Case Study: Broadcast spokesperson on-air placement MLex
MLex is a global B2B newswire specialising in regulatory risk. We work with them on a retained basis, placing their correspondents, who are located in the world’s key regulatory centres, on UK and international radio and television.
We first started working with MLex in 2017 and the programme started with us media training the correspondents who had been nominated to take part in the PR programme. This involved a trip to Brussels where some of the correspondents are based, in addition to training hosted at our own London studio. Then the real task began.
Mainstream broadcast media had not heard of MLex before the programme began. So, our first challenge was to make them a trusted go-to source for stories involving regulatory risk: this includes everything from BREXIT and GDPR to mega-mergers and trade wars. The start of the programme coincided with the start of Brexit, so that gave us an interesting, if competitive, introduction to go to our contacts with, offering new and insightful comment from MLex correspondents.
Within just three months we secured 11 media opportunities, including BBC World TV, BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC News Channel and Sky News in the UK and KGO Radio and KPBS Radio in San Francisco. Better still, broadcasters started going directly to our MLex correspondents for comment; you can’t get a much better example of success than that.
We have continued to build on this success. We have weekly look-ahead documents and frequent catch ups to anticipate what each week might bring in terms of pitching opportunities, whilst also watching the news closely for any news-hijacking angles. We have established a fairly seamless system and everyone (both from our team and MLex’s) is happy to snap into action as soon as required, often with very little notice, in order to maximise potential coverage.
Perhaps the most difficult challenge of all has been convincing broadcasters to use correspondents from what can be seen as a competitor. Often, MLex journalists are covering the same stories you will see on the BBC or Sky News, but the difference is how they cover them and the different angles they take. Our task is to convince broadcasters they can position MLex correspondents as experts in the field who can add insight and analysis to a story that they don’t have themselves.
A further challenge is spokesperson availability Chances are, if there’s a big breaking news story we’d like to pitch MLex’s correspondents on, they will already be extremely busy covering it as part of their day job. They need to put their work and their coverage first, so it can be a balancing act when it comes to availability and logistics.
The numbers speak for themselves – in 2018 we secured 68 interviews on radio and television for MLex. This was a mixture of UK/EU opportunities (51) and US opportunities (17) and featured 46 appearances on radio, versus 22 on television. In 2019 we secured 29 overall opportunities, 12 TV and 27 radio. Some highlights include the prestigious Radio 4 Today Programme, several appearances on BBC World TV, Fox News in Washington DC and NBC in San Francisco.