As I watched WMUR-TV Journalist Cindy Jones pin a wireless microphone on the lapel of Peace and Paws Founder Melissa Hannon’s jacket, I felt goose bumps standing out on my arms: We are making a difference.
Melissa and her husband, Bo, are the founders of Peace and Paws, a New Hampshire-based non-profit that saves homeless and abandoned dogs from high-kill shelters in Southern states and finds them loving, forever homes in New England. The couple was about to film their first broadcast TV interview, which will air this Thursday on NH Chronicle. Their story will be seen by 40,000 viewers across New Hampshire and Vermont. They were nervous, but prepared – not just to do an interview and create buzz, but to achieve a greater goal: using broadcast media to attract donors and volunteers, as well as potential dog adopters and foster parents.
Media coverage is a game-changer for all of our clients for a variety of reasons. Some are looking to establish a brand or reputation in their field; others are hoping to catch the eye of a venture capitalist or a larger company in search of an acquisition target. Still others are hoping to land new customers or change perceptions in the court of public opinion. But every so often, there are stories beyond these goals. Sometimes, a client just hopes to make a positive difference in its local community.
Will Melissa and Bo’s interview with NH Chronicle result in hundreds of dog lovers flocking to their website in search of adoptable puppies? We sure hope so, but we can’t say for sure. But we do know that raising awareness and starting a conversation through the use of key media outlets is the first step toward that larger goal. Can PR pros use their superpowers for good – as in, to further the good of humanity? The answer is a resounding “yes.”
It’s easy to overlook broadcast media opportunities for a variety of reasons. You might not be comfortable speaking on television, or you might think it’s impossible to secure a stint on air. Broadcast media can produce results that print media can’t, so stop doubting yourself and start preparing for these opportunities. Here are some of the rewards you’ll get in return:
1. Connections and networking: Appearing on a broadcast show helps you meet new people outside of the print publication world and widens your list of media targets. Making new connections results in more opportunities to get your message out.
2. No word count: An on-air segment allows you to say exactly what you want without worrying about the word counts that regulate print opportunities. On TV, you can be clear and concise, but also complete. Metis client Mark McGough, CEO of Ioxus, recently appeared on NBC’s Press: Here with reporters Kym McNicholas of PandoDaily and Jon Swartz of USA Today. He was able to discuss how to make electric vehicles more prominent -- without the constraints of the word count he would have faced in print.
3. Audience expansion: Although trade publications are great for targeting specific readers, there’s not much diversity in their respective audiences. A broadcast show is likely to reach different segments, enticing a variety of viewers to tune in.
4. Simple demonstrations: We’ve all heard that most people are visual learners. It’s difficult to demonstrate how a product works on paper. With a broadcast appearance, product demonstrations are simple, making potential customers interested instead of frustrated.
5. Credibility: Doing an on-air appearance usually means you’ll be speaking with a host, an industry expert or an audience member. Whoever it is, they’ll ask questions and there won’t be time for you to search for the answer. Instead, your quick response will demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.