December 1, 2010
Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) are a popular public relations tool for reaching broadcast media – and for good reason. A well-executed SMT can provide wide exposure for a client in a relatively short period of time. An SMT typically involves offering a celebrity, expert or company spokesperson for remote one-on-one interviews with television stations. The back-to-back interviews are conducted via satellite.
I recently helped coordinate an SMT for one of our home industry clients – starting with the initial concept and taking it through to successful completion. Here are a few things I learned along the way to make the most of an SMT:
- Think Outside the Studio: Most SMTs are shot on a nondescript studio set – but who says that has to be the case? If the subject matter lends itself to a more interesting location, go for it! For our client Trex®, which manufactures wood-alternative decking and railing, we broadcasted live from a beautiful outdoor deck made of Trex materials – enabling us to showcase our client’s product in a more natural and interesting setting.
- Switch the Pitch: What interests the media can vary from week to week. When our initial pitch to media wasn’t generating the response we wanted, we tried a few different angles until we found the one that created a high level of interest. Ask colleagues who aren’t so closely entrenched for ideas, and don’t overlook the expertise of your spokesperson, who may have an interesting perspective.
- Pitch the Person, Not the Product: The key to a successful SMT is to remember that you are pitching a person – not a product. Play up the aspects of your spokesperson that make him or her unique. Is it his or her experience? Quirky sense of humor? Style? Our Trex spokesperson was a decking expert – who also played in a rock band. We were able to position his “rock n’ roll” approach to outdoor deck planning for a more quirky story.
- Keep it Simple: Simplify key messages so your spokesperson can put them in his or her own words and incorporate them into a variety of answers – no matter what question is asked. Complicated key messages will make your spokesperson sound robotic and likely lead to shortened interviews.
- Caffeinate: Conducting 5, 10 or even 15 interviews in a row can get repetitious for even the best spokesperson, and early morning start times don’t make it any easier. Keep your spokesperson fresh by scheduling breaks and offering plenty of coffee and encouragement!