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Arthur Perkins
Arthur Perkins
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Blog Post

How to make your broadcast PR story less commercial

Arthur Perkins
Arthur Perkins
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The aim of every broadcast PR interview is to get at least a brand mention and/or communicate a key message. Journalists however, do not like heavily branded and commercial stories. So how do you find the balance? These top tips will help you make your story less commercial for broadcast.

Top Line:
Whether you’re writing a press release or a cue, try and avoid branding in the first sentence of your story. The top line should sum up the nub of a story and attract the interest of a journalist. Too much branding and the broadcaster won’t get beyond the first paragraph.

Obviously the branding has got to be there – but save it for the second or even third line.

Pre-recorded interviews:
Here the rules slightly bend. Pre-recorded interviews are often used for news bulletins where the journalist will use copy and a clip to go with it. In most pre-recs, the journalist is simply looking for two 20 second clips. As a result, you can mention your brand or organisation a few more times.

Live interviews:
The presenter is likely to introduce you and the organisation you are from so there is no need to go straight in with “(Your company name) believes that…” It will simply anger the broadcaster as well as sound strange! Generally this will count as a one brand mention. Likewise if you don’t hear your company name in the introduction you should work it in to your first answer.

This is the sort of tip we teach in our broadcast media training at Shout! If you want more tips have a look at our E-book on the subject. You can find out more details here: https://www.shoutcommunications.co.uk/what-we-do/television/media-training/

Third party spokespeople: 
Industry experts or academics are great spokespeople for broadcast PR interviews. Often, broadcast organisations prefer to interview third party spokespeople than a company representative as they bring the story to life and can offer further insight.  Crucially they take the commercial sting out of the story.

But even third party spokespeople need to play by the rules when it comes to branding. But how much is too much? As a general rule, we advise no more than one or two brand mentions if you want to be invited back by a journalist.

Case Studies:
Case studies bring a story to life and give the viewer a means of connecting with a story. Have a look at this example – coverage we secured on London Live for a story about thyroid cancer. Who would not empathise with a story like this:


Research gives a brand or company a credible hook to attach themselves too – it’s much less commercial than pushing a particular product or service. Research is great but regional research is even better. BBC local radio may run a story on research showing people in the UK are the happiest people in the world, but only if it’s broken down into counties or areas. For example, if research showed people who lived in York were the happiest it’d be perfect for BBC Radio York. Likewise, if people living in London were proved the unhappiest, BBC London could also use that.
These guidelines should assist you in making your story less commercial for broadcast and will lead to more coverage on television, radio and online.

Many of the team at Shout! Communications have worked in the broadcast industry– so if you’re looking for some advice, feel free to give us a call. You can also download our media relations e-book here: http://info.shoutcommunications.co.uk/media-relations-guide



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