On Applying the 4T Filter: The Importance of Timing

We’ve written in the past about how to apply the 4T filter to your media tour: Talent, Topic, Timing and Targets. Over the next few weeks, we’ll focus on breaking down those aspects. Today, we’re happy to offer 4media’s four considerations for timing a tour. Check em out, and remember we’re always here to help if you want to talk more.

Can You Be First?

One of the most important aspects of timing has to do with where you can place a tour or story in the overall media landscape.

We recently saw some success after a PR survey and b-roll distribution pitch landed more than 50 earned television hits—including a national cable outlet and stations in New York, LA, and Dallas—because it was the first survey of the season dealing with a pretty hot topic.

If you can time a release just right, to where you’re early enough to be first, but not too early that people aren’t yet paying attention, timing can result in huge wins for both you and a client.

When Is the Tour Happening?

Harnessing the power of timing has to do with more than simply the dates that surround your tour.  The tour itself is another element of good timing, and the actual date of the tour can impact bookings in several ways.

How many SMT’s are happening on the same day? Is there a huge national news item drawing interest?

The timing of your tour is important in getting more bookings. Put simply, if there’s a ton going on in the world or even a particular locale, some stations won’t be able to make a booking a reality due to lack of real-estate—there’s no room in the show for an interview.

What’s the Runway?

When we say runway in this instance, we mean ‘how much time do you have to pitch this in for earned bookings?’

The time required for pitching can be impacted hugely by some of the other T’s, especially topic and talent.  An SMT with a celebrity spokesperson can fill up in a matter of days as stations clamor to talk to a celebrity, and a strong topic should be the crux of any tour, but is only made stronger when pitched at a time that makes sense.

But tours with talent pulled from the professional or industry sectors can take more time to book, and too short a runway can negatively impact those bookings. Always be certain you’ve built in time for follow-ups so that you can give stations the time they need to consider your tour.

What’s Your Clearance Window?

Fewer and fewer SMT’s are LIVE these days. That means that with the increased popularity of tape and ship interviews and segments, you have to consider the window for your piece to actually make it on air. This aspect of timing is hugely important and often misunderstood.

Remember that the end goal of all broadcast PR is in the name—a relationship with your public. And it’s the duty of agencies and SMT vendors to build in extra time so that they can create a tour that resonates with an intended audience.

For example, if you’re working for a brand that has a promotion starting or ending on a certain date, and you want to hit one of those points, it’s wise to try and conduct your SMT the week before.  Leaving only a day or two in your clearance window will limit opportunities for airing, which can limit exposure.

There is a bonus to taped interviews though: They can run any time if you give yourself enough time, and breaking news won’t necessarily ruin your moment in the limelight.

In the coming weeks, we’ll detail the other important aspects of dealing with each of the T’s—stay tuned.

Applying the 4T Filter to Your Media TourWhat is the Best Day for Your Radio Media Tour?