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.
Meet this month’s feature for Boomer of the Month – Suzie Raven, manager, Public Service at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. When asked to describe herself in ten words or less, she humbly stated: Helps broadcasters, non-profits and media companies spread positive messages. Read on for more great reasons you would want to have dinner with Suzie:
1. What was the last picture you took with your phone? My view of the field during a recent game at Nationals Stadium.
2. If you could only have one meal for the rest of your life, what would that meal be? Sushi – specifically, unagi.
3. What industry jargon do you find yourself using the most? What is your least favorite industry jargon? My least favorite jargon: during in-person meetings, people say “Let’s talk offline.” By definition, in-person meetings are offline.
4. If you could choose any other profession what would it be? Why? I would love to be a photographer for National Geographic so I could travel to remote, exotic places.
5. If you could only use one social media platform what would it be? Why? Twitter. I’m always finding something new in my neighborhood – even while I’m following news from around the world.
6. What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Eyes of a Child by Richard North Patterson. Yes, it was engaging. There was a twist at the end that I didn’t anticipate.
7. What television show is your guilty pleasure? Daria – I have the entire series on DVD. I love her snarky humor.
8. What ability would you want to have that you don’t currently possess? Do superhero abilities count? I would love to be able to read minds.
9. What famous person do people tell you that you most resemble? Do you take it as a compliment? I’m half-Egyptian, so I dressed up as Cleopatra one year. I’m a dead-ringer for her.
10. What is the oddest food item you have ever eaten? I ate guinea pig in Peru. It sounds cliché, but it actually tastes like chicken, but more juicy.
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.
Today marks Boom’s 11th birthday! And like any 11-year old, we’ve had to navigate some fairly significant changes over the years. It’s been a wild ride and we know we are possibly entering “that awkward stage,” but for now we’re feeling a little nostalgic.
Remember when broadcast news was the big player when it came to “electronic media?” We do. While the interwebs have been taking us on a wild ride we think our timing launching Boom could not have come at a more interesting time. Here’s a few notable trends that have come, gone or broken onto the media scene this last decade-plus-one:
- Podcasts. Our clients had to have one 9 years ago. Then they didn’t. Now, thanks to Serial we all know what a podcast is again.
- Mommy Bloggers. A whole new species when considering pitching a story, content, or an announcement. Like any good mommy, they call the shots, do it “their way.”
- Social Media. Who’s on it? Your ad team? Your PR team? The web team? These were the questions that needed to be answered these last 11 years. Who’s keeping up? Ironically, the only one that is truly keeping up is probably the 11-year-old next door.
- Video. Time was, a video was a video was a video. Now, and let’s say it together…it’s “CONTENT.”
- Mobile. The newest category of media. Remember when we could fit our flip phones in a pocket or the inside zipper of your bag? Who would have predicted our “devices” (aka “phones”) would be getting bigger these last few years rather than smaller.
- Text-neck. See “mobile” above. Now the challenge is to presume what game, app, or site that “user” is staring at and slip in your message. If your story can’t be told with 6-second content, might need to consider another route.
So there you go. The times as always, are a changin’. And while 11 can certainly be the start of those awkward years, like our 11-year-old selves, ignorance is bliss and we’re ready for the ride.
A co-op, or cooperative SMT or cooperative news package combines complimentary clients, services or products within an interview segment or package that is then offered to stations for air. The appeal? You or your client can participate in a broadcast tactic for a fraction of the cost of your own segment or package. Based on our experience, a co-op may or may not deliver a strong result for you and/or the client.
For any co-op tour, we first consider client objectives. Boom Broadcast does not produce traditional “co-ops” for a number of reasons, the biggest being that we have not seen, in our 15+ years of experience in broadcast PR, that the co-op consistently delivers results to all participants. In addition, many stations are backing away from this format, as it tends to be overly commercial.
However, this strategy MIGHT be right for your objectives. Our approach is to evaluate the project, and if a co-op seems a fit, offer you guidance on getting the most out of it. Typically our best counsel is to consider what the objectives are for your client, and closely evaluate what broadcast tactic might deliver the same or greater value:
- Is a visual key to your communication objective? If not, radio might deliver stronger ROI for the client.
- What are your broadcast “assets”: a new product, existing visuals, an expert spokesperson, new study
- Do you have any existing marketing partners that may benefit from combined messaging?
- Do you have any existing marketing partners that may benefit from combined messaging?
If you do decide to participate in the co-op, here are a few considerations/guidelines to help you get the most from the tactic:
- Find out how many participants there will be. If there are more than three participants/products you may get short-changed on your mention or your messaging.
- Ask for a recent rundown. Most co-op producers either just do co- ops, or have a dedicated co-op team. Ask them for a recent report or rundown/schedule so you can see the caliber and number of stations your tour is likely to achieve.
- Find out where in the interview your message/product will be mentioned. Often, an interview can be cut short and if you are at the end of the talking points you may be cut out altogether.
- Confirm budget. Usually co-ops should be in the $9,000 range. Negotiate if it’s higher than that.
- Get an interview flow up front. Ask the producer to provide a specific interview flow so you know going in exactly how the tour will flow, where your mention will come, what the call to action will be, and how many tips/items the spokesperson is covering.
Finally, there just might be broadcast alternatives that better fit the client’s objectives or budget. We might offer an approach you haven’t thought of and it may deliver a stronger impact for your client. Let us know if you’d like to talk in detail