A mother goes to thank students in a classroom for making a difference in her life. An ice cream store offers free goodies to men and women who work to protect and serve. An eight-year-old helps save the environment.
The media might not be interested in sending both a reporter and photographer to cover events such as those to produce full-blown stories. But watch local TV news. Much of it consists of many 30-second snippets. Thirty seconds might be a blip on your Google Calendar, but 30 seconds on a newscast still reaches a wide audience. And it’s not uncommon for that 30-second snippet to repeat on several newscasts over two days.
TV types usually call these 30 to 45 second stories VOSOTs: voice over sound on tape. The anchor voices over the tape and then an interview provides the sound on tape.
Businesses and other groups, excited about an event, will call media days, sometimes weeks ahead of time to tell them about these VOSOT type opportunities. I’m exaggerating a bit, but if a media outlet is organized, someone will place this event on a schedule that hopefully someone will look at when the big day arrives. If you’re really unlucky, someone will take down your information and it will disappear by the end of the day.
In these cases, planning ahead might work against a business. Producers are most desperate to fill their shows, often with VOSOTS, the day the show airs or the day before. Yes it’s the communication business, but newsrooms aren’t often organized well enough to refer to an evolving list of ideas that groups and PR firms have presented to them in recent weeks. This is when you strike.
Imagine a producer selling space in her show like it’s the stock market. Be on the floor, shouting I can help! Listen to my story! You are most interesting to a producer when you can do something for her right now, not in several days or weeks. It’s supply and demand. Your VOSOT story ideas often are most in demand at the last minute.
Hats off to those newsrooms that are so organized, they’ll cover something in 2010 that was pitched to them in 2009. But from my experience, it would take a lot less than 30 seconds to list those newsrooms.
Tags: Arizona communication consulting, Arizona public relations, communication, media, newscast, newsroom, Phoenix communication consulting, Phoenix Public Relations, photographer, PR, PR agency, PR firm, producer, Public Relations, reporter, The Flip Side Communications, tv news