Satellite Media Tour Insights: Earned Trumps Paid

Posted by Brian Ekl on 7/18/17 10:00 AM

Satellite Media Tours come in all different shapes and sizes. Do you have a story to tell? Have you connected the dots drawing media interest?

Not all SMT’s need paid media. So why are so many big brands creating tours that possess majority pay to play interviews?

Satellite Media Tour.jpg

The 4T Filter refines the project to strengthen your next SMT, making earned media placement possible. To delve deeper into the topic, some problems and solutions every production team faces:

  • Topic. Does your topic make you stop and say “Wow”? Will it stand out in the crowded media world? If not, it may not acquire a large amount of earned media coverage. Producers need something relevant and exciting.
    • Solution: Get creative with the topic. I recommend supplementing with a market research survey, adding relevance to the subject. This easily turns your segment into a news story rather than an interview segment.
  • Promoting vs Informing. Nearly as bad as not having an interesting topic, is an overly commercial segment. An important thing to remember when seeking earned media coverage: don’t over-promote. A media alert that too much resembles a commercial is not appealing to a TV or radio producer.
    • Solution: Lead with informative content. The best promoting is done organically during the interview.
  • I-List Talent vs. A-list Talent. Are you using an internal spokesperson or influencer as talent? Talent is a key part of the 4T Filter for a reason. It’s obvious that internal spokespeople don’t book as well as celebrity talent.
    • Solution: The solution is apparent…secure an A-list talent! OK OK, I realize that’s not always possible. Best way to overcome subpar talent having a topic that the media can’t pass up. I always ask myself, “Is it talent or topic?” Focus on the strengths in your pitch.

Satellite Media Tours.jpg

  • Overexposed Talent. This one can bite if overlooked. Is your talent booked on other media tours? If a producer recently worked with your talent, they are less likely to book them again for another interview.
    • Solution: Know your talent’s media schedule and other commitments. Also, book a variety of talent, especially when implementing multiple tours during the year.
  • Poor Timing. Last but not least, when is your tour planned? Did you schedule the tour around a major news event (ie: Election Day) or a holiday? If your topic is not tied into that specific event, gaining earned media coverage is going to be increasingly tough. 
    • Solution: Do your due diligence and plan properly. Refer to the calendar before locking a tour date. If the date cannot be changed, be prepared to manage expectations accordingly.

Did a light bulb just go off? It is possible to make your SMT an earned tour?  Contact us with any questions. 


As AVP of Media, Brian develops creative strategies to deliver meaningful results for clients! A former broadcast producer/personality now in the PR world executing media relations for global agencies and brands. His specialties include top tier placements (CNBC, ESPN, FOX News, etc.) and booking satellite media tours (SMTs) and radio media tours (RMTs).

Topics: Satellite Media Tour, Media Tour, Public Relations, Paid Media, Earned Media