By Catherine Bayfield
Tailoring radio coverage to client needs
Everyone predicted the death of radio but in 2017 it is most definitely alive and kicking. Latest RAJAR figures show a radio resurgence with on average 89% of the UK population tuning into radio each week – that’s 48.2 million adults. This equates 300,000 more listeners than the same time a year ago and they’re listening more frequently on their phones or tablets.
This changing radio landscape is really an opportunity to tailor coverage more specifically, to exactly fit a client’s requirements. At the start of a radio campaign we always ask these questions: what is it that the brand is looking for? Is it the number or quality of interviews that is more important? If they had to choose what would be more important – the number of listeners or the opportunity to communicate key messages?
In our experience some larger companies in particular favour live interviews on local stations where they have the chance for repeated brand mentions and an opportunity to direct customers to their website. The emphasis we recommend at Shout! is on guaranteed coverage and a minimum total reach of at least a million listeners per radio day.
Lean times for TV mean a stronger case for B-roll
It’s leaner times for TV broadcasters – more so than ever post Brexit with ITV saying they’re looking to make £25m in cost savings, and BBC news and Channel 4 News also continually reviewing staffing. Lack of resources means there has been something of a revival in the need for B-roll. There was a time when B-roll was considered a bit of an extravagance but now I’d go as far as saying there is an expectation from broadcasters that, if you’re offering up a story for television, it will come with some sort of moving pictures.
This may be as simple as corporate HQ footage for a business channel like CNBC, but could be more dramatic news pictures like aerial footage to accompany the launch of a new cruise ship, or a product launch event. B-roll is effectively raw footage and is re-edited by a journalist to make a finished package. It’s not the most interesting to view but if you want to understand what it is and see one, click here:
A further trend is the multimedia journalist and an increasing crossover between online and broadcast. Multimedia journalists are expected to be able to produce or adapt content for an increasingly wider range of media, including traditional broadcast, web formats, as well as social media, and live content platforms.
Our recommendation is to adapt and tailor-make your content based on a specific outlet’s preference. For instance, a bespoke intro with a celebrity, or some exclusive content, will often result in better online media relations coverage. Keeping the content brief is also crucial – under a minute works best for online news sites or 30 seconds or less for Facebook. Remember to subtitle your video too as so much of it is consumed on mobiles or tablets without sound.
Live pressure on spokespeople
TV cut backs mean there are less ‘packaged’ news reports from on location and more studio based interviews and discussions. This trend brings with it an expectation from news outlets that spokespeople will be confident performers who can sustain a longer interview. In order to be able to maximize every opportunity and be a repeat guest, clients will need to be media trained – in particular to be able to master ‘down the lines’ where the interviewer is in a different location to the guest.
These days live studio based broadcasting also includes streaming. We’re seeing a growing appetite for live streaming, particularly onto Facebook so a good performing spokesperson will find many outlets!
New twists on old formats
In short, we think 2017 will bring with it as many opportunities as pressures – as long as the PR industry and its spokespeople are willing to adapt to broadcasts’ changing landscapes.
For more information about broadcast media relations go to the Resources section on our website.
Or to discuss an upcoming broadcast PR campaign drop me a line at email@example.com. Look forward to hearing from you!
About the author: Catherine Bayfield is co-founder of Shout! Communications. Before beginning a career in PR fifteen years ago, Catherine was a broadcast journalist. She began working life as a local radio reporter but rose through the ranks to become a senior producer at ITV’s GMTV and Head of Planning at ITV’s London Tonight.