Broadcast brings a campaign or story to life: images, sound effects and interaction all engage the audience and make them want to stay tuned in. Yes, there are a number of specialists in broadcast media relations, but that niche is but a small segment of the wider industry. Many top PR agencies are also now turning to this too as a means of being able to offer and deliver these key services too.
Good overall PR can really drive up your levels of trust and credibility
PR and broadcast pr comes down to trust. Radio is one of the most trusted forms of media in the UK as a recent study shows. The way radio is consumed means that listeners build up relationships with the presenters and broadcast journalists that they listen to. By having a spokesperson on the radio discussing a particular story or by facilitating a presenter discussing your brand on air, it comes across as editorial third party endorsement. Also, the fact that radio is regulated by OfCom means that the editorial is under strict scrutiny.
The key functions of a PR agency
That’s a good overview of the general functions of a broadcast pr agency. The tactics include some or all of the following:
- Write and distribute press releases.
- Speech writing.
- Write pitches (less formal than press releases) about a firm and send them directly to journalists.
- Create and execute special events designed for public outreach and media relations.
- Conduct market research on the firm or the firm’s messaging.
- Expansion of business contacts via personal networking or attendance and sponsoring at events.
- Copy writing and blogging for the web (internal or external sites).
- Crisis public relations strategies.
- Social media promotions and responses to negative opinions online.
Firms and individuals should hire a public relations agency when they want to protect, enhance or build their reputations through the media. A good agency or PR practitioner can analyse the organisation, find the positive messages and translate those messages into positive media stories. When the news is bad, an agency can formulate the best response and mitigate the damage.
Effective publicists have great relationships with many different journalists in many different industries. Many PR pros are former journalists, so they know the best ways to pitch a story and to reach editors and reporters. Since they are not employees of the firm that hires them, they can give an honest, outsider view of the firm and the potential for what story ideas will work. The relationship between client and agency should not be passive.
Clients should inform the agency what messages they would like to promote and make suggestions on where they would like to appear. Very few stories make the front page of the New York Times, but with a media atmosphere that includes blogs, websites, TV shows, magazines and other media that evolves every day, a good PR agency will help clients increase their visibility via increased recognition on as many respected editorial platforms as possible. Long term, public relations can be an investment in the brand and the visibility of a firm or individual that results in increased recognition and reputation.
It is key you plan your content in the most effective manner
The window for coverage in radio PR campaigns is narrow. That means that once you’ve reserved the studio, and the spokesperson’s time, it’s critical that you secure as many slots on radio and TV programmes as possible. To do that, you need to choose a story that will grab producers’ attention. Producers and program organisers, on both TV and radio, are fundamentally numbers driven. Their main concern is finding content that will be of maximum interest to their audience. It needs to get people talking, and keep people tuned in.
If your story is something the media has covered a lot recently, then consider coming at it with a fresh take. When you’re choosing your angle, make sure to get opinions from different stakeholders. Do so from your PR agency, your broadcast partner, and people from across your company. This is as that experience will help steer the story in a newsworthy direction. Don’t be afraid of considering multiple angles. It’s better to change your mind to go down another path than to go for a weaker story and limit the campaign’s impact. Do your research and find an angle that appeals to the outlets you’re targeting.
Print and online – they both need to tie in with one another
Another crucial element is co-ordinating your broadcast efforts with your work on other PR channels. This can make a huge difference in how far the message spreads and how professional the organisation appears. Pitch the online and print media the day before you broadcast. This is all so that the story appears to viewers, listeners and readers simultaneously. Critically, be clear about where people can go for more information. Usually a simple hashtag or URL, and make it catchy and easy to remember. It’s also important to make sure the messaging of your brand, the story of the brand and the reason this campaign exists in the first place doesn’t get lost. Making sure the connection is there and that it’s easy for it to come through in interviews is a tricky. But the important element of the story generation and moulding process.
Availability is also always key
One challenge to contend with on the day is scheduling. The unfortunate reality with a radio PR campaign day is that many opportunities will only come through on the day itself – if you’re lucky, they’ll come through the day before. To be safe, it’s best for your team and the relevant spokespeople. This is to block out most of the day and be agile enough to adapt to a changing schedule. Typically, most media opportunities will come in between 8 AM and 2 PM. Occasionally, some requests for interview also come in in the following days, so make sure your spokesperson isn’t jetting off for a celebratory holiday just yet.
Fundamentally, you need to fit producer’s needs and the schedules of their shows. It’s better to be ready and flexible than potentially miss out on some great hits. One mistake that many companies make is discounting opportunities simply because they’re not national-level programmes. This is a terrible missed opportunity. There are hundreds of local radio stations in the UK. These include the regional BBC channels, and they have a significant listenership. Any opportunity to get your story out there is a chance for your story to land. So don’t turn down local media unless you absolutely have to. During the research phase, try to find some regional demographic breakdowns of the data. Do so as these are perfect for tailoring your story to different regions and appealing to local stations.
Overall – what it is you need to know, in detail
A PR pitch is a short personalized message that outlines the value of a story and explains why it should be published. It is usually 150 words long but can reach up to 400 words. PR pitches should be short, engaging and timely for the topic. There’s a certain rush that comes when a story you pitched graces the pages of a magazine. The same too if it appears online or lands a coveted TV spot. You’ve earned a media placement that will impact your company’s reputation, awareness of your brand. Even better – the bottom line. But pitching isn’t easy. With fewer journalists (there are nearly 6 PR pros for every one journalist), faster news cycles and an unprecedented amount of media outlets, communicators need to get savvier and more strategic about how they tell stories.