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.
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
But…would it? Today’s branding experts might argue with Shakespeare that the name might actually influence the smell after all. I mean, it’s all perception right? Image? Association? We want to associate with brands that we feel represent us, say something about us, possibly even define us. At Boom, we don’t claim to be branding experts, but 10 years ago when it came to deciding on a name for our company, we felt strongly that it should be something that not only stood out in our industry, but really captured who we are and how we work and maybe even communicate what you could expect when you work with us.
We started with the brainstorm…we asked around for one word answers to “what makes you want to work with an outside company or agency?” We had some great responses: honesty, great results, price/value, likability, efficiency. But one sentiment really came through consistently: we want someone who will do what they say they will do.
We liked that. We liked that a lot. Because when we asked ourselves what was the impulse to go out on our own, we realized that this sentiment was a contributing factor. We were frustrated with our own environment at the time. We were a bit bogged down in process and bureaucracy and politics internally that often made it impossible for us to “just get it done” for our clients. So the brainstorm naturally flowed: what do we want our clients to know, to experience, to feel like when they come to us. The answer: that we get the job done. You tell us what you need, BOOM, it’s done. No unnecessary back and forth,no extra meetings, no series of conference calls. Get to the root of what our clients need. Ask the right questions, float the solution, and you should naturally get the BOOM.
While Shakespeare clearly got it right when referring to Juliet, we’re not so sure his hypothetical applies in today’s competitive world of branding. We hope our approach to client service and appeal would be just as strong if we were, say “the broadcast media relations company, inc.” But we’d rather stick with what we’ve got…after all,everyone needs a little Boom now and then.
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.
Sounds like a contradiction right? Why do a news announcement without including the media? We’re finding our clients are doing it all the time – leaving out TRADITIONAL media that is…like TV news, radio pitching, sometimes even leaving out the online brands of traditional print media outlets. Well the times…they are a changin’ (or maybe, just “correcting…”)
With social media, came the recognition that a new golden child had emerged for PR professionals: here is our audience, let’s go get ’em. And so, a strong focus on print and broadcast began to wane while social got all the love. Now that analysis of user behavior online is showing us that users are getting wise to the sponsored post, and wise to navigating AROUND digital paid (ads) maybe it’s time to recognize that social is really not replacing a traditional media outlet, but now just joining the party. A well-planned news announcement, event or charitable cause should include multiple media strategies in order to effectively capture print coverage, broadcast coverage, and online media coverage. In fact, PR in general is proving to be more effective than content marketing altogether. Here at Boom we have a stake in broadcast being a strong part of the PR plan. In other words, don’t get caught with your broadcast down. Some respectable organizations have some stats to back us up:
PEW RESEARCH: “Local TV remains a top news source for Americans, with almost three out of four U.S. adults (71%) watching local television news compared with 65% viewing network newscasts and 38% cable news over the course of a month, according to our analysis of Nielsen data from February 2013.” Here is that LINK TO READ MORE
HUFFPO/NIELSEN: “Content Marketing is 88% less effective than PR” A couple items we like:85 percent of consumers regularly or occasionally seek out trusted expert content — credible, third-party articles and reviews — when considering a purchase (hello online media relations…) 67 percent of consumers agree that an endorsement from an unbiased expert makes them more likely to consider purchasing (ahem, RMT or SMT anyone?) Here is THAT ARTICLE to read more
A GLANCE BACK, A LOOK AHEAD
You’ve heard the saying: Yesterday is history, tomorrow is unknown, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called “the present.” Well, in our world of media relations, that “present” can be a bit challenging to navigate.
Boom Broadcast is in its 10th year. When we launched Boom, “social media” was not in the mix. Can you imagine? We could actually verbally pitch editors and producers over the phone, satellite feeds were the way to share content, and hash tags and direct messaging would be considered gibberish. A longer look back – keep in mind that the majority of Boomers came from the broadcast media relations world before Boom was born – that longer look backs recalls VNRs, ¾” tape formats, and business reply cards to gather “metrics.”
I have a feeling I might have lost a good number of you with that last sentence. If you can’t remember what a Video News Release is, or have never set your eyes on an oversized videotape in ¾ inch format, then you likely could teach me a thing or two about interpreting Google metrics. This is the beauty, fun and challenge of the world of Public Relations, and more specifically Media Relations. It’s an ever-evolving industry – keep up, or become irrelevant.
However, while the tools we use might evolve, is actual media really changing that dramatically? Newspapers’ demise has been touted for years…in fact, when I joined this industry, TV news was said to be making newspapers irrelevant. At Boom’s start, podcasts were rumored to be the beginning of the end of radio. Over the past 5 years, social media has been the golden child. But does any new media really render a more established one irrelevant? At Boom we’ve tried to stay true to what we know best: work with our clients to find the most appealing and relevant angle for their news and stories. Identify the media that will most effectively reach their audience, and get out there and make sure that media knows that this story and content is available to them to enhance, entertain, and educate their audience – whether that audience is a “listener, “ a “viewer,” a “reader,” or a “follower.” And you know what? We can’t wait for the next 10 years!
The more things change…