The insider guide to getting clients on TV and radio

Tuesday, 11 February 2014, 15:10 | Category : General
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This week we’ve got our very own Nikki Alvey, the first associate to join The PR Network in 2005, to talk about how she’s managed to get all of our clients broadcast coverage already this year. Nikki is a b2b PR consultant specialising in PR for clients in the CRM and retail sectors.

Nikki Alvey

That dreaded client question: “Can you get us some broadcast coverage?” It’s enough to make any PR consultant worthy of their salt shake in their boots – right? Not necessarily…I work with several of The PR Network’s clients and am pleased to confirm that they have all been on at least one BBC TV or radio interview already in 2014. Along with several strokes of luck, let’s be honest, part of what we do is all about being in the right place at the right time, together with working solidly with our clients on their messaging, making their content newsworthy and – most importantly – targeting our approach very specifically to particular broadcast contacts. So here are a few top tips on how to get going with the broadcasters:

1. Work closely with your client to establish key angles that relate to a wider radio or TV audience. There’s little value in focusing on a specific and technical point that the layman isn’t going to be able to relate to or understand. It wastes yours and a journalist’s valuable time – and they will remember that. Simply, take a step back and look at the wider issues your client could comment on before pitching.

2. Build your media list carefully. Research the programme titles, yes – actually listen to the slots and then find out who the producers and planners are. Do copy in some of the presenters/correspondents too – believe it or not they do multi-task and do their own research. Make reference to other pieces they’ve covered recently that bear relevance to your pitch. Don’t however kiss up to them needlessly – they are looking for good solid stories and have very little time to find them.

3. Make your pitch short, snappy and relevant. Also – if you’re doing a big report launch or similar, send a heads up email a week or a few days ahead – if they deem it relevant they may well post it to the central news calendars where other programmes will see it too. Also consider using embargoes on news to give them time to build the story into their programme.

4. Offer up media interviews – but make sure your client or their customer etc., are ACTUALLY AVAILABLE when you say they will be. Explain the importance of this to clients before you pitch – opportunities are often very last minute so they will need to make themselves available to give great comments, often live. This is a problem that producers are always telling me about – PR consultants send in stories, but then have no-one available to speak at short notice. Remember for example that the BBC Breakfast TV studios are in Manchester – your client needs to be willing to get there, often around 5 or 6am. Radio interviews normally require a land line or ISDN – or for clients to travel to a local studio to keep to quality standards. Make certain they are willing to do this – first.

5. A no-brainer really, but make sure your client is prepared for the interview. Go over media training tips about speaking slowly and clearly, clothes codes for TV (nothing stripy, dotted etc) and that they thank the producers for the opportunity afterwards. As my mum would say, manners cost nothing and your client will more likely to be invited back.

There’s no hard and fast rule to getting on TV and radio really, but by bearing in mind the points above and with some good timing you’ll fare well. After all, if you have solid and relevant content with a fully briefed, enthusiastic and available client to bring the story to life, who could say no?! I wish you the best of luck.

Nikki Alvey, Senior Associate, The PR Network @NikkiAlvey

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