Many PR professionals deal exclusively with print media. That’s a shame, because broadcast (TV and radio) offers some excellent opportunities and advantages, whether you’re on a talk show, newscast, or public affairs program.
(Note, here I’m discussing broadcast media, not online channels such as YouTube, although much of what I say will apply to YouTube and its ilk as well.)
There are good reasons to include broadcast in any publicity program:
- Broadcast deals in sounds, visuals and action, in addition to words. This enlarges the potential for – and impact of – publicity.
- You can reach a large number of people with broadcast. Almost everyone listens to some radio or watches some TV each day.
However, dealing with broadcast is trickier than dealing with print media. With rare exception, I advise clients to “master” print media first, and then move onto broadcast. After all:
- Broadcast is essentially entertainment. True, a few popular programs are informational and educational, but most successful programs are decidedly “show biz.”
- Broadcast thrives on action, conflict and catastrophe even more than print does. Good news is rarely reported.
- In lots of ways, broadcast is more competitive than print. Broadcast has a much smaller “news hole.” It’s estimated that an entire 30-minute newscast could fit on the front page of a daily newspaper – with room to spare.
- You are at the mercy of breaking news. I’ve had clients get bumped from live interviews on newscasts because major events intervened.
- Broadcast is extremely time sensitive. The program will go to the commercial break whether or not you’ve finished your thought.
- People are often distracted when listening to the radio or watching TV, making it harder to get and keep their attention. Your material has to compete with traffic, dinner and housework.
- Most broadcast is intended for a mass audience. Technical, industry-specific topics are generally restricted to specialized channels and programs.
- Taping a TV segment is complicated. Instead of a single reporter with a notebook or laptop, a taping requires an entire crew of people. It’s a large investment, and most stations manage that investment carefully.
In my next post, I’ll give you some tips on how to deal effectively with broadcast media.