Archive for the ‘Satellite Media Tours’ Category

Five Biggest Satellite Media Tour Mistakes and How to Fix Them

September 13, 2017

Clients invest a significant amount of a public relations budget into a satellite media tour (SMT) and campaign but it can fall apart if they make big mistakes in the planning process. I’ve been producing SMTs for over twenty years so I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and have come up with a list of the five biggest satellite media tour mistakes I’ve encountered over the years with tips on how to fix them. These missteps can be easily avoided and turned into successful broadcast media exposure for your brand, product, or service.

Remote Satellite Media Tour (SMT)

#1 – Choosing the Wrong Spokesperson. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen clients make is engaging the services of the “wrong” expert or celebrity spokesperson – usually because they have not vetted them appropriately for the brand or product they are being asked to represent. If the expert or celebrity has no organic connection to the product, then paying them a big piece of your budget to recite message points just because you like the them (or because they have significant name recognition) is a big mistake. The perfect synergy occurs when the spokesperson really likes the brand, believes in the product, and it’s obvious to viewers in their delivery. Always do your due diligence to determine if a celebrity spokesperson makes sense.

#2 – Not Crafting a Message for a Broadcast Style Interview. It’s a common rookie mistake, but I’ve seen savvy publicity specialists do it, too. They take a written press release (or messaging) which is a crafted P.R. piece full of beautiful prose that sings about the product or brand and then fail to make adjustments from the written word to the spoken word. Not only does the message need to be verbally friendly for it to flow organically off the spokesperson’s tongue, but it also has to be structured and formulated in a way to maximize the message for the short time allotted for the broadcast interview (generally two-and-a-half to three minutes).

In addition to the spoken message points, there is often little or no thought given to the visual elements needed to support the story and if these assets exist. Television is a visual medium and producers love great video, photos, and the right product demos to make the interview come alive so it’s not just “talking heads.” Also, with a celebrity spokesperson, stations will want to ask a question or two outside of their spokesperson duties so planning for those questions and incorporating them into the overall timing of the message is imperative. At CMP Media Cafe, we provide complimentary message point scripts for every satellite media tour. Clients and newsrooms love the results.

#3 – Failing to Create a Suggested Script. You’ve prepared an amazing message for your spokesperson but if you don’t provide the stations with a suggested script, you could be courting disaster. Your best opportunity to control the message from the other side of the camera lies in providing a suggested script to the producer. We find that approximately 90% of stations will use our suggested script for SMTs since their schedules are so hectic with day-to-day activities that they value the assistance to structure the segment if it is written in the proper newscast or program style. That’s where CMP Media Cafe excels since we’ve been crafting television segments for over twenty years. The script format includes a suggested anchor lead, suggested questions, suggested anchor tag, along with suggested lower third supers to identify the spokesperson and information on the corporate client who is providing the segment to be FCC compliant.

#4 – Thinking Your Spokesperson Doesn’t Need Media Training. Depending on your spokesperson’s background or expertise, not all media experience is the same. Actors, celebrities, and experts also don’t have experience with the client’s specific messaging so they need to be professionally media trained so that they ace the on-camera interview(s) for the client. And just because they have a show on the air and are “media savy,” does not mean they’re prepared for satellite media tours. Also, nothing will kill your spokesperson’s on-camera credibility more than verbal fossils (i.e. “ah,” “um,” “uh,” “well,” “so,” “you know,” “er,” and “like” ).  They are distracting, weaken the message, and frankly, make the spokesperson sound bad. As with other nervous habits, they’re probably not aware that they do them.

Finally, media training just for the client message is NOT the same as media training for broadcast interviews that will work for newsroom producers and that’s why you need to hire a media trainer who’s had control room experience and understands how to tone down client messaging that won’t cause a station to bail on the interview because it’s “too commercial.” We have a blog post on five questions to ask about media training your spokesperson before your next SMT so you should definitely check it out. You’ll want to protect your investment in the SMT and spokesperson to maximize your on-air success and achieve your brand awareness goals by adding media training as part of your overall budget. Fees vary from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the media trainer, length of the training, and if you are using a TV studio to get your spokesperson comfortable on the set, speaking to camera, and familiar with fielding questions via the IFB.

#5 – Not Leveraging the SMT Media Splash with Marketing and Social Media Campaigns. Unfortunately, the marketing and publicity departments don’t always synergize their campaigns. I’ve been confused about this disconnect for years since it seems like a no-brainer. Most pros know that consumers need approximately seven exposures to a product before they make a buying decision and that comes from many fronts including TV, radio, online, and print. Planning your satellite media tour to coincide with a brand advertising and marketing campaign is the best way to create media buzz. Then leverage online interviews with social media and you’ve created the perfect storm of media exposure And the best part? Editorial interviews from your SMT provide brand credibility that no amount of advertising can buy but the two working together synergistically make a lasting mark in the minds of consumers.

So that’s my list of the five biggest SMT mistakes. To make sure all your “t’s” are crossed and your “i’s” are dotted on your satellite media tour, just follow our checklist.

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. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

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




Broadcast from Rio: Get a Great SMT Camera Position at the Rio Summer Olympics

May 10, 2016

The countdown to the Rio Summer Olympics has begun and there is less than 100 days before the games begin.  If you’ve been dreaming about a way to get your client connected to this event, we’ve teamed with the Associated Press and have a great satellite media tour (SMT) camera position at the Summer Olympics to go live from Rio de Janeiro.

The overlook position provides beautiful, dramatic and panoramic views of Olympic Park in Rio.

NBC will own the airspace from August 5th through August 21st with wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympic Summer Games so this is one way to cut through the clutter with a great story for other network affiliates that want to be a part of the Rio Summer Olympics and be relevant to the news cycle.

P1C Rio Olympic Park

What makes a great SMT story angle for the Rio Summer Olympic Games?

The key is to make your client tie in organic.  Perhaps you represent a sporting goods or sportswear company that is sponsoring an Olympic athlete.  That athlete might make a great spokesperson for an angle like “Top Three Winning Strategies of Olympic Athletes.”  The segment would involve those three tips with one tip about having the right sports gear (with a mention of your client) along with other personal and inspiring tips from one of the world’s finest athletes. An athlete with a great back story that has had media training is also key.

That is just one idea, but hopefully this will get your creative public relations juices flowing.

So if you’re thinking about how a satellite media tour from the Rio Summer Olympics would be a public relations success for your client, feel free to give me a call at 213-986-8070 and we can discuss the nitty gritty about how to make it happen.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe


Digital Media Tours Are a Quick and Easy Way to Reach Your Audience on a Budget

April 21, 2016

You may not have heard about digital media tours, or DMTs, but they are the latest broadcast public relations tool we’ve designed at CMP Media Cafe to help you get substantial media exposure in television, radio and digital online programs. Nothing tells your story like television since it ultimately delivers your video message across multiple digital and social media platforms. Online links to interviews are easy to share on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram shout outs, plus they are often the subject of blog posts and other digital media generating massive exposure and awareness of your message.

DMTs take the satellite media tour, or SMT, generic presentation concept and digitally deliver a pre-recorded two-minute TV segment featuring your book, product, or service directly to meaningful TV markets and radio stations to reach a broadcast audience of over 10 million consumers.

Chef Kirk Leins

How it Works. The DMT package includes complete production and digital distribution of a two-minute TV segment and :60 second audio news release plus a spokesperson interview on a nationally syndicated radio program. The TV segment airs on two national TV programs, Coffee with America and NewsWatch, and five or more local TV lifestyle programs that are strategic for your target markets. The audio news release, ANR, is digitally distributed to local radio stations across the country and we book the spokesperson on Ron Seggi Today, a national radio program syndicated on CRN, USA Radio, and the Armed Forces Network. The audience reach results total over ten million consumer impressions for your DMT package.

Determine if a DMT is a Good Fit. First, we’ll ask you questions about your product and campaign objectives to determine if a DMT is a good fit for your media outreach.

Decide on Local Target Market List. We’ll review TV target markets available that compliment your national or regional product distribution and/or availability and also work with you to identify targeted radio outreach options so that your ANR reaches your ideal audience.

Develop a Story Angle. After we establish that a DMT is the best option, we work with you to develop a balanced story angle that organically positions your product or service as a solution to a problem (or other newsworthy hook).

Write the TV Segment Script. Our Executive Producer, a former network producer who has scripted hundreds of segments for television and radio, will craft and write a two-minute script that seamlessly hits the high notes of your priority message while providing a structure that organically weaves your product into the story angle.

Draft an ANR Script. Based on the TV script, we’ll draft a :60 second audio news release that pulls the most important messaging from your story to deliver to radio listeners across the country.

Identify a Spokesperson. Your DMT spokesperson can be a media savvy lifestyle personality, authority on the topic of your story angle, expert in your industry, or a person who has had a personal experience with the product. If you don’t have a spokesperson, we can provide one of our lifestyle experts if they are a good fit for your message.

Range of Fees. The fees for Digital Media Tours vary based on the type of production and distribution package that works best for your project and whether or not you provide a spokesperson. With our lifestyle expert as your talent, DMTs typically start at $13,500 with a guaranteed audience reach of 10 million impressions and include an Audio News Release (that alone will cost $6,500) and TV production, National TV distribution is included.  DMTs are an exceptionally good value when you compare them to other broadcast public relation tools:

  • Satellite Media Tours (includes 18-22 TV and radio interviews; ranges $18K to $24K*)
  • Co-Op SMTs (your product shares spotlight with three to four other products: ranges $10K to $15K depending on quality of spokesperson and quality of markets guaranteed)
  • Radio Media Tours (include 18-22 radio interviews; range $5K to $9K*)
  • Audio News Releases (Production and distribution range $6K to $12K based on distribution strategy)
  • In-Market Tours (Five to 10 TV Markets, range $10K to $25K based on number of markets and travel expenses*).

*Does Not Included Spokesperson Fees (or Media Training Fees for Spokesperson)

Budget Options: If radio is not a priority for your campaign, then we can exclude the radio outreach option from your DMT to trim your budget (keeping in mind that it will also trim your audience reach dramatically).

The media landscape has evolved dramatically in the last few years and digital media tours are a perfect option for products or services that may not be candidates for SMTs or Co-Op SMTs due to regional availability or a more limited budget.

Feel free to contact us for a free consultation to determine if a digital media tour is right for your broadcast media outreach and also ask about our Premium Targeted Top-Tier Market DMTs. Contact us at 213-986-8070 for more information.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Satellite Media Tours – A Broadcast Public Relations Ticket to Massive Media Exposure

February 28, 2016

Satellite Media Tours, or SMTs, are a broadcast public relations ticket to massive media exposure and one of the most effective ways to get your book, product, or service featured in television, radio and online programs with today’s complex media environment.  Whether you’ve been involved with SMTs in the past or you are brand new to satellite media tours, here are some basics about how they work and what you need to know to ensure media success..

WP Rawl Monique Coleman SMT 03-20-15

Satellite Media Tours Offer Massive Media Exposure.  Satellite Media Tours, or SMTs, can place your product in a news or lifestyle program to give it the same visibility as news and enhance its position in the market by featuring it as a “newsworthy” item. In fact, no amount of advertising can give your product or brand the same credibility that an editorial feature can. CMP Media Café offers over twenty years of live television and Satellite Media Tour production experience, providing studio and remote SMT production services for Fortune 500 companies, PR Agencies, non-profit organizations, authors/publishers, celebrities, and healthcare firms. We specialize in working with clients to develop the right news angle for your SMT story or corporate message and we find that the most effective SMTs are information or problem-solving driven — presenting the client’s company or product as the solution to a problem.

CMP Media Café produces highly successful 15-to-25-city SMT events reaching approximately two million viewers or more. We can produce a tour exclusive for your product or we can co-op your product with other non-competitive companies in order to reduce the overall budget. Your total cost of an SMT depends on the location, satellite time and uplinks (for in-studio or remote locations), spokesperson fees, etc. Our fees include complete concept and script development, coordination and production of the tour, complete station booking, satellite feeds, and monitoring reports. If you need to find the right spokesperson, we can conduct a spokesperson search for an additional fee.

WKYC Emily 02-16-09

How SMTs Work.  A Satellite Media Tour, or 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 instead of weeks, and this gives your company immediate access to the news media. Each interview is approximately two-to-three minutes in length.

Find a Good Media Hook. Factors that influence news producers in booking a satellite media tour including a newsworthy topic, the popularity and credibility of the featured spokesperson or expert, an exciting location, and the ability to make the segment “teaseworthy” to interest viewers to tune into their broadcast. Also, in today’s sensitive sponsorship environment, the client sponsoring the segment and how they present their message is becoming an increasing component to booking a successful SMT.


The Spokesperson is Key. The spokesperson chosen for the SMT should be either a nationally recognized personality, an authority on the topic or expert in the industry, or a person who has had a personal experience with the product and who has media “bookability” and experience. CMP Media Café also provides SMT media training for your selected spokesperson in order to prepare them completely for the tour (additional fees apply). Depending on the spokesperson’s media experience, media training may be absolutely essential for a successful tour.

Monitoring Audience Reach Results. Through closed captioning and personal follow-up with tv stations, we are able to report how many stations aired the interview, the airdates, audience reach viewership numbers, and estimated publicity value of the project. Monitoring reports are issued daily for the first five business days after the initial SMT airdate and weekly when there’s additional activity for a total 4-week reporting period. Contact us at 213-986-8070 for more information.

Hiring a Company to Produce Your SMT.  CMP Media Cafe has two decades of experience producing live television and satellite media tours featuring celebrities, Fortune 500 client products, medical breakthroughs and more in partnership with public relations agencies across the country. Contact us at 213-986-8070 for a free consultation on your satellite media tour idea or to see if it’s a good fit for your media campaign.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe






When a Celebrity SMT Spokesperson Makes Sense

July 16, 2014

When does it make sense to spend a lot of money on the celebrity spokesperson for a satellite media tour or publicity campaign? In today’s evolving broadcast media world, one of the most important decisions you make when using a single client satellite media tour as part of your campaign is the story angle and the choice of spokesperson. Let’s talk about the spokesperson along with the pros and cons when it comes to using a celebrity for a satellite media tour.

An A-List Celebrity Will Guarantee Top Markets for Most SMTs. Hiring a celebrity as a spokesperson for your brand, service, or product makes good sense when it is an A-Lister or even B-Lister, but in most cases, any celebrity that doesn’t carry that clout will not be a good investment as far as ROI on earned interviews. An A-List celebrity will guarantee top markets for most SMTs, but keep in mind that you need to allow 4-to-6 weeks to book a successful satellite media tour even with an A-Lister. Lack of planning and lead time will dramatically diminish the successful return on the budget spent.

Is the Big Fat Fee Worth It? The answer to whether or not the big fat fee for the spokesperson is worth it or not is a personal professional decision contingent on the ability of the spokesperson to generate interest for top market interviews in addition to the elevation of the product reputation and brand awareness with your target demographic with the spokespersons fame. If the celebrity attached is part of an overall brand building objective, then spend the money to find the right spokesperson for your brand. The amount you spend on the fee for an A-Lister usually guarantees national and top market interviews, but when a client settles for a B-List celebrity or below, the interview results decrease significantly.

Hire the Right Celebrity, Not “Any” Celebrity. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen clients make is engaging the services of the “wrong” celebrity spokesperson – usually because they have vetted them appropriately  for the brand or product they are being asked to represent. If the celebrity has no organic connection to the product, then paying them to recite message points just because you like the celebrity (or they have significant name recognition) is a big mistake. The perfect synergy occurs when the celebrity really likes the brand, believes in the product, and it’s obvious to viewers in their delivery.

I have seen clients be very disappointed with high paid celebrity talent when they have discovered that the celebrity’s real-life experience was contradictory to the product message they were paid to deliver. For example, a client had a beauty product to “reverse” aging and the celebrity spokesperson said that they were not a fan of plastic surgery during the satellite media tour interviews. I later came out that this spokesperson had a plastic surgery procedure or two prior to endorsing the product. Integrity is everything so appropriately vet your spokesperson regarding their product experience so that their messaging will be true to who they are as people and to your product.

Another circumstance involved a celebrity who was hired as a spokesperson for a charitable organization and who had absolutely no connection to the cause but represented themselves to the contrary.  When the spokesperson was “pressed” to describe their personal connection, they said it was “too personal” to discuss in interviews.  If the celebrity does not have a relationship to the charity (or refuses to talk about the connection they do have), then they are not a good match. It’s also difficult to book a celebrity spokesperson for a story involving a charitable cause if they have absolutely no link to it other than they think it’s a good idea. I personally and professionally do not like that charitable organizations pay celebrity spokespersons outrageous amounts of money to promote a charitable cause. In my humble opinion, a celebrity should offer services for a charitable organization they believe in on a pro bono basis or for a SAG day rate. I think they are not being truthful to the public when they are a paid spokesperson for a cause.  I am sure there are many in the industry that disagree with me on this issue, especially agents.

A Spokesperson Agreement Should Include Appearances in Addition to the SMT. The celebrity’s services should be part of a broader campaign that is not limited to a satellite media tour. Hiring a celebrity where the satellite media tour spokesperson is the only part of their contract is a mistake. Their services should also include national TV studio interviews, print, radio, web and even personal appearances where it makes sense. In general, most of these services will be provided within a one-to-two day (or more) time frame. Finally, don’t forget that media training your celebrity spokesperson is essential to getting the most out of your investment or you could end up wasting a lot of money, so find out the top five mistakes SMT spokespersons make.

All of this information may sound very basic — almost like “Hiring a Celebrity Spokesperson 101,” but I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, when it comes to hiring a spokesperson so never assume the obvious.

Feel free to call me and consult when you are in the planning stages of finding the right spokesperson to generate media interest for your brand, product, or service.

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.

Top Five Mistakes SMT Spokespersons Make

July 9, 2014

I have been producing satellite media tours since 1996 and by and large, most of the spokespersons I have worked with whether industry experts or celebrities, have done a great job. However, there are many mistakes that even a good spokesperson makes.

1. Not making good eye contact with camera. This should seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how even celebrity spokespersons fail to make good eye contact with the camera. Especially for actors, direct eye contact with the camera does not necessarily feel natural. They are used to having their performances filmed with no regard to looking at the camera. Some actors may succeed at establishing good eye contact with the camera directly but have a tendency to look up when they are thinking about a response. That does not look good on-camera. If it happens once within an interview it’s okay, but when it happens over and over again it doesn’t feel right to the viewer.

For live interviews via satellite media tours or live shots, establishing eye contact with the camera as though it is the person you are talking to (because theoretically it is) is one of the most important aspects of being a good spokesperson.

2. Weak or Hesitant Vocal Tone. A spokesperson must deliver the message points with passion. If they do not have energy behind what they are saying, then they won’t seem believable. That does not mean they should give an over the top delivery of message points, but they should have high energy and enthusiasm. When there is even a slight hesitation or weakness in a vocal tone when delivering message points, the audience picks up that the spokesperson is not 100% on board with what they’re saying. This is a primary reason for media training since a hesitant tone will be present when a spokesperson is not confident and well trained on the message.

3. Over Commercializing the Message. Sometimes the spokesperson does not understand that the message cannot be “over commercialized” and they will say a product name numerous times within the interview or turn the interview into a commercial. Stations get very annoyed by this and it can be “deadly” for taped interviews since producers may decide not to air the interview or completely edit out the client message. There is no reason that if the spokesperson is media trained correctly that they cannot learn subtle ways to deliver product message points.

4. Using the Word “Try.” Hearing a spokesperson or expert in a television or radio interview say, “Well, what were trying to do is raise awareness on XYZ,” is a big mistake and a reflection of poor media training. There is no commitment in the word “try.” You either do or you do not do.

The word “try” is very lame when it comes to presenting your message since it indicates an attempt versus a commitment. What the spokesperson should say is, “We want to raise awareness on XYZ,” or “We are working toward raising awareness on XYZ.” Keep this in mind when you are forming message points. It is also imperative that you educate your spokesperson on the importance of avoiding the use of the word “try.”

5. Thinking a Spokesperson Doesn’t Need Media Traiing. If you think a high paid celebrity spokesperson can “wing it” without proper media training then you’re setting them up for an epic fail. I’ve worked with everyone from A-listers to D-listers and it doesn’t matter how famous they are, how talented they are, or how articulate they are, if they are not media trained appropriately on your particular message points, they will not be strong in an interview to get your message across.

Clients are often intimidated to require media training in the contract when working with celebrities (or perhaps an agent suggests that it is not necessary). As the producer, it’s my job to help the on-air spokesperson look and perform their best and media training is how you guarantee it.

When you enter into a contract with the celebrity spokesperson, it should include a minimum of a two-to-three hour media training session regarding the exact Q&A they will be required to address in their interviews. Particularly if you’re dealing with an actor, it is important that they know and rehearse their exact message points (keeping in mind that memorizing a script is NOT a good idea). Reassure the actor and their representatives that the reason this media training is required is to ensure that the celebrity will give their best performance on the air. This is a reasonable request, since most actors are aware they must rehearse their lines for a show or movie before they actually shoot the scene. Also, they don’t want to damage their professional credibility by appearing unprepared.

When spokespersons try to “wing” their message points after a brief review of what’s expected of them, you will find that they deliver interviews full of “and ah, ahs and umms.” They may try to convince you that their delivery will feel more “organic,’ but it will only come off as “messy” with a lack of conviction in what they are saying This is often interpreted by viewers (or radio listeners) as a lack of belief in what the spokesperson is saying. Never assume that a spokesperson can have minimal training and hit the message points out of the park.


So avoid these five mistakes and your SMT will be a success, plus here’s one final tip…..

Number One Tip for Spokesperson Success in Satellite Media Tours: Structure a two-to-three minute message point script with a suggested Q&A that you provide to all TV and radio stations prior to the interview. CMP Media Cafe does this for all of our broadcast projects and we find that reporters use our scripts verbatim 85% of the time. We include a Suggested Anchor Lead and Suggested Anchor Tag for the producers and media train our spokesperson to prepare them when anchors take the interview off script.

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.










Five Tips to Maximize Satellite Media Tour Success

July 25, 2012

No amount of advertising can give your product, service or brand the credibility that editorial placements on TV news and lifestyle programs can and that’s why satellite media tours (SMTs) are an effective tool for your public relations campaign.

SMTs may focus on one spokesperson for a new product or significant event, like a new book release or movie premiere.  Although these media tips are important if your promoting a movie or book, they’re essential for any other topic since the results of your media tour depend on getting these five things right.  So, if you’re considering an SMT for current or future public relations efforts, here are five tips that will not only help you maximize your success, but hit the ball out of the park.

Choose a Headline Grabber for an Angle.  Most every P.R. pro knows this, but the slugline is your one shot at grabbing news room decision makers attention so you need to make it a great one.  Think about the emails you actually open. Next to who the email is from, the subject line is what grabs your attention to open it and news producers and assignment desks are no different.  Also, don’t under estimate the power of the negative slug line either as they’ll get your story on the air.   When you choose CMP Media Cafe to produce your SMT, we will work closely with you to craft the most effective angle for your story.  For more tips on sluglines, take a look at the Number One Mistake Pros Make on Press Releases.  Finally, news producers want news-you-can-use with easy-to-understand consumer messages that are relevant to your viewers so make sure your story angle has a broad appeal or way to include a broad audience. 

Your Spokesperson Should Be Relevant to Your Topic or Angle.  In addition to your angle, the spokesperson you choose for your SMT is critical to maximize your results.  Does the spokesperson have some level of media recognition or expert credentials or do they offer a truly unique perspective on the story?  If you want to secure the Top 50 TV Markets, then an A-list celebrity will be your best shot at this but only if it makes sense for your product and product message since the wrong celebrity spokesperson (or C-Lister) will derail your best efforts if they’re not the right fit.  An A-list celeb is not the only answer to a successful SMT, however, since a meaningful consumer angle can be very effective with the appropriate expert (or “celebrity expert” – like a well known doctor, attorney, dietician, author, blogger, etc.) on the topic.  The key is relevancy combined with the angle.

Choose the SMT Airdate with Care.  Timing is everything and you want to choose the best airdate to maximize exposure.  This means that you need to be aware of a possible deluge of competing stories (i.e. election year political results, back-to-school, holidays, etc.) and avoid scheduling your airdate during these times if it’s not critical.  Also, if your catalyst for the story hinges on an “awareness” day or month (i.e. Breast Cancer Awareness, Heart Health, et al), be aware that other companies will be out there with a similar idea so either do everything you can to be the first out there with your story or develop a unique angle to set you apart from the clutter.

Synergize Your SMT with Marketing and Advertising Campaigns.   One of the most effective things you can do is synergize your public relations efforts with the marketing and advertising campaigns of the client you represent.  I’m am constantly amazed at how few companies understand this value and anticipate an SMT to have the same effect as a DRTV spot.  According to marketing research, most people need a minimum of seven exposures to a product before they make a buying a decision.  It’s one thing when they see a product in a commercial, but then when they see that same product featured in an editorial segment of a TV program, their brain connects the dots in a unique way.

To Super Size the synergy of a satellite media tour, you should also choose a date that will coincide with publicity print campaigns as well.  Think about it, you see commercials for the product, it’s popping up in television shows, and you open your newspaper or online magazine and see the same product featured there.  It takes a lot of planning, but you can see the value in this type of syngerstic approach.  Movie and TV Show publicity are a great example of how this is done well. It’s no coincidence that Angelina Jolie is appearing on the Today Show and the Tonight Show while also being on the covers of People Magazine and more while you’re also seeing commercials for her latest movie in heavy rotation during prime time viewing hours.

Start Pitching Stations Six-to-Eight Weeks Before Airdate.  Although CMP Media Cafe’s strong and up-to-date media contacts carry a lot of klout when it comes to booking a satellite media tour, a minimum six-to-eight-week lead time from the time the Media Alert is approved is recommended to maximize success of pitching your SMT to news media.  Due to the current media environment, if less than eight weeks are allotted, there is a greater risk that the programs we’re targeting will already be booked for the timeframe available.   Keep in mind that most programs only have openings for one to two satellite media interviews each day so we want to be first to pitch them your story before their schedules book up.

Use these top five tips to maximize your satellite media tour success.  Also, feel free to contact us for a consultation on your project.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2012. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

Cracking the Code for Top Market Co-Op SMTs

February 7, 2012

Most of the current Co-Op SMT/RMT hybrids will get you on-the-air and in-the-news on television, radio and the internet and have guaranteed placements on one or more nationally syndicated television programs.  They are still one of the most cost effective ways to reach the American audience with your message and no amount of advertising can give your company or product the credibility of an editorial placement, but let’s talk quality: Quality of TV Markets and Quality of TV Production.

Quality of TV Markets

The Problem: You’re certainly aware that it has become increasing more difficult to secure “earned placements” in TV news programs and especially in the Top 50 markets.  Even for broadcast public relations specialists like CMP Media Cafe that have long standing relationships with TV stations, although we do book many Top 50 markets for our Co-Op SMTs, the newsroom environment has had two important changes that our industry has had to roll with:

  1. The FCC scrutiny of content provided by corporate sponsors has resulted in many TV stations deciding to abandon use of the video news release b-roll packages and satellite interviews entirely rather than simply disclosing that they are provided by a sponsor.
  1. The business model for network affiliates has changed due to decreased advertising revenue during the current economy.  This means that where, in many markets, good pitches used to result in booked interviews via satellite or in studio as a public relations coup, stations are now charging for a “sponsored content segment” on their program if a company or product is part of the pitch.  Stations then fully disclose it as a sponsored segment to viewers.

Most Co-Op SMTs already use several sponsored content segments to compliment their earned placement interviews and have done this for several years, but the Top 25 markets have been elusive and cost prohibitive.  As a result,  a small part of Co-Op SMT budgets have been directed  at TV markets between the Top 40 to 90 because they have more affordable rates.  As the trend toward sponsored content has grown, it has started eating up budgets and profit margins for companies like ours.

The Solution: At CMP Media Cafe, we’ve been busy cracking the code on of one of the biggest P.R. challenges of recent years – how to get exposure in the Top TV Markets in today’s testy media environment.  Many markets like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago will remain next to impossible to book with the Co-Op SMT vehicle, but we’ve secured relationships in other desirable Top 25 markets like Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Phoenix, to name a few, in order to give our clients the highest quality broadcast public relations product.

Since the beginning of this new hybrid of broadcast public relations, our company budget for these types of placements has increased over 400% from a few years ago when our only guaranteed placement was on one of two nationally syndicated programs, Broadcast News in 30 (Formerly ANN) or Newswatch.  This means that approximately 20-25% of our Co-Op SMT budget is now dedicated to ensuring our clients get the results they desire and on high quality nationally syndicated programs like The Daily Buzz.

The Cost: We’re definitely able to secure earned placements on several top quality TV markets with our pitch angle, but many of the Top 50 markets will simply not take satellite interviews unless they are paid for by the sponsor.  In order to secure quality markets that only take paid placements, our company has raised it’s Co-Op SMT client participation fees in order to provide a higher quality product and continue with our client pleasing business model of limiting participation to just four clients (and going on-the-air with a minimum of two clients although we don’t meet our margin.)

We understand that there are several Co-Op SMT companies to choose from that also offer what may seem to be a more attractive fee, but understand that several companies crowd a segment with four to five products into a two-and-a-half minute interview (and some products won’t get on the air as a result).   That’s a risk we don’t want to take with our clients.

Quality of TV Production

The Problem: Clients spend a lot of effort finessing the verbal message of a feature on a Co-Op SMT but have little control over the quality of production and the look of the product on-the-air.  As a former network television producer, I’m confused by the lack of quality sets and lighting I see being produced by other companies.

The Solution:  The visual representation of your client’s product positioning should be just as important as the verbal representation and CMP Media Cafe has the highest broadcast standards.  We hire experienced media savvy spokespersons to deliver your message in a natural friendly presentation, provide network quality sets and set dressing, have network quality lighting, and provide a high quality live shot for TV stations.  Unfortunately, some companies skimp on the visual look of the set and that then reflects poorly on the featured products.

I’m sure you’ll agree that we all want what’s best for our clients.  We’ve cracked the code on how to provide a Top TV Market tour but that comes at a price that our clients have to be open to paying for in order to secure the highly coveted Top 50 television markets.

But here’s the big question:  Would you rather pay a little more to be featured in a Co-Op Satellite Media Tour (SMT) that limits participation and get into the top TV markets you want with a network quality produced feature or pay less to be crowded into a Co-Op SMT feature with a mediocre TV market list, lots of radio hits and a set that looks like a “leased access” cable production?  It really comes down to dollars and sense.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2012. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

Don’t Take NBC Beijing Olympics Coverage for Granted

February 2, 2010

(originally posted August 11, 2008)

Late last week (August 6th to be exact), our company received a call from a client to produce a live satellite broadcast from Beijing for the following week with an Olympic Gold Medal winner. In almost any other situation, we can spin on a dime for a newsworthy topic and make that happen — as long as we’re not dealing with a communist country where every satellite transmission is strictly monitored and controlled by the government.

If you missed the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics then you missed part of history. Don’t continue to miss history in the making and make sure you tune into to NBC (from the Today Show to nightly coverage of the events). I say this as a television producer who’s been in the biz for over twenty years, who’s experienced at broadcasting via satellite from remote locations around the world and who visited China earlier this year. I’ve produced in over twenty-five countries on four different continents during my broadcast career that’s included producing an internationally syndicated travel show and daily network television but nothing is more amazing than the coverage we’re seeing right now out of China if you have any idea how unusual it is to have the kind of reports we’re seeing on the air direct from Beijing. In the U.S., we’re long accustomed to freedom of the press but this is unheard of in China — true journalistic freedom. Seeing Tom Brokaw being interviewed by Matt Lauer in Beijing with Brokaw’s candid criticism’s of aspects of the Chinese government is simply history in the making — let’s talk journalism in China, shall we?

First, China’s sensitivity to journalists is so strong that less than a month before the games began, at least 30 journalists and 50 internet users were being detained in China and any writer, producer, journalist or media professional is discretely advised by certain visa procuring websites to list his or her occupation as a “computer operator” on the China visa application or they could be denied a tourist visa. Since most people in media use computers, this isn’t inaccurate.

Second, all of the estimated 25,000 reporters covering the Olympics had to go through an extensive vetting process to get a J-1 or J-2 Journalism visa. Once approved, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) supplied reporters with a 171-page media guidebook, A Service Guide for Foreign Media Coverage of the Beijing Olympic Games, but perhaps journalists would be better equipped for their Beijing assignments by visiting the Reporter’s Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics at Human Rights Watch.

Third, what’s it like behind the scenes for journalists covering the Olympics? Well, China’s internet police are out in full force despite promises by the Chinese Government to take down the Great “Firewall” of China. More than an estimated 30,000 internet police are employed to censor internet websites and restrict access to “objectionable” sites and it’s been very problematic for reporters currently in Beijing. What’s objectionable? Anything with personal opinions (like blogs) and any media that may criticize the Chinese government and the biggest taboo word? You guessed it… “T-I-B-E-T.” As a matter of fact, our company website is blocked in China because it contains the word “media” so my American friend who lives in Beijing cannot view our website. The day I arrived in Beijing in early May was actually one of the first days the censors unblocked certain websites and allowed access to and other “controversial” internet news sites. However, according to some recent reports, access has been unpredictable to the BBC website and others – especially those having a non-complimentary story on China.

Finally, here’s the thing – in the U.S., we’re accustomed to seeing live broadcasts from around the world and it looks so easy. We take it for granted. But just as the Olympic athletes that make swimming, diving, bike racing, and gymnastics look so easy (though it took YEARS of practice for these amazing feats), the transmissions you’re seeing out of China look easy, but NBC spent years of planning with the Chinese government for you to see history in the making. Enjoy it!

One very personal note: While I was in China, the Chinese people were so excited and proud to be hosting the Olympics. The public in general loves Westerners and I was often stopped at various locations and asked to be in a photo with them so they could have a photo with a Westerner. I was enchanted with this country and it’s people. Americans are often identified overseas with what our government does and so are, most unfortunately, the Chinese. Don’t make this mistake.

Photo (above): Russia Today interviewing a man in front of the Water Cube, Beijing, China (Photo credit Sara Pfau.)

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Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Copyright (c) 2008. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.