Thursday, October 09, 2008

Newsroom Secrets for Satellite Media Tours

by Amy Fond / Cameron Communications Inc.

"Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) consist of a sequence of one-on-one satellite interviews with a series of pre-booked television reporters across the country or around the world. Satellite media tours typically involve an interview with an author, performer, executive or other spokesperson promoting an upcoming event, product, movie or book release. SMTs generally are conducted from a studio but can originate from remote locations and may be aired live by the television station or recorded for a later airing."
- Medialink Worldwide, Inc.

A Satellite Media Tour can be a great tool to promote your campaign across the country to wide audiences. But while your spokesperson is being beamed out nationwide – you may be surprised at what's going on in newsrooms coast to coast. To truly maximize the impact of your SMT it's imperative that your spokesperson is media trained to make sure that your messaging is heard, and that viewers care. But knowing what the reporter on the receiving end is thinking, and doing, can help level the playing field and also lead to success.
Here are some newsrooms secrets for your next SMT - and why training your spokesperson is that much more important.

- They're listening! While your spokesperson is speaking with WPVI, ABC in Philadelphia – WJBK, FOX in Detroit may be listening in. When it's a station's turn for their allotted interview – they dial in to connect to your spokesperson via telephone. The spokesperson will hear the interviewer through a special earpiece called IFB. But even before a station's scheduled interview time – they can dial in and listen to previous interviews being conducted. Without you knowing – a station can hear how your spokesperson is answering questions from other TV stations, and how they handle tough topics! This allows the eaves dropping newsroom to either copy questions they've heard or begin to craft trickier ones. Stations are also listening in to see if your spokesperson is coming off as too commercial. If they think the product is being mentioned too often - they'll cancel their upcoming interview before their turn on the ‘bird’!

- They do want a list of questions from you! More often than not, if you provide a station with a list of questions for your spokesperson, they'll use it. Send over a list of 10 questions you think will help highlight your messaging. Believe it or not - that saves a busy newsroom Producer a lot of time. Training your on-camera talent to successfully answer those questions is a must. The big mistake though, comes when you think a station will ONLY ask those questions. SMTs can often last up to 4 minutes – which means your talent could have a lot of time in the hot seat. They need to be able to tackle whatever comes their way, all the while remembering to deliver their messaging. If they're only prepared for the questions you've crafted – they'll do themselves, and your company, a big disservice. Why do all that work to find the perfect spokesperson and not fully prepare them for success? Crafting your own questions can help – but don't forget about all the other doors stations will try to open.

- They may be taping the interview to run later in their broadcast! Most stations will tell you if they're taping the interview for later use. They may use phrases like "We're putting this to tape." But some stations may not mention how or when they're going to use the interview. If they're taping the interview for later use – that means they can, and will, chop up and edit your spokesperson. If a station thinks the spokesperson was pushing a product too hard – they can cut that part out, meaning your messaging may never get heard. That's why it's even more important to work with your spokesperson so they can deliver your messages in a way that matters to the viewing audience. If a station thinks there's information that viewers will want to hear and will tune in for – they'll run it.

While newsrooms may have their book of tricks to help them conduct SMTs – now you're on the same page. And if your spokesperson is media trained on how to bring in messages points, deflect tough questions, and come off as credible – you can help create a successful campaign and a news segment viewers will watch and remember!

Amy Fond is a Media Trainer and Presentations Coach with Cameron Communications, Inc. She's conducted countless SMT interviews as a Journalist, coordinated numerous SMTs as a Producer, and has Media Trained dozens of clients to successful Satellite Media Tours. For more information: www.mediatrainer.tv or amy@mediatrainer.tv



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