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The Media Game


Call 1300 725 033

Warren 0418 117 587
wsim@mediagame.com.au

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Reach every media outlet in Australia within minutes. Radio, TV, Print, Internet. Tell your story and broadcast it instantly. The perfect PR tool to help you make news.

HOW TO GET YOUR STORY ON RADIO

Radio is still the most immediate and most personal of all the news mediums available today, but how do you get your news story on radio?

(In its rawest form radio always explain what ‘it’ is – add more content here with keywords in mind) delivers news as it happens to a massive audience. Radio, and the stories radio generates on news and talkback (same here explain it or name it ) illicit feelings and emotions, and above all else public opinion. The ability to have your say in your own voice is a powerful weapon, and radio delivers. Unlike the internet where discussions are done via the written word, radio is real people having their say in their own voice. That is why talkback radio still holds a massive influence on our lives. Politicians live or die on talkback radio, and to have your say on radio, it’s just a matter of picking up the phone and letting fly.

For any marketer or PR professional, a voice on radio is a very powerful means of communicating your message to a mass audience. But what is the best way to break through and get your story heard? How do you get your story on radio?

IN THE NEWS

GETTING FREE COVERAGE ON RADIO NEWS

Most radio stations run a news bulletin of at least two minutes in duration every hour. With around 450 mainstream stations in Australia, that’s over 21,000 minutes of airtime available every day.

If your story meets the following criteria, there’s a fair chance you will pick up a valuable slice of that available radio news space.

  • Is your story of interest to a mass audience
  • Can your radio news story be told simply and concisely
  • Does your radio news story affect people’s lives
  • As a consumer (not as a PR professional who is getting paid to get the story coverage) does the news story interest you
  • Can your radio news story be explained in 30seconds or less, and make sense
  • Is your spokesperson ‘good talent’

Let’s look at a fictitious case study. Your company is launching a new soap powder. On the surface it looks pretty boring. So how do you generate news coverage? By finding an angle that resonates with the audience.

A well known Australian university has just released a survey into the washing habits of Australians and how we do a load of washing on average once a day, double what we did a decade ago.

Now you have an angle. Tips on how to save water and resources while making sure your washing doesn’t suffer. By using the survey results and associating your company with efficient washing practices, your new soap powder is getting mileage.

HOW DO YOU APPROACH A RADIO NEWSROOM?

It can be a daunting exercise calling up a multitude of radio newsrooms to try and “sell in” your radio news story. Not only is it time consuming but also extremely frustrating as timing is crucial when it comes to radio news. So, here is some advice on how to approach a newsroom.

With so many news bulletins to produce each day, sometimes every half-hour, picking your time to make that call can mean the difference between success and failure. The golden rule is never call at the top or the bottom of the hour, or ten minutes either side. That generally leaves a 10 minute window between 10 and 20 past the hour. Or between 20 and 10 to the hour.

When you do get through, make sure you have your “sell-in” mastered because again you have about 30seconds.

We generally will not try and tell the full story on this phone call. Best success usually comes from a teasing statement and approval from the reporter for you to forward more information.

Using the soap powder example above, this would be our initial pitch:

Hi, my name’s Warren Sim from The Media Game and we have some consumer survey information that shows Australians are wasting double as much water on washing than a decade ago despite calls to save water. Would I be able to send you through some more information, and we have a fantastic spokesperson available to expand on the research.

The key is then to gain a personal email address for the reporter and send the info immediately. At the top of your email, target why they should be interested in running this story, do not just send a long winded press release on its own.

For example:

Australians wasting twice as much water on clothes washing than a decade ago – survey reveals

Why you should run this story:

  • Despite calls to reduce water usage, household washing has doubled
  • Tips for saving water and money by washing clothes less
  • Kids to blame. Changing clothes three times a day and putting clean clothes into the wash

Audience:

Every household in the country that is concerned with water usage and saving money

Spokesperson

Jonathan Jibberer. Leading Consumer Trends expert. XYZ University

You may even decide to include an audio example of your spokesperson. Maybe it is a previous interview he has conducted, or a teaser for this story, but an audio example enforces that your spokesperson is great talent and should be interviewed.

Then you can start to provide more detailed information, plus the press release. The key to this is giving a time-strapped reporter the guts of the story upfront and why he should consider it a great radio news story for his audience.

THE MEDIA GAME

Of course you can save yourself hours of calls and follow-ups by simply using The Media Game’s news distribution network.

The Media Game works with you on the key questions to get the best news radio grabs, and the best angle, possible for the newsrooms. Then with just one interview over the phone, The Media Game records a series of news radio grabs with your spokesperson, making sure your key messages are delivered concisely.

The story and the news radio grabs are then distributed within minutes, or at a time to suit your release, to every radio station in the country.

The Media Game then provides you with a detailed report outlining what networks downloaded your audio grabs.

It’s fast, it’s effective and trusted by all radio newsrooms.

Utilising The Media Game’s distribution network and name built up over more than 12 years gives you every chance of achieving success with your radio release while at the same time saving you and your spokesperson hours of time spent on the phone lining up interviews and then conducting them.

WHAT’S A NEWS GRAB?

An audio news grab, or radio news grab, is gold for radio newsrooms. It is a 10-15sec interview response from your spokesperson that covers your message. Think how politicians get their message across during a rowdy press conference. That is how you should also approach your news radio releases.

Leave out company-speak and jargon and stick to what the consumer will understand. No matter how strong your radio news story is, you won’t get your spokesperson on air unless he or she is great talent, and can deliver a radio news grab efficiently.

And there are a lot of advantages in getting your spokesperson on radio as opposed to just getting a mention on the news from the announcer. Your spokesperson adds extra credibility to the radio story, and gives you a controlled way of making sure your message gets across to the audience. In most cases it also extends your on-air time from 10-15secs to 25-30secs. Multiply that by potentially hundreds of stations, and that’s valuable to your company or product.

LEAVE OUT THE BLATANT PLUG

It is so tempting to approach radio news like an ad. But this is a major no, no. No matter what your story is, radio news needs to be newsworthy. You are not paying for this air-time, remember. And the only way it is going to make it to air is if it is newsworthy and of interest to the listening audience.

If you are unsure whether you have a newsworthy angle, ask for some honest opinions from friends and colleagues. What would make this story interesting to them?

And steer clear or making it a blatant plug for the company or product. Nothing turns radio newsrooms off more than a company with nothing newsworthy to offer.

Your aim should be to be associated with the radio news story you are offering up. Subtle is far more successful, and also far more credible to the listening audience.

If you or your client wants a blatant plug, book an ad.

TALKBACK RADIO

Your approach to talkback radio is very similar to how you would approach a radio newsroom. Except personal contact is even more important and as long as you don’t call in the middle of a show, you will have a chance to build-up a relationship with the producer of the talkback radio show you are trying to target.

But do your research. Before you call, know what the program is all about, what sort of stories they are looking for and their audience. Ignorance is intolerable, so do your homework.

Remember, your reputation is at stake with every radio news and talkback story you pitch. If a radio newsroom or talkback show can trust you to deliver newsworthy stories with great interview talent, you will find they will be calling you for stories.

WHAT WORKS BEST ON RADIO?

Think mass market when deciding if your story is suitable for radio.

Sure, radio stations have their own demographics, but generally for news coverage stories that will resonate with a large audience are what gets to air. Niche topics can be more tailored to talkback radio programs.

After 12 years of providing news content to radio stations throughout Australia via www.mediagame.com.au The Media Game, history shows clearly what works on news radio.

The Media Game’s most successful releases have been:

Consumer stories. Issues, products and services that are of interest to the general audience

Health stories. Once again Health is a major interest factor for most people. Being able to tell the story concisely is the challenge. Good on-air talent is in great demand on news radio, including doctors and health professionals that can break down medical jargon and relate it to the general population.

Surveys. In many ways, the survey provides the perfect news story for radio newsrooms. Surveys concisely convey a trend in the marketplace. They are self explanatory and perfect for the 20secs radio news story. For PR and marketing professionals they add a credible and strong news angle that can be associated to a brand or product.

Crisis Management. Radio is the most immediate and most powerful way of handling a crisis situation. One radio interview can keep you on the front foot in any situation, allowing you some control on the flow of information and public perception.

WHO MAKES GREAT RADIO TALENT?

Having someone who is confident and strong in front of the media, no matter what the medium, is worth millions to a company. They are what makes great radio talent.

Being able to voice your opinion on radio or TV is a privilege that should not be underestimated. You are being given the chance to speak to your buyers, your consumers. They are looking for you to be confident, credible and transparent. No bullshit.

The key is to be able to tell your story, but at the same time relate to your audience. For example, doctors need to be able to speak at the level of their patients, not their colleagues, when conveying information.

Great radio and news talent is someone who can deliver a message in 15secs that is clear and directed at their consumer. It is delivered in a way that gets across the company’s line, but also captures the imagination of the audience.

And, unless the story is highly sensitive and needs to be delivered as a prepared statement, it is always best to deliver in a natural, conversational manner. Spokespeople who simply read a script are not embraced by radio newsrooms. Remember, this is not an ad. It is news and it needs to be not only newsworthy but also entertaining for the radio audience.