Elizabeth Prats|May 3, 2017

This story was co-written by Alyssa Valleau

According to Pew’s Research Center’s 2016 State of the News Media, there has been an audience growth in cable and network news, making satellite media tours (SMTs) a valuable tactic in any PR arsenal. In fact, it’s a tactic we used when launching our award-winning Seekender campaign for Hampton by Hilton.

Satellite media tours offer quick and targeted message penetration nationally or in key markets. When you’re launching a campaign meant to last for a short time period, you need opportunities to disseminate key messages to a wide audience quickly. That’s why SMTs are ideal to support proactive media relations.

Here are some fireproof tips to ensure you have a successful SMT.

1. Prepping for a Satellite Media Tour

You may be surprised by the amount of nitty gritty details to consider before the SMT shoot date.

First of all, mentally prepare yourself and your spokesperson for an early morning. (We’re talking 5 a.m., people). Personally, a coffee with an extra shot of espresso does the trick, but try to make it as easy for the spokesperson as you can because you want the talent to be vibrant and quick thinking.

So, whether it’s providing a much-needed cortadito or scheduling a car service to take them to the studio, make sure the morning starts out on the right foot. Other things to consider beforehand:

  • Review the set and clothing options. Coordinating an SMT, gives you authority on both the appearance of the set and your talent, so make sure you and your client agree upon the setup in advance.
  • Tour the set a day early and make sure to get some snapshots to share with the client. You want to avoid any surprises come the day of the shoot.
  • The same method works well with clothing; having your talent snap a couple quick outfit photos will save you from stress the day-of. Interested in a few quick pointers when it comes to clothing? If you’re using a green screen, just say no to green. Wearing green literally makes the talent disappear, so unless you’re happy with the b-roll playing where the talent’s dress is, avoid green at all costs.
  • Another pro tip? Avoid patterns and flashy accessories. You don’t want an outfit to distract from your brand’s message, so keep it simple and elegant. (Though avoid white as it tends to wash individuals out.)

2. Keeping the Energy Up

So, it’s the day you’ve been planning for. Time to shoot an SMT! Just because the set and clothing options are finalized doesn’t mean that you’re done. There’s still plenty to do while on-site.

  • Before the first interview, be sure to create cue cards the talent can reference. We recommend using keywords that can jog a spokesperson’s memory for specific messaging. Make sure you include the call to action!
  • If possible, start with a radio interview, but treat it like you would a TV interview. This gives you a chance to observe the spokesperson’s body language (to make sure they are energized and shake off the nerves), and it’s a great opportunity to fine tune the b-roll that’s scrolling in.
  • Never start with a live interview. Repeat. Never start with a live interview. A spokesperson needs time to warm up. Plus, if you can avoid an interview in a top market until they’ve done at least two or three, that’s ideal.
  • Speaking of body language – and this is essential – make sure your talent isn’t slouching, touching their hair or fidgeting. If they are, point this out during the dry run and remind them throughout filming as necessary.
  • Finally, keep the energy high! After hours of interviews, everyone is tired – but you can’t let the audience see that. Keep the talent energized (healthy snacks and caffeine often do the trick) to ensure seamless interviews throughout the day.

3. Integration is Key

You’ve prepped and prepped some more. Your spokesperson is doing a fabulous job, but don’t forget to look for ways to optimize the experience. Integrating social media into the mix adds even more value to the SMT.

  • Have the brand and spokesperson tease the upcoming shoot on their social media channels.
  • Take some behind-the-scenes photos and share them with the brand for posting.
  • More and more individuals are tuning into Instagram Stories or Facebook Live. Determine which social channel is most ideal depending on your brand and share a behind-the-scenes experience in real-time.

Above all, remember that PR is not ER. There is no life or death situation, so remain calm and your SMT will run smoothly. And keep in mind, your attitude and energy will directly impact your spokesperson. Be supportive and excited and they will be too.

Do you have any SMT experiences to share? Let us know if the comments below.


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