Posts Tagged ‘SMT’

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

 

 

 

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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.

OAHU SMT B-T-S

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

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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.

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.