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.
Click Here for VLOG Version: Boom in the Room: Behind the Scenes in a Newsroom
While watching the news on TV, you may never get a sense of what is actually going on behind-the-scenes. The newsroom is a frenetic, energetic and sometimes chaotic place; where it can be difficult if not downright impossible to break through the clutter and get your story into the right hands.
You may wonder—WHO are these people in the newsroom and WHY aren’t they airing my story. You know your story has all the necessary elements — great visuals, relevant news, no branded mentions – or maybe only one – and even local statistics – but the producers still won’t bite. What gives?
Try to see it from their perspective. When a producer gets pitched a story their first thought is usually not: “Wow – what a great segment!” Instead they are most likely thinking, “Do you know how busy I am? I have to get a newscast on air in a couple of hours?!! And I haven’t even eaten yet today.”
Their next thoughts – if they are even entertaining the pitch, are: “Is this story something my viewers will tune in to watch? How will I convince my news director? Have we done covered story locally recently? And, then… who is the sponsor and how is it being worked into the piece?” All too often – their final word is “Sorry, we’ve got way too much going on today.”
While there are more newscasts then ever, there also seems to be less available time for sponsored content. Why is that? A typical 30 minute newscast only has a few minutes for outside produced content so all too often outside produced segments are the first to go if there is a breaking news story, or if the weather or sports anchor decides to go a “little long” that night. So even if your piece does make the initial cut and the station had plans to run the segment – it can still get bumped from the rundown at the last minute. And by the next day—the producer has been pitched at least another 10 story ideas and your piece goes to the back burner.
And that’s a typical day in the news cycle. As you can tell it’s a tough environment out there—no question. So before you commit to a news package – take these questions into consideration:
- Does my story have real news value? Will it break through the clutter?
- Will my story have appeal in New York AND Boise?
- Is this a story that my local news program would air – have I ever seen /heard something similar on my local news program?
- Can the station localize my story? Does the news affect the viewers in all markets?
- Is there another reason to produce footage beyond television coverage? Can the production be justified for other uses?
- Is my story overtly commercial? – can I make it less so and still meet my client’s objectives?
- Can the station tell the story without my news package? Are the visuals an essential part of the package?
- Is it visual? Should we consider radio opportunities?
The bottom line is that unless you have breaking news, the only opportunity to get your story on air is through broadcast public relations. So with the right counsel and the right story idea—a broadcast news package may be the right tactic for to get out your message. Let Boom help you determine the best way to get your news seen and heard.
You can view a “boom in the room segment” on broll here: http://boombroadcast.com/video_update.asp?video=2
While there will always be stations whose policy is to “never use outside produced content” – even those stations tend to pull in and use a package if the story is:
- relevant to their viewers
Having said that, we try to approach every project by evaluating similar type packages history. We look at:
- news value
- spokesperson relevance