Help yourself to the headlines

Jun 01, 2007

Here in the Milton Keynes area the situation is even more problematic than for many other parts of the country.

Central South ITV has now been amalgamated with Meridian South and no longer covers Milton Keynes at all. Stories which their crews used to share with their colleagues at Anglia are no longer seeing the light of the cathode ray tube unless Anglia cover the story themselves.

With one crew and reporter for most of Buckinghamshire that makes the chances of coverage slim at best.

Getting television to cover a business-related story is extremely difficult and if the BBC gets a whiff of commerce about an item they are away on their toes as fast as lightning.
So, when you have a story which you think would make great television but you cannot bring the TV journalists to you, you have to offer them a helping hand.

An Electronic News Release or Electronic Press Kit can tip the balance between being ignored and having your message broadcast to a wide television audience. Pioneered by charities 20 or more years ago, ENRs give you the opportunity to give the pictures you want to be seen to the broadcasters.

By commissioning your own television crew in advance to capture the relevant pictures you have control of what’s shot and what’s not. By staging your own interviews with the relevant parties you ensure the right messages are put over.

So here is your step-by-step guide to getting your story covered by use of an EPK.

Firstly, try out the story with the newsdesks at the TV companies. Bear in mind that they are looking for pictures. Television devours pictures at an incredible rate.

A one-and-a-half minute item might take two or three hours to film and a further two or three hours to edit. Tell them what the story is and make sure you explain exactly what the viewers will see. Weekends are particularly fertile territory for this as the usually stretched resources are down to the absolute bare minimum.

Next, if they say they would love to cover your event but they cannot come to it as their crews are committed elsewhere, or they will ‘try and put it in the diary’, offer them an EPK.

Discuss with them the kinds of pictures they would like, the interviews they need and explain that you would use a top-class broadcast cameraman and reporter. It is important to find out from the cameraman in advance which tape format he will be using so the newsdesks can be confident of the quality.

Offer to bring the tape to them or have it delivered by courier. Check the times of their bulletins so you do not miss any deadlines and always ask for the tape back. You never know when you might want to use those pictures again.

The net result is that your story has gone out to the widest possible audience with the credibility of being on the news for considerably less than the cost of a 30-second television commercial and with far greater impact.

If this all sounds complicated, give me a call and Jardine Michelson will do it all for you.

For more information, visit www.jardine-michelson.com

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