Guidelines for Identifying a SMT Spokesperson

Identifying the right spokesperson for your satellite media tour is pivotal to your broadcast public relations success and can be one of the more challenging aspects of producing the SMT. Here are some basic guidelines for identifying a SMT spokesperson when navigating options on this critical decision for your media tour as well as your surrounding public relations campaign.

Choose an Expert Relevant to the SMT Topic or Product. Contracting the appropriate expert for your topic adds credibility to your message. When conducting your spokesperson search, you should look for an expert who has a respected reputation in the industry that makes sense for your product and/or topic. For example if you’re an automotive company, you should identify an appropriate car expert – it could be a consumer editor of an auto magazine, car care specialist, or even a classic car expert depending on your angle.. If you’re message points are geared toward the latest beauty product, then think of ways where an expert like a dermatologist would add credibility to your message.

Experts Should Have a Book or a Blog (or Both). An expert who has written a book or who has a popular blog on their field of expertise will be highly desirable by television and radio producers. There is nothing like a blog or a book to add credibility to your expert as someone who is reputable in their field. Celebrity experts are also a good choice. A celebrity expert is someone like a chef that is well known or a designer that has a TV show

Spokesperson Should Have a Proven Media Appearance Track Record. Look for an expert who has had experience in broadcast media. Your ideal spokesperson will have had numerous radio and TV appearances. If they have not had media experience, you can always media train them, but verify that they have media potential. This can often be determined in an interview either over the phone and ideally face-to-face or via Skype. You want to confirm that your expert is also “media friendly” in their appearance and how they speak.

Social Media Influence a Plus. Although it is not a deal breaker, more and more clients find that a spokesperson who also has a very visible social media presence a necessary part of the equation. This is an added value since the spokesperson can also leverage their social media following to reach a broader and targeted audience by posting interviews of the satellite media tour and even tips regarding the clients message points to their social media outlets. Depending on the industry, keep in mind that many excellent experts may not be social media savvy.

Don’t Over Pay a Spokesperson Fee. How much you pay your spokesperson is always a little bit of the sticky wicket and I am often flabbergasted by the amount that is paid for certain experts or talent for an SMT primarily because I think some clients overpay. Depending on the reputation of the expert, fees can vary dramatically. I’ve seen them range everywhere from $1,000 honorariums up to $100,000 for top celebrity talent. Unless you happen to have an A-List celebrity as your SMT spokesperson, you should not pay more than $5,000-$10,000 in my opinion. The spokesperson’s job is to deliver the message on camera in a credible way, but in most cases the expert you contract (although pivotal to a good interview) is not the main reason stations are going to book the SMT. In most cases, stations will book the interviews based on a strong and provocative story angle. The spokesperson’s credibility, although essential to the story, is not usually the catalyst that ultimately entices producers to book the interview except in the case of an A-list celebrity.

Finally, the question that is sure to come up is, “should the spokesperson be a company executive and or employee?”   The answer to that is that it really depends on a lot of variables where the story angle is concerned and the objective of the satellite media tour. Obviously, the head of Microsoft, Bill Gates, is a very desirable interview. However, unless the company executive is also strategic to the brand or invention of the product, they may not be the best choice as a spokesperson since newsrooms will often perceive that as being “too commercial.” A natural exception would be a company executive responding in a crisis public relations situation.

The spokesperson search for your PR campaign always presents challenges. Feel free to consult with CMP Media Café when you are in planning stages so that we may assist you in navigating options and guide you through this process.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Copyright (c) 2014. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

 

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