Archive for May, 2017

Looking Good on TV – Part One (Book Excerpt)

May 31, 2017

In my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, I cover a lot of topics that are all part of the process to polish on-camera interviews.  Viewers will size you up quickly and since TV is a visual medium, you (or your client) need to make sure to look good on TV — and it’s not just about the message.

As you focus on your verbal delivery, mastering the art of conveying your unique knowledge with assurance and ease, you must at the same time never forget that your appearance is equally critical for success on television.  In this series of blog posts, I’m sharing a chapter from my book, so here is Looking Good on TV (Part One).

For any appearance on camera, you must take complete control over every detail of your personal appearance with appropriate wardrobe choices, professional makeup and hair, and a vocal delivery that exudes confidence. It’s all part of your on-camera package, and will even precede your message in making that first impression with a television audience ready to size you up in a matter of seconds.

People shouldn’t judge you by your appearance, but they will. You’ve heard it said that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. When television viewers first see you on camera on their favorite TV talk show or in a newscast, they make an initial judgment in the first four seconds and that judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds (or less). Everything contributing to the way you look on camera is important and if it’s not helping you, it’s, unfortunately, hurting you. A first impression can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo so you must set a favorable tone from the first moment viewers see and hear you.

Wardrobe Guidelines for On-Camera Talent

Your wardrobe choices are a major factor in controlling how you appear and appeal to viewers. As a producer, I have a keen sense of what clothes look best on camera and what clothes are a fashion disaster. A little wardrobe planning, including perhaps some professional guidance about what works and what doesn’t work on camera, can go a long way toward helping you craft a look that projects the confidence and trustworthiness needed to get your message through to viewers.

In order to choose the best wardrobe for your interviews, let’s take a general look at style, color, prints and pattern, fabric, jewelry, accessories, and shoes, and review some miscellaneous do’s and don’ts.

Style for Men and Women

You certainly want to make a good first impression with a quality wardrobe when you appear on camera, but that does not mean that you have to invest thousands of dollars in designer clothes. In fact, a few simple guidelines can lead to smart choices in quality garments that will make you look like a million bucks without investing a small fortune.

Style – Men. Whether you are a CEO, chef, or a Hollywood animal trainer, you should choose the right attire that fits your profession, position, and your company culture. Not all CEOs wear suits and not all animal trainers wear khaki shorts and even if you do, you should evaluate how that attire will look on camera and make adjustments to favorably portray your personal brand.

For most men in professional careers, a wwell-fittedsuit is an obvious choice. Black and dark blue suits work best and you will need to pay attention not just to the patterns and color of your shirt, but the tie as well. Avoid vests because they are outdated and tend to look a little stuffy on TV.

Men should have about an inch of their shirt cuff showing past their suit sleeves. Sometimes a trendy style may read well in certain situations, but it can look ridiculous on camera or simply not flatter you.

Style – Women. Women have many choices when it comes to fashionable attire but if you remember this simple rule, it’ll take you a long way: If it doesn’t flatter you, do not wear it. I don’t care if it’s the hottest new trend, do not wear it.

Lately, I’ve noticed a huge trend for female on-air personalities, hosts, and anchors to wear sleeveless dresses and blouses — even in the middle of winter. This can be a good look if your upper arms are toned and tanned, but it can be very unflattering if you do not work out or are a tad overweight. Also, you have to apply body makeup on your arms. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean you have to wear it.

I personally think that it’s better to dress with classic pieces that have timeless value. The investment you make in your wardrobe will go further as a result and you can think in terms of building on your wardrobe instead of replacing it the moment the fashion trends turn. Obviously, if your expertise is fashion, then you need to make a more personalized decision to reflect your profession, but for the “rest of us,” it’s best to find outfits that flatter what we have to work with. That said, one way to determine how to dress for your interview is to take note of what on-air talent tends to wear and modify it to your personal style and profession.

 

Our next post? What colors work best on TV and the colors to avoid.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2017 by Marianne Schwab. Excerpt reprinted with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

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How Much Does Product Placement Cost? Infographic Provides an Easy Overview

May 30, 2017

Have you ever wondered about how product placements work on television shows and in movies? If you have seen a brand product in a TV show or film, you can bet that it’s no accident and that there was a deal done to get that product placed in the scene.

Well, my company, CMP Media Cafe, helps our clients, brands, and services, get featured in broadcast media via television talk shows, lifestyle programs, newscasts, and radio. We use earned media placements and integrated marketing strategies including sponsored content, but there are many other ways to get featured inside of episodic programs, daytime shows, and even films via product placement.

The costs for product placement are like comparing apples to oranges since there are so many variables, each brand has different goals, and each production has different offerings.  In fact, there is not one single strategy or rate card for what the budget investment will be since each production is unique in its content creator team, distributor, cast and of course, storyline.

However, Hollywood Branded has created an at-a-glance infographic along with an informative blog post that will give you an overview of all that is involved in product placement costs, including single one-offs to comprehensive programs.   Read more about how much product placements cost.

Infographic Courtesy of Hollywood Branded.

So, if you want to learn more about to get your brand or client featured on television, feel free to connect with me and we can explore the best strategies to help you achieve results.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Things You Must Know Before You Pitch a TV Talk Show or News Program

May 24, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes that P.R. pros make when it comes to pitching TV talk show, lifestyle and news format program is that they don’t think like a television producer or reporter. In fact, this single issue is the key to success when it comes to increasing your results that land your client on the air.

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, that outlines the four things you must know before you pitch:

Your interview booking success rate will take a curve upward when you study and understand the differences among the talk shows and news programs you pitch to with your media alert. In addition to everything else that we discussed so far, this is one of the biggest secrets to getting booked on TV and if you skip this step, your efforts will tank. Here are four things you absolutely must know before you pitch to a television producer.

#1. Know the Show You’re Pitching. When I was a producer on daytime talk shows, I think one of the most annoying aspects of my job was when I would receive pitches from publicists (and other professionals who should know better) that had no clue what the show was about. I’d often find that I was getting pitched a Jerry Springer Show sort of segment when I was working on a light celebrity interview and how-to-segment driven show, Live with Regis & Kathie Lee. Some shows showcase doom and gloom, but others opt for fun and fluff so don’t get egg on your face and ruin a valuable relationship with a producer by wasting their time with a pitch that is not suited for their show.

I remember many times during my days as a producer that a publicist managed to get me on the phone and then proceeded with a pitch that was not appropriate for our show format. I’d ask them if they watched the show I produced. They would usually respond with, “No, I work during the day so I cannot watch your show.” I’m sorry, but that’s no excuse since this was when it was already quite easy to record programs. A day job should never have prevented a professional publicist from studying the show they pitched in hopes of getting their client booked as a guest.

There are many reasons to understand the different types of talk shows when you want to pitch your idea to producers. The number one reason is that you don’t want to waste their time if the story angle you’re pitching is not appropriate for their show.

You can go to my website at MediaTrainingGuide.com and get a free bonus containing a downloadable list of current national network and syndicated talk shows, with short descriptions of the shows and links to their websites, to make this easy for you. When you are forging your media plan, you should make a point of watching at least one to two episodes of the shows you feel would be a good fit for you and your message.

#2. Know the Format of the Show You’re Pitching. Talk shows and lifestyle programs come in all shapes and sizes. There are LIVE daily shows, taped shows, tape delayed shows, shows that tape daily, shows that tape two shows a day for three days straight, hour-long shows, half-hour-long shows, celebrity driven shows, issue driven shows, segment driven shows, trailer trash shows, and the list goes on and on.

In addition, you should know the length of the show. Is it thirty minutes, sixty minutes, ninety minutes, or two hours? There are some morning news programs that are four hours long. You should also take a look at the type of stories the show is producing based on the hour of the day. For example, the national morning shows tend to focus more on hard news stories in their first hour and then lighten it up in the second hour. If they have a third hour, they’ll typically make that hour more lifestyle oriented, but those are not steadfast rules so you need to really study each show carefully.

#3. Know the Audience of the Show You’re Pitching. The variety of talk shows in the marketplace is reason enough why you should clearly know the show your pitching – its scope, its nuances, not to mention the ever-changing formats. The shows also have different viewer demographics, and producers are under constant pressure to appeal to their particular audience of viewers, whether they be career professionals watching before commuting to work, stay at home moms, etc. Also, keep in mind that viewers in today’s world include people tuning in on multiple devices such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads, laptops, and desktops. Then segments from the show are often shared via social media.

#4. Know Who To Pitch. After you have all your ducks in a row it finally comes down to knowing who to pitch at a show. In general, your best bet is going to be to get the name of a producer. This is where it gets tricky because it’s getting more and more difficult to find out who’s who, but I have an easy secret. Every Friday, most shows run long credits that include their entire staff. Set your DVR to record the Friday programs and then review it to write down the names of producers. Now, you may have to do a little Googling to figure out email addresses, but you can always send your pitch via snail mail as a start to the mailing address of the show.

Finally, do not mass mail every producer on the show. Start with one and if you don’t get a response or can’t get them on the phone to pitch them, then move on to the next name. Keep pitching until you get an answer. Never give up because sometimes even with a good pitch, it’s just a matter of timing. I used to hold on to good pitches and when the “stars aligned,” we’d book the segment.

I hope you’ve learned a lot from this excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, available on Amazon. In the book, I share behind-the-scenes insider secrets on how to get booked on television shows that even P.R. pros don’t know. Also, if you provide media training services to your clients, this is a great guide to tips on how to ace on-camera interviews.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2017 by Marianne Schwab. Excerpt reprinted with Permission.

All Rights Reserved.

P.R. Pros Should Know the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

May 22, 2017

Are you familiar with the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics? I recently participated in a Twitter chat with SPJ and ethics were the topic of the discourse. The current version of the SPJ Code of Ethics was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society’s members. Sigma Delta Chi’s first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926.

The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of journalists, regardless of place or platform, and is widely used in newsrooms and classrooms as a guide for ethical behavior. The code is intended not as a set of “rules” but as a resource for ethical decision-making. It is not — nor can it be under the First Amendment — legally enforceable. I personally believe that anyone who works for the media or with the media should review this and have it “tatooed” on their forehead. Well, not literally, of course, but certainly figuratively.

Although the SPJ Code of Ethics is required study for most students of journalism and professionals working in the press, I question whether or not many journalists are living by this code based on what I see on daily on network and cable TV news reports (and online outlets) that lack balance and often use sound bites out of context in a way that screams bias.

Since public relations is the source of many news stories, the SBJ Code of Ethics should be adopted by all P.R. Pros who work with the press to maintain journalistic integrity. For easy reference, we’re sharing the code here and you can download the SPJ Code of Ethics as a PDF Poster and even a Bookmark on their website. This is a great resource to have handy in your office.

The SPJ Code of Ethics

PREAMBLE:  Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principles and standards of practice.

SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT:  Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists should:

  • Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
  • Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
  • Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
  • Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
  • Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
  • Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
  • Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
  • Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.
  • Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.
  • Never plagiarize.
  • Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
  • Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
  • Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
  • Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
  • Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
  • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
  • Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
  • Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

 

ACT INDEPENDENTLY: Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know. Journalists should:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
  • Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

 

BE ACCOUNTABLE:  Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other. Journalists should:

  • Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
  • Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
  • Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
  • Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
  • Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

 

MINIMIZE HARM:  Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. Journalists should:

  • Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage.
  • Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
  • Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
  • Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort.
  • Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
  • Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about
  • themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention.
  • Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
  • Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
  • Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
  • Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
  • Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Here’s to the integrity of all journalistic endeavors.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Checklist for a Successful Satellite Media Tour Production

May 17, 2017

Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) have been around for several decades and even with all the new bells and whistles in the P.R. tool box, they are still one of the most effective ways to make a big media splash with TV (and radio with the SMT/RMT hybrid) in a five-hour span of time.

CMP Media Cafe SMT on location in Oahu.

An SMT is a series of pre-booked interviews conducted via satellite with a spokesperson in one city and television station reporters in selected cities across the country. The spokesperson speaks from one location in our Los Angeles or New York studio (or any studio or location in the country or around the world) and we electronically switch the spokesperson in sequence from one station to another, conducting live or taped one-on-one interviews with local reporters. In essence, a spokesperson can visit 15-to-25 cities in a matter of hours and this gives your company immediate access to the news media.

Once you’ve determined the basics for your SMT including your story angle, spokesperson, and have a booked tour, here are a few tips to guarantee a successful satellite media tour.

The Day Before the SMT – Checklist

The devil is in the details and the day before the tour is all about the spokesperson and a studio set check.

For the Spokesperson. There are five essential items that you need to do prior to the SMT. If you haven’t addressed these key ingredients prior to this date, this is the final opportunity.

  • Invest in Media Training.  I highly recommend a media training session. You are investing a significant amount of budget into the SMT and going that little extra on the budget is like insurance. Even if you have an experienced spokesperson or celebrity, they need to prep for THIS message. Not convinced? We have five questions to ask about media training that are a must read. We offer media training services. In fact, I’ve even written a book on it: The Insider’s Guide to Media Training.
  • Discuss Wardrobe Options.  There are specific rules for dressing for television so do not rely on your spokesperson to “show up” in a wardrobe you find pleasing or that represents your brand. There is a lot to this topic so please download this free wardrobe and make-up tip sheet that I offer as a bonus to readers of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training.
  • Confirm a Professional Make-Up Artist. We provide a professional make-up artist for all of our SMTs as part of our package. You need someone who understands the art of applying make-up for TV since it is different from other specialties. We work pros who have provided services for A-list celebrities, but if you have a celebrity spokesperson, they may want to hire a specific make-up artist so definitely ask them well before the date of the SMT if this is a preference. Also, make sure you confirm the rate for a specific make-up artist since the rate may exceed the “going rate” for SMTs and that budget needs to be approved so you’re not dealing with any surprise overages.
  • Prepare Cue Cards for Main Message Points. Even the most experienced spokespersons occasionally need to reference cue cards. In the situation of an SMT, there is a lot of deja vu happening when a spokesperson repeats the same interview up to 25 times so cue cards should be prepared to help guide them. I like to recommend that the spokesperson prepares their own since they are working with the messaging in their own words, but it is essential that these are CUE cards and NOT the script on cue cards. You can also work with them to provide them if they do not want this responsibility. You don’t need special materials for this. It’s easy to just print them out on a regular paper (use Landscape/Horizontal printing).
  • Ask About Catering Requests. Our SMTs always include a catered hot breakfast and in the era of “special needs eaters,” don’t forget to ask your spokesperson if they any special requests (or dietary restrictions) for catering. You don’t want a cranky spokesperson because they’re missing their favorite breakfast food or latte. Communicate any special requests to your SMT producer.

Visit the Studio and Set.  If the set has special requirements including props, always visit the studio and approve the set the day before the tour. This is generally done in the late afternoon (between 3pm to 5pm) since the studio will have other projects using the space prior to that time. Your SMT producer can make special arrangements, if needed, for earlier access. Make sure that any imperative props that are shipped arrive two days before the SMT and always have a contingency plan. If it is not an option to visit the set, request that the producer email photos of the set to you in advance so they can make any adjustments in advance (if necessary).

Plan On an Early Night.  Most SMTs require a 5:00am or 6:00am arrival or call time (that’s on the East Coast) and three hours earlier for the West Coast, so plan for an early night so you’re well rested. Also, confirm a car service or know your route the studio in advance.

 

The SMT Production Day – Checklist

If you have done your work the day before, then the day of production is an easy one so you can arrive at the studio, greet the spokesperson and while they’re in make-up, you can grab your breakfast in the green room.

Brief the Spokesperson. While the talent is make-up, take the opportunity to review the messaging for the day and ask them if they have any final questions. If you have new information that may help them (like a breaking news story reporters may ask about), prepare them with an appropriate response and way to pivot back to messaging.

Set the Cue Cards. Work with the producer to get the cue cards set for the Spokesperson for messaging. If a teleprompter is available, we put the info regarding the name of the anchor, station, and market so that the Spokesperson has an opportunity to personalize each interview. If a teleprompter is not an option, the small cue cards will do the trick and the cameraman will usually change them out between interviews.

Technical Rehearsal. I always schedule a technical rehearsal with the spokesperson at least 25 minutes before our first SMT interview (or hit). This gives the talent an opportunity to get warmed up and the control room can fine tune any tape roll-ins so that the b-roll will match the messaging or camera operators are clear on what their framing will be (if it’s a two camera SMT). Finally, this is your chance to help the spokesperson polish any final messaging. Watch their body language and make sure they are not slouching, fidgeting, or touching their hair (or other nervous gestures) and make them aware of it so they can self-correct.

Pay Attention to Each Interview.   It’s very easy to get distracted during a long SMT with emails and other business, but don’t do it. Follow along with each interview since no one knows the messaging better than you do and if the Spokesperson gets off message or gets thrown a curve ball with an interview, be ready to assist with any redirection. Keep in mind that your attitude and energy will directly impact your spokesperson, so supportive and excited when relaying feedback on messaging. It’s also best to have only one person in charge of communicating feedback so that the Spokesperson does not get rattled by too many voices. Determine with the SMT Producer how you want to handle this in advance. High energy is a must so keep an eye out to ensure the talent doesn’t start to fade or lose any steam in the middle of a tour. Finally, take notes about particularly good interviews that you may want to get as airchecks.

Document and Share on Social.   Take the opportunity to take lots of photos and short videos for social media channels. Get posed shots as well as some candid looks from behind-the-scenes. Keep it fun and light. You may want to have some tweets and posts preplanned and in your back pocket as well as short video tweet ideas (think in 9 seconds or less), snapchats, and Facebook live with a sneak peek behind-the-scenes in real-time. Promote the live events the day before and, if you’re working with a celebrity, ask for questions in advance and they’ll answer them live on social. Help prepare some witty responses, where appropriate, that weaves in a short plug for your product. Integrating social media into the mix adds even more value to the SMT. You may want to wait until you get your final SMT rundown until you schedule the social media and then plug it into the schedule, but be sure you let your SMT producer know you need this scheduled in.

Stay Calm and Carry On. There are a lot of moving parts during the SMT and even the best-planned events can have a wrinkle or two. If you’re working with a professional team, they’ll handle any unexpected events in a calm fashion.

If you’re considering an SMT for your client or brand, please feel free to contact me at CMP Media Cafe for a free consultation regarding your project.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

 

 

 

Multimedia News Releases (MNRs) Are Press Releases on Steroids That Increase Earned Media Results

May 4, 2017

Want to increase your earned media results and make your press release get journalists to sit up and take notice? Well, then you need to turn it into a Multimedia News Release (or MNR). They are press releases on steroids and can increase earned media results dramatically. In fact, 71% of journalists need PR pros to provide more multimedia content according to a recent survey by Cision which also uncovered that some journalists always (or often) use multimedia elements in their story. The bottom line is they need your visual elements to support your story.

Source: Cision

In case MNRs are new to you, they are a media package distributed through a wire service that includes press releases with multimedia content along with documents, images, video, and infographics or other multimedia elements.

There is no doubt that media consumption preferences of Americans have changed and there is a trend toward mobile readership with a significant uptick in video requirements.  We eagerly consume with our eyes and feast on the latest food and beverage products, tech gadgets, fashion trends, beauty tips, sports gear, and so much more, and multimedia offers a spicy “zing” journalists and bloggers are looking for to make content come alive.

In response to these trends, journalists are now catering to this increased multimedia use and PR pros can get a leg up if they implement images, graphics, and video, into their press release strategy. MNRs are the best tools to deliver journalists what they need. By providing multimedia content, you can increase your earned media opportunities and provide more engaging stories to the consumers you want to reach with your brand.

When you use an effective earned media strategy, MNRs can provide an opportunity for you to tell newsworthy stories in a variety of formats. You can also build brand credibility, educate, entertain, and, ultimately, drive business forward with your targeted consumer audience.

Source: Cision

With thousands of news releases being distributed every day, your story needs to grab the attention of journalists and newsroom decision-makers. By incorporating multimedia elements like photos and videos you can get traffic bumps of up to 77% according to some sources. If you’re looking for opportunities to reach a broader audience and drive more views, then an MNR is a powerful way to do this since the content can be shared on blogs or across social channels in addition to broadcast, thereby spreading a release’s main messages even further.

Creating multimedia news releases are a smart PR tactic and here are some guidelines to consider when producing content for your MNR:

#1 – Start with an attention-grabbing headline. Journalists cited press releases and story leads as their #1 most valuable PR resource in a recent Cision study. They scan through hundreds of stories on the newswires and field over 500 emails or more each day, so unless you have written a headline for your story that grabs their attention right away, you are not going to cut through all the clutter. We have five ways to write headlines that will increase your earned media results so you will want to check it out on our blog.

#2 – Write a user-friendly press release. Think like a journalist or blogger when you write your MNR press release and write it (or adapt it) to that style of writing. You must break free of the standard rules for writing press releases to have the most success with a more newsy or friendly writing style.

#3 – Think of your story visually. It’s very easy to get caught up in the written word and not consider images to support your story angle, but it essential that you think about visual storytelling.

#4 – Photos. Visual storytelling is a critical pillar in any effective communication strategy so think about how to support your story with strong images that nail it. Photographs and graphics (including infographics) are the easiest way to bring your story to life. Provide the highest resolution image possible to allow journalists and your audience to resize the media for different channels. Also, your multimedia elements must be yours or be free and properly licensed since you need to provide the images for free and unrestricted use.

#5 – Videos. If a picture paints a thousand words, then video paints a million. With today’s access to easy video production and editing tools, you don’t need a video production expert to create a good video, but you may want to hire a consultant to guide you through the process who has newsroom sensibilities and experience. We’ve produced high-quality news-style videos on a minimal budget using high-resolution photos and edit moves (i.e. push, pull, pan, zoom) combined with sound bites and/or just a simple voice over. Here are a few video tips to be successful with production and earned media results:

  • Less is More: 60 seconds or less is a general ideal length for videos and 30 seconds is even better so your script needs to be concise since most viewers have a very short attention span. According to Ad Age, you will lose 33% of viewers by 30 sec, 45% by 1 minute, 60% by 2 minutes, so you can see how important an experienced content producer is for helping you develop your video.

Viewer Engagement Research by Visible Measures

  • Think ahead: Before you edit or shoot, you need to develop a script and/or a storyboard to ensure your message comes across as you intended. In the case of a real-time, live-streaming event, your featured “player” should have some newsworthy sound bites prepared that compliment or reinforce your message.
  • Turn quotes into soundbites. While reporters typically like to conduct their own interviews, they will often grab a quote from a release or a soundbite from an MNR if they’re under a time crunch. Make your sound bite of choice even more appealing to reporters/bloggers by giving them a video file to embed with their article. Also, make it memorable and newsworthy (or don’t bother).
  • Be creative but don’t overdo it: If you notice the directing, it is bad directing. It’s okay to be creative if that’s part of your industry, then go for it, but don’t do fancy camera moves that make the audience notice the camera move more than what is being said. You can use extreme angles to create a dramatic effect but only if it makes sense for your story.

#6 – Make it social media friendly. Think about how your MNR and elements can be shared across social media channels including YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more. If you have a great story, you get even more traction.

#7 – Don’t go it alone. There’s a lot that goes into the content creation of an MNR to make it successful. At CMP Media Cafe, we work closely with our clients to develop the most effective content creation story angle and visual assets including the best MNR distribution package for your brand to guarantee success.

How effective are MNRs? Depending on how the MNR is constructed, the category or industry, and newsworthiness of the story, it’s not uncommon to see reach results hit 75 million UVPMs. If you’d like to learn more, please contact CMP Media Cafe.

Perhaps we can officially declare text-only press releases a thing of the past because MNRs help make your story more attractive and easier for reporters to access the content they need.

 

NOTE: Cision’s annual survey of more than 1,550 North American journalists and influencers reveals key findings on how journalists use news releases and multimedia to tell better stories. According to the Cision 2017 State of the Media Report, when communicators pair compelling messages with rich formats like photos, videos, social media posts, infographics and data, they can drive better and more accurate coverage and increase earned media opportunities.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe