The best thing to advise your client or spokesperson to do is get really good at doing Skype interviews. Looking into the camera – helped by raising your laptop slightly higher than you would have it when typing – is the single most effective thing you can do. Think about the background too. No one expects you to be in an executive suite office but the background must be appropriate – so nothing political (unless you’re talking politics), offensive or distracting.
Try and keep background noise to a minimum. We all remember CNN’s interview with the professor, whose kids toddled into the room! Ideally position yourself in an area with soft furnishings that absorb sound, in contrast to a hard floor and bare walls for example, off which sound bounces.
Live interviews, great for filling up airtime, need to be approached differently from pre-recorded ones, from which a journalist is more likely to extract just a short soundbite. In a pre-recorded interview you can repeat the key message a couple of times, working it into different answers, because only a small part of the interview will be used. With a live interview, you can only brand a couple of times – ideally within the first answer or two, as you never know how many questions you’ll get. Given a choice always go for a live interview; they might seem more daunting, but you’ll get more airtime and opportunities to communicate what you really want to say. If you would be interested in developing your skills as a spokesperson, we offer a comprehensive program of media training.
On location live interviews are largely on hold. Legally they can take place as long as social distancing rules are adhered to. But no broadcaster will take the risk unless the story really merits it and at the moment, all satellite trucks are parked up with nowhere to go.
Television is however all about the visuals, so, if broadcasters won’t come out to do their own filming, it’s worth thinking what moving pictures your client already has or that could be effectively and safely produced for them. I’m talking B-roll footage, that is 6-8 minutes of roughly edited footage, filmed by agencies including the team at Shout! Communications, that is distributed to broadcasters free of charge and any copyright issue.
Arguably, at no time in the history of broadcast PR has B-roll ever been as useful. The pandemic, a plethora of hard news stories and newsroom cutbacks means if you can provide a broadcaster with footage similar to something they would have shot themselves they’ll snap it up.
As the world adjusts to the new normal we suspect broadcast will be among the many areas that comes into the new world looking very different. We need to evolve, embrace the new ways of working and beneath the dust we’re confident we’ll still find nuggets of broadcast gold.
The opportunities are coming back – and if you’d like to see how we can help you achieve the best quality opportunities and production, drop us an email at email@example.com. Or call 020 7240 7373.