in the bag comes and goes. Whether the banter focuses on PODCAST (remember when you had to have one?), SOCIAL, DIGITAL or (and I love this one..) TRADITIONAL media tactics…none can really survive alone to deliver a robust or even complete PR plan.

Last fall I had the pleasure of a referral by a long-time client to their PR agency who “specialized in digital.” As we chatted about the successes we had over the years with our common client’s brand, I mentioned radio as an effective outlet for other brands they represented. I articulated what a radio news release was, and how a radio media tour worked. A few weeks later I had a call from one of those who was at the coffee shop where we met. They were over the moon about a demand at the agency for more information about this great idea: Radio. Yes, Radio. These staffers were having a new and gushing love affair with this old stand-by. I’m sure, at this agency, Social was seething…but fear not Social. There’s room for all of you! If you just hold out long enough, the pendulum swings back and all these outlets and tactics can play nice to deliver a strong, if not stellar, media mix for your PR plans.It Swings...

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