"There are many ways to maximize audience reach and impressions on radio,” says Joan Carrese of zcomm.
When pitching Radio News Releases and PSAs, customize your story to each market. “zcomm researches and includes statistics in pitches to localize stories and, whenever possible, uses a local spokesperson to add a credible, community angle,” adds Carrese. Stations across the country prefer stories with a local newshook.
If you are targeting multi-cultural demographics, such as the Hispanic audience, produce both and English and Spanish language release for stations in markets with large Hispanic populations. And Spanish language outlets are pitched less than general market outlets, so they are more receptive to news releases, interviews, PSAs, podcasts and radio contests.
For Radio Tours, send an audio clip of a dynamic spokesperson with a written pitch and when appropriate make sure the stations are streaming your interview on their website for value added. Take advantage of a great spokesperson and produce a series of audio Podcasts about your message to download on aggregators on the web, in addition to a client’s website.
Finally, remember to personally pitch often and pitch well. “A short, informative and newsworthy personal call and email increase the odds that a media contact will like your message and say yes,” says Carrese.
"You’ve heard all the noise about the FCC crackdown on SMTs – and it’s true,” acknowledges JoAnn Mangione, vice president of zcomm, Bethesda-based broadcast PR firm. “However, a little tweaking of our approach to SMT planning can still reap the big audience numbers.”
First, put your money where your mouth is – invest in a well-known spokesperson and stick with health, entertainment, topical issues and non-profits. Topics related to special observances such as American Diabetes Month, are helpful as are charity tie-ins. Full disclosure is very important; so build trust with producers by telling them up front who is sponsoring the SMT.
Use your studio time wisely, don’t forget to incorporate radio bookings between TV interviews to pump up audience numbers and think about extending the length of the tour to increase station participation. Finally, repurpose the interviews by creating a series of videopodcasts and/or audio podcasts. Consider streaming part or all of the interviews on your website, and on related or partner websites and make use of viral marketing.
“An SMT is still a smart media tactic,” say Mangione. “Let stations know your awareness of the FCC’s regulations and give them what they need to be comfortable airing your client’s message.”