Media Tour Boot Camp: What to Know to Get Your Story on TV & Beyond
When your message has broad consumer appear and your next campaign would take off with exposure on TV, radio, blogs and websites, a Satellite Media Tour (SMT) can help your brand get publicity across the country and on multiple platforms. To get you started, this guide will take you through the media tour process – from selecting a strategic partner and pitching your story, to what you can expect on “event day” and measurement of results – plus a glossary of key terms for those brand new to satellite media tours.
Would your next campaign really take off with more exposure for your brand on TV, radio, blogs and websites? Do you have an awareness campaign that needs publicity? A product launch that needs broadcast coverage? Trying to promote breakfast on National Pancake Day? If you have a good story with a “news you-can-use” element and a visual component, and you want to reach morning talk and local network news shows and drive time radio nationwide in a short amount of time, a media tour could be for you.
A Satellite Media Tour (SMT) is a great tool if your story has broad consumer appeal and your goal is to get your message heard across multiple regions and platforms. A media tour enables your spokesperson or expert to sit in a fixed spot, either in a studio or at a remote location, while being interviewed by network or local news anchors, radio personalities and bloggers via satellite from around the country. Stations are always looking for content to supplement their morning shows, so an SMT can be a win-win situation for both the station and your brand. And, if you want your outreach to extend beyond TV, expanding your tour to radio stations, bloggers and websites can help increase potential exposure.
To get you started with SMTs, here is your guide through the process, rundown of key questions to ask before starting – and even a glossary of key terms.
A Satellite Media Tour: From Strategy to Screen
For a successful broadcast project, there are many steps leading up to an SMT to track results afterwards.
- Choosing a Partner – A media strategy partner with long-term industry experience, strong contacts and who believes in a multifaceted, strategic approach is key.
- Story & Strategy – A conference call or in-person meeting is required to guide the direction of the story. Possible angles, newshooks, spokespeople, timing, set, location, target markets and overall media strategy is discussed.
- Media Alert – Once a strategy is agreed upon, a media relations strategist will draft a one page media alert for client approval.
- Pitching – Once the alert has been approved, pitching begins. Daily updates are provided to show time, format, market, and affiliate of each outlet booked.
- Event Day – Once the tour date arrives, the talent arrives early at the studio or location to do a few mock run-throughs before going on air. They will sit in one location while being interviews by anchors from stations all over the country via satellite.
- Reporting – Clients will receive weekly reports detailing specific outlets that aired with aircheck links and impression numbers.
- Follow-Ups – Follow-up phone calls to all stations who conducted taped interviews to assess air dates occur over the course of the next few months alongside weekly reporting.
What You Need to Know before Plunking Down the Dough
You’re almost ready to take the plunge, but there are several things communicators should be aware of before taking on this media spend.
Who Do SMTs Target?
The typical outlets that participate in an SMT are local network affiliate morning shows, local and national radio shows and bloggers. National morning shows are more likely to invite a high profile or A-list celebrity talent in-studio. Unless you have a top celebrity or major, breaking news, you should expect to secure bookings in local markets across the country: a very efficient and cost effective path to nationwide coverage.
Next, consider your targeted demographics. While an SMT hitting local TV and radio may not be the best way to target a group like millennials exclusively, this format produces strong results for brands targeting a slightly older demographic. And, if you’re looking to target a multicultural demographic with a message geared toward the Hispanic audience, you may want to consider using a Bilingual spokesperson with credible ties to this community.
What Types of Stories Work Best?
Like any media tool, the decision whether a story is media tour-worthy can depend on a multitude of factors. If your story does not contain any of the elements below, you may want to consider another tactic. school supply company.
- News-You-Can-Use – Feature stories that have a strong call to action or light, informative news.
- Stories that Can Be Localized – Gear the message toward viewers in that market. As an example, targeting the top 50 allergy cities for a tour about allergies and asthma and telling cities where they rank on the list.
- Segments that Showcase a Credible Expert – Stories resonate when shared by a knowledgeable, media-savvy spokesperson. For example, a parenting expert providing tips on getting kids ready for back to school for a school supply company.
- Segments with Celebrity Talent – As an example, an A-list celebrity who is personally affected by a disease or a condition will connect with audiences.
- Seasonal Segments – Your story can have a stronger “hook” when also tied to a season, such as BBQ tips before summer holidays. And don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time for booking in advance! Some seasons are more crowded than others – November and December are great for holiday stories and spring tends get inundated with home improvement and travel stories, among others.
What’s the Best Timing for a Story
Timing plays a critical role in determining the success of an SMT. It’s possible to have a great talent with a valuable message, but if the timing is off it can cannibalize the tour.
- Sweeps – During sweeps, the ratings period for Nielsen, stations are looking for big stories with big celebrities. Unless you have one, it’s best to avoid the two major sweeps months around November and May.
- Awareness Months – If you are looking to conduct a Breast Cancer Awareness Month SMT at the end of October, you will miss the boat! Most awareness segments are conducted at the beginning of the month.
- Season – If you’re looking to do a financial tips SMT it may be good to target tax season. An SMT on skin cancer would work well at the end of spring or early summer when people are spending more time outdoors. And if you are hooking to a particular date, week or month, always also incorporate evergreen content for taped interviews that may air a few weeks following the date of the SMT.
How Is Success Measured?
Finally, what does success look like? While everybody measures it differently, it is often defined by number of bookings, impressions, penetration within target markets, and quality of the dialogue between the anchors and talent.
In earned media we can’t guarantee a certain amount of impressions, number of bookings or that we will be able to book within certain markets. It depends on strength of story, talent and news cycle. There are also options available to build-in guaranteed airings either nationally or locally if appropriate.
The bottom line is that while media tours are an effective vehicle to convey your message, they are also highly customizable – which is a good thing. One of the keys to success is to work closely with a media strategy consultant prior to launching this tool to ensure that the approach you take (timing, talent, angle) works best for your brand.
Becoming Media Tour Fluent
Before you get started, it can help to know a few basic terms:
- Talent/Spokesperson – This is the expert who is telling your story and subtly weaving in your product or brand messaging. It could be a third-party expert, celebrity or a corporate spokesperson when appropriate.
- Format – In an SMT schedule it can mean several things, including the actual medium – TV, radio, blogs and websites.
- Live Bookings are those that are happening well, LIVE.
- Pre-tapes are segments that are being taped to air at another time.
- Tape and Ship means we are recording the interview in the studio and sending the station a link of the entire interview.
- Newshook – How are we grabbing the producer’s attention? Are we tying the story a seasonal news peg like spring cleaning? Are we latching onto a month, like National Diabetes Awareness Month? Or a new trend, breaking news or public health concern—like a flu outbreak? What is the “news-you-can-use” that will help convey your message?
- Visuals – What is being shown to make the interview more visually appealing? Is the SMT taking place from an inspired remote location – poolside at a hotel, an amusement park or a studio kitchen set? Is there compelling b-roll or a studio made to look like something else entirely, like Santa’s workshop?
- Green Screen – A green background in front of which moving subjects are filmed and which allows a separately filmed background to be added to the final image.
- B-roll – Background video to be rolled in while the talent is speaking.
- Walk-through – Accessing the studio or remote location the day before so you can check out the space and even have your talent do a few run-throughs.
- Green Room – A comfortable room, (usually not green), where you can sit and watch the interviews while enjoying coffee and a continental breakfast.
- Media Training – Coaching your talent/ spokesperson to subtly deliver your key messages while telling a well-informed and balanced story.
- Air Check – A recording of an interview from a viewer’s perspective; in other words, what viewers actually see once the station airs the interview.
Ready for National Exposure?
By employing a multi-faceted approach that engages TV, radio, bloggers and websites, in addition to a well-honed pitch, engaging spokesperson, well-coordinated outreach plan, and a knowledgeable media partner in your corner, you can be assured to reach your target audience and maximize impressions.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: RISA CHUANG
Risa Chuang is the Director of Media Relations at MultiVu, a Cision company. In her role, she manages the execution of broadcast solutions and media strategies for clients in the healthcare, consumer, technology, nonprofit and automotive space. During her eight-year tenure at MultiVu, she has successfully managed hundreds of media tours and has effectively directed a multitude of high profile media strategies. Prior to working at MultiVu, Risa spent seven years at MediaLink working as an on-site live events producer and a media relations manager. She started her career working at Worldwide Television News (WTN), ABC’s international news bureau, obtaining facilities for domestic and foreign broadcasters covering news events around the globe. Risa also has a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) degree and taught business English in Portugal and Poland. She later followed up with a brief stint teaching English and ESL at an inner city high school. She is also an active volunteer at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in New York City. Risa has a B.S. in Communications from Ithaca College, and an M.A in International Education from New York University.
MultiVu, a Cision/PR Newswire division, produces and places compelling content strategically across multiple channels globally to deliver targeted results and drive desired engagement. Created in 2002 from network news veterans and media relations professionals, MultiVu has grown into a content creation and media strategy company, leading in the broadcast communications industry. More information can be found on www.multivu.com.