You think you’ve got a strong story; the stats and spokespeople are lined up, you call the planning desk and they want you to send over your press release, you get a call back, they’re interested! They book in, it’s all lined up and you go home happy. Then, the producer calls and says, “something else has come up, we can’t do this anymore”. Cue despair.
The very nature of broadcast is exciting but unpredictable. Whilst you can do everything in your power to get your story over the line, there are always things that can trip you up. It is worth knowing exactly what obstacles you face, and by knowing these, you give your story the best possible chance to be aired on TV and radio, as part of a successful broadcast PR campaign.
The biggest obstacle you face is the news agenda itself. This then leads into timing and ultimately the preparation of your campaign. These are the big 3 factors that can affect your PR activity. It is absolutely paramount to know what’s in the news agenda. Keep your ear to the ground and finger on the pulse about what is going on at any given time. You can have the best elements in the world lined up, only to launch on the day of a huge event and all is in vain. Whilst sometimes the news agenda can be unpredictable (think terrorist attacks or natural disasters) there are many set piece events that you need to keep abreast of, whether it be a royal baby or wedding, the budget or even a state visit by a certain American ‘friend’…
The news agenda can change without a moment’s warning – but you can plan ahead!
With this in mind the next thing you need to think about is timing. Most PR campaigns work best in the morning; this is because the news agenda can change throughout the day with breaking stories, therefore your story has more competition later in the day. The earlier you start the better your chances of coverage. We also recommend dovetailing your print and online sell-ins with broadcast. If stories break in print beforehand, broadcast journalists are more likely to think of the story as old news. You also need to consider the point in the week you plan to land coverage as well as the time of year. There is nothing worse than trying to sell-in a story that is juxtaposed with the time or date; think flogging warm outdoor clothing in the summer time.
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The final big obstacle that can affect your broadcast PR campaign is prep time. Whilst we are aware that some campaigns can be trickier than others, and approval processes can sometimes be time consuming, it is always great to have as much lead time as possible. Good prep helps with the timing of your campaign and giving yourself the most amount of time to sell-in will always lead to better coverage. Be particularly conscious of hitting national broadcasters’ weekly planning meeting.
Spokesperson availability can make or break a campaign and so is an integral part of the preparation stage. Find out how much broadcast activity your spokesperson has done prior to the campaign (the less the better). Are they willing to be or get to London for nationals early in the morning? Too many opportunities are lost as a result of the spokesperson saying they’ll get the early train instead.
Prep work should also include finding the best data including regional statistics, exploring further hooks and case studies. Broadcasters love a story that they can make relevant to their audience and nothing illustrates this better than a solid case study.
If you need help with your next broadcast PR campaign, give me a call on 020 7240 9980 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org