March 31, 2022
Positioning Your Firm as a Trusted Broadcast Media Authority: How the Game Has Changed
Broadcasting has long been the final frontier for many professional services firms.
Highly coveted air time is notoriously difficult to secure — and there are a number of reasons for this. Producers have typically relied on a trusted network of experts who’ve demonstrated they can handle the pressure of a live interview. The need for guests to travel to a studio — or for the network to dispatch satellite equipment to another location — has historically made scheduling engagements complicated. Therefore, last-minute interview requests went to select experts who were close by and able to get to a studio or satellite location quickly.
But as with most aspects of life, the pandemic changed all that.
Although most producers still prefer in-person appearances when possible, they’ve embraced the need to use remote guest appearances to prioritize safety and protect their networks from liability. And since interviewees have access to Zoom and other technology in their homes, it’s much easier to participate at a moment’s notice.
These changes present new avenues for your firm to break into broadcast media. But if you want to seize this opportunity, it’s crucial that your firm’s leadership and other authorities take the following preparatory steps right now.
Develop Unique Positions of Authority on Newsworthy Issues
The fundamental prerequisite for earned media coverage is always the same: have something compelling to say. However, to catch a broadcaster’s attention, you need an additional ingredient. Your positions of authority must not only be unique and well credentialed, but timely and newsworthy as well.
To find and develop your firm’s newsworthy POVs, remember:
- You have unique insight to offer the world. Ask yourself what your team is best at and find ways to connect that expertise to the current news cycle..
- Don’t just focus on the “what” of a topic. True authority means articulating your viewpoint on the how and the why.
- Differentiate your position — particularly on hot button issues. Everyone is talking about social issues, but it’s not enough to simply be part of the conversation. If you want to catch the attention of a producer, think through how you can add something new and insightful to the discourse.
- Make your message useful to a broad audience. Broadcasters want to share “news you can use.” Utility is the hallmark of impactful content.
- Revisit and update your position of authority regularly. The news cycle moves fast. Make sure your POV keeps up.
Broadcasters want to incorporate greater diversity of thought and thought leaders into important social conversations. But bear in mind: the world doesn’t need more noise in an already crowded broadcast landscape. Your goal should be to contribute to a smarter conversation, not just say something for the sake of it.
Leverage Your Owned Media Program to Establish Your Firm’s Credibility
As you probably know, broadcast media frequently follows print. It’s common for producers to reach out to experts cited in other earned media venues to set up an on-air interview. Along with journalists of all kinds, they’re hungry for credible sources with an established voice who can add value to the topic at hand. This is particularly true as journalists try to stem the rising tide of “fake news” with more fact-based education around complex topics.
But if your firm isn’t regularly featured in prominent print or online news sources, how can you make your authority known? Your owned media program holds the key.
Once you’ve developed your newsworthy points of view, harness the power of owned media. Write blog articles that cement your position. Dig into meatier topics by producing in-depth white papers and eBooks. Discuss salient perspectives on your firm’s podcast or ask an industry podcaster to host you as their guest. Share your content on social media channels.
Journalists and producers regularly comb their Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter feeds for viable stories. Promote your owned content in these channels and others to increase their likelihood of finding it.
Educate Your Team on the Unique Virtual Interview Format
The ability to hold an interview from your home or office will make it much easier to say yes to invitations that come your way. For example, one of our clients received an interview invitation at 4 pm one day and was on air at 8 am the next morning. If the logistics of traveling to a studio were involved, she would not have been able to participate with such a tight turnaround.
Further, she was only able to sit for the interview because she was already prepared. Can your firm mobilize with 16 hours’ notice? There are specific ways you need to prepare in order to participate skillfully in this space.
Master the Basics of Any Media Interview
As with any media interview, it’s imperative to sharpen your message and get comfortable sharing it. Even if these basics seem obvious to you, it’s imperative other authority figures at your firm understand them as well.
Ensure everyone on your team knows how to:
- Distill your narrative into headlines that grab attention and get to the point
- Bridge from a stated question to the material you want to share
- Frame replies in positive ways
- Maintain composure in the face of difficult questions
It’s not enough to have something meaningful to say. You need to be able to communicate effectively and skillfully handle anything your interviewer throws at you.
Educate Your Team on the Unique Requirements of Virtual Interviews
There are also a number of special considerations to keep in mind when preparing for a virtual interview. You won’t have perfect lighting, an expert camera crew, or talented makeup artists to ensure you look your best. Nor will you have the benefit of a studio’s professional technology and equipment. It’s on you to create an environment conducive to a good conversation.
To show your firm is serious about becoming a player in the virtual broadcast environment, be sure your authorities:
- Invest in good technology (camera, microphone, high-speed internet)
- Choose a quiet location with an eye-pleasing, uncluttered background (extra points if elements in your background subtly reinforce your credibility, e.g. diplomas, industry journals, etc)
- Be mindful of lighting and your camera angle (avoid harsh upward or downward angles, position your camera at eye level or slightly above, buy a ring light)
- Practice making eye contact with the camera lens (rather than looking at the boxes on your screen)
It can take even more composure, poise, and skill to make a good virtual impression. Consider recording your interviewees beforehand or have them role play with a friend or colleague to refine their approach.
Are You Ready to Make a Name for Your Firm in Broadcast Media?
The pandemic has changed the broadcast media game. Will those changes be permanent? Only time will tell. The industry could very well return to in-person interviews as protocols begin to ease.
But the door is open wider than it ever has been. That means your firm should act fast to develop timely, newsworthy POVs. Establish your credibility through owned media and thought leadership. And be prepared to ace any interview invitations that come your way.
That virtual interview your firm gives today could become the foundation for in-person broadcast appearances in the future. So if you want help finding and developing your firm’s unique positions of authority, just reach out. We’d love to help you engage skillfully in the broadcast media space.