Seasons of Zoom
One Year Later: The Evolution of Virtual Media Tours
One year of working from home. One year of social distancing. One year of pivoting at every possible turn. One year to reinvent everything we had known before the pandemic. So, as broadcast professionals, what did we learn?
Going Virtual is Possible
The business of producing satellite media tours has always happened in person, IN studios, or in remote locations in the field. So, when all non-essential businesses were closed indefinitely, we wondered how we would produce in-studio tours NOT in studios. Technology allowed us to immediately turn our Satellite Media Tours into Virtual Media Tours, with everyone from talents to producers broadcasting live from their own homes.
Zoom: a Verb or Noun?
Video conferencing technologies have allowed us to remain close to teammates, create virtual green rooms for clients, and provide the perfect means for spokespeople to connect with TV stations.
In the initial weeks of the pandemic, stations were devoted to COVID-19 stories. As time went on and everyone saw that we were in it for the long haul, stations welcomed COVID-19 adjacent stories on topics such as working from home, adjusting to remote education, chronic disease amidst COVID, and taking staycations. Within a few months, stations were hungry for lighter lifestyle stories and a much-needed break from all of the unprecedented hard news. And now, as vaccinations roll out, media and consumer attitudes have reflected an increased hope for a return to something resembling “normal,” and stations have begun to book select travel and entertainment segments.
Virtual Interview Booking Benefits
Stay-at-home orders applied to pretty much everyone, including TV news producers and hosts. No longer confined to a tight newsroom schedule, hosts were more flexible with scheduling. Conducting interviews via Zoom instead of via satellite also meant that interviews were less likely to be bumped for breaking news.
Pandemic Booking Challenges
With most of us forced to wear more hats than usual, response time with our station contacts definitely lengthened. As most producers were also at home and juggling personal and family responsibilities, it often took longer to get a response to a pitch. And the few producers who took pitch calls pre-pandemic changed to communicating via email only.
Zoom Camera Ready
For our in-studio SMTs, we’ve always offered best practices for our talents, including everything from what to wear to how to deliver your message naturally while wearing an IFB earpiece and sitting under the bright studio lights. Enter the VMT and the creation of a whole new set of rules! Some top tips for talents now include: find a quiet spot in your home or office, be sure you have a strong internet connection that isn’t being shared by other devices in the home, frame yourself properly, and tidy up your background. And most importantly: never, ever sit in front of a window!
As every aspect of our lives has changed in the last year, so too has the media tour evolved – in 525,600 minutes.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: Stephanie Rittenhouse
Stephanie is Manager of the Media Relations Department and also spearheads MultiVu’s social media presence. She is a seasoned broadcast PR vet and has worked at News Broadcast Network, Medialink, and WestGlen Communications. Stephanie holds a B.A. in Communications from Fordham University, is a native Brooklynite, and can whip out a relative Seinfeld quote for absolutely any situation.
ABOUT THE EXPERT: Maggie McMahon
Maggie McMahon, Media Relations Specialist. Maggie has booked hundreds of high-profile satellite media tours in her seven years with MultiVu. Prior to this, Maggie was a freelance copywriter and independent publicist. Maggie's clients included MediaLink, HarperCollins, Penguin Books, HCI Books, as well as bestselling authors, celebrities, and experts. She has worked as publicity manager for ReganBooks/HarperCollins Publishers, handling author tours and corporate communications. She also held positions as copy chief for Bantam Books and copywriter for Berkley Publishing. She has a B.A. in English from the University of Georgia.
MultiVu is the strategic team at Cision dedicated to the creation and targeted distribution of creative content. Our award-winning diverse pool of industry-leading talent are extremely passionate about partnering with our clients, bringing best-in-class stories and concepts to life, and getting those stories to the audiences who want to experience them most. To start crafting your story, visit us online at www.multivu.com.