There are many tools available when it comes time to let the world know what you do. Communication vehicles like websites, social media updates, press releases, whitepapers, press conferences and more, can be very effective—when used in combination—to win new business and raise your profile. In many cases they are far more effective than paying for advertising. Well, there is one more tool you should consider adding to your box that most small businesses don’t realize is within their reach: The satellite media tour, or SMT.
A satellite media tour consists of a company executive or spokesperson making themselves available for interviews to numerous media outlets on a given day. The person being interviewed goes to a studio and from there they are patched in to radio and television shows all over the country, one after another. The SMT has significant advantages over other forms of public relations and media.
A well-planned SMT can consist of 20 to 30 interviews over a six-hour period. Combining both local and national broadcasters, a single SMT could easily reach millions of consumers. An SMT is also cost-effective. By condensing dozens of interviews into a single time slot, you're also condensing the production, technology and telecommunication costs of those interviews, thereby reducing your budget by several orders of magnitude.
So how do you ensure the success of your SMT?
Have a clear message
Most interviews on radio and television will last only a few minutes. It’s critical that you stay focused during that time. But in order to stay focused, you must have a message. If you are launching a new product, talk about the underlying market needs that lead to the development of your product.
Teach, don’t sell
Remember that this isn’t a commercial. The most successful SMTs teach instead of sell. It’s through the teaching that you can generate interest in your company. A great strategy is to develop a research paper or white paper on a related topic, and distribute it publicly. The study could be on certain market trends or conditions. These conditions are the reason why you have launched XYZ product. It creates a natural flow to your message, one that is of interest to audiences, producers and reporters alike. A sales pitch isn’t.
Work with a great production partner
Most SMT interviews will be live. Anything can happen on live television and radio. A satellite link fails, a producer at the next station fails to pick up the phone or dozens of other problems could manifest themselves. A good production partner will locate and rent a well-equipped studio, hire the right camera, lighting, production and makeup freelancers, book the interviews with producers around the country and deal with any issues in real time.
Pick the right spokesperson
This could be a company executive or a paid spokesperson that resonates with audiences. In either case, it’s important that they have a good understanding of your company, what you sell and why audiences will be interested. Sometimes CEOs make great pitch people; other times they don’t. So be open to having someone speak on behalf of your company if your camera presence and media savvy are lacking.
Pitch reporters and producers well in advance
You will always be competing with the news of the world for time on TV and radio. Make sure that when you or your SMT producer reaches out to the media, you do so well in advance. They need time to receive approval from their superiors, book air time and coordinate with their in-house production team. Provide them with a summary of the research or topic to be presented. It’s also entirely reasonable to present them with sample questions and expected answers. The easier you make it, the higher the likelihood they give you air time.
Have you considered using the media to promote your business? What is holding you back? If you have done it before what were the results? Share your war stories here.