How To Get Live SMT Interviews in the Top-Five DMA’s

Posted by TJ Stallbaumer on 10/23/18 6:14 PM

Clients come to us often with an important question for their Satellite Media Tour: “How do I book LIVE interviews?”

It’s a difficult question to answer, and the ever-changing media landscape presents challenges. LIVE interviews are more difficult to get now than in the past, as the popularity (and ease) of producing tape and ship segments has increased hugely. Add to that a cluttered media environment and a mass amount of LIVE breaking news—and it should become clear quickly why booking top media markets for LIVE SMT interviews is tricky.

But it can be done.

A client came to us recently hoping to produce a quick-turn SMT, aimed at increasing awareness around continuous breaking news events, with a goal of booking top-tier earned media across the country. 

With only 72 hours to craft an alert and begin pitching, 4media was able to secure earned bookings in the nation’s top media markets, including television stations in New York, radio in Los Angeles and more TV in Chicago, San Francisco and on nationally syndicated programs.

So, how’d we do it?

The answer lies in a couple of the Four T’s we like to talk so much about: Topic and Timing. Here’s a little on how each drove the SMT over the top…

Timing: When clients come to us and ask the question that led the blog post, we typically tell them there are a few ways to ensure a strong lineup of live bookings. The first is through talent: If you got Selena Gomez or Lebron James, stations will do whatever they can to talk to you.

But in lieu of superstar spokesperson status, a tour timed to match with a current event, or in this instance, a continuous breaking news event, is likely to garner interest because the timing is so spot on, and the topic tops relevance ratings.

Topic: Remember that at the end of the day, we’re dealing primarily with news stations, meaning topics that carry news value can often drive bookings in a major way. Such was the case with our most recent SMT.  There was no famous talent, but the timing was perfect, and the topic itself had huge news value.

The client took to the airwaves to raise awareness about best practices surrounding the breaking news event in question. It was a story that held value to viewers, which means it held value to producers, which means it has the chance to garner great bookings—and it did. 

With all Satellite Media Tours, topic and timing are going to be important. But our most recent project shows the enormous value those two filters can have when they’re driven by a great newsworthy topic, catapulting LIVE earned media bookings.

TJ Stallbaumer is 4media Group's Account Coordinator in Media and Research, where he focuses on delivering meaningful, click-worthy and research-driven content for clients and their brands. TJ worked in television news, where he was an online content editor and social media manager in a top-100 media market. TJ also spent time as a freelance longform journalist, and has had pieces featured in publications across Northwest Arkansas ranging in scope from 'social media's subliminal priming in political discussions' to a series detailing the area's best motorcycle roads. TJ has a master's degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, and is an NWA native living in Rogers.