Expert Advantage for PR teams

Penny Haslam Expert Advantage Leave a Comment

Here are some of the main points we covered in my Broadcast Insight session you attended last week, that will help you get your client on air as an expert contributor. Frustratingly, it’s not something you can magic up overnight and get a quick result for your client and have them on-air the very next day. BUT it is do-able and will provide your client with an enduring relationship with the broadcasters, if they perform well. It can net them an expert profile (and therefore trust) on national TV or radio, which is something money can’t buy (well it can, but this is far better)!
Here are my 5 Top Tips for getting your client the expert advantage on TV and radio:
1. Interview your client! Is your client able to think ‘big picture’? Have conversations with them about relevant recent news items and see how they respond, do they know the detail and can they expand their points to incorporate the wider issues for their industry/sector/customers? Not every client will be good at this, but it can be taught if you think there’s a spark of talent for TV and radio appearances.

TIP: Broadcasters want people who can say something interesting about something that’s happening or has just happened, and make it relevant to most of their listeners/viewers – so your client has to be comfortable doing that and not just keeping it ‘corporate speak’ for their business alone.

2. Remember the ‘what have you got in common’ game? Daft as it was, the winners in both groups were people who knew each other really well. The same goes for you and your destination programmes, so the more you get to know them (the station, the programme, the style, and crucially, the types of content they go for), the more you’ll know how your client can fit in.

TIP: Find your pet programmes that would best suit your clients, you only need one or two – and then focus wholeheartedly on them. Ask yourself, what sorts of news or features do they like to feed on?
3. As odd as this might be to you, and counter intuitive, don’t create stories for your clients! Selling in works – but NOT for broadcast journalists working on news programmes – not for regular appearances anyway. Remember the Notonthehighstreet PR opportunity VS the cookies story tech guy expert? He’s on all the time…

TIP: Sit on your hands and don’t send a press release, or a ‘hi, my client’s an expert in this that and the other, and they’re available’ email. Reason? Well, you’re asking too much of the journalist to make the leap and remember your client for when that topic comes up. Experts comment on stuff IN the news, they are not PART of the news. So jump on the news!

4. Find the Holy Trinity of Getting the Expert Advantage: your client’s expertise, the right programme for them and a current news story that they can comment on – then you can go right ahead and get in touch with the broadcasters. Or better still (best in fact), get your client to get in touch.

TIP: It’s individuals not company spokespeople that make experts, so authentic contact with the actual person is what journalists crave. It means they can have efficient, meaningful communication with the person who’ll be on air.

5. There’s some phrase about good orchards bearing fruit, something along those lines. Well, you can sew seeds of expertise easily by using social media to showcase your client’s thought leadership. Find a ‘blog peg’ or hook from the news on which they have something to say, and get blogging; or comment on a news article if there’s no time to blog – they can show thought leadership this way. And use Twitter to include and feed your pet programmes with this content, use hashtags and DM the producer/researcher on the programme.

TIP: Remember, you’re the ENABLER of the¬†expert (your client) – so provide them with all the tools they need. You are their eyes and ears. Use social media for them if you can, and where possible get them to use their name, not their company name, which is faceless to a broadcast journalist and comes across as PR.