In early November, after months of campaigning, Democratic political candidate Bernie Sanders dropped $2 million on his first TV ad buy. The one-minute biography spot will run over 10 days this month in Iowa and New Hampshire.
It’s now less than a year to the 2016 U.S. presidential elections, and many of the campaigns are locking their television advertising strategies in place. According to Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis, TV spending in this election cycle will reach $4.4 billion, of which $3.3 billion will be spent advertising on local broadcast TV stations.
The emphasis on local isn’t surprising. With such a large field, candidates will have to spend heavily in these smaller markets to stand out. And that’s exactly what’s happening. As of the end of September, three of the candidates already had spent $22.5 million for more than 35,000 commercial spots on Iowa TV stations through Feb. 2.
With all the buzz around social media, it may seem puzzling that campaigns drop so much money on television. But while these channels certainly play a role in building support, television is still the most pervasive platform. According to Nielsen, not only does television reach 87% of adults 18 and older, but adults of all ages spend more time – about 7.5 hours a day – with television than any other platform.
So TV ads clearly help candidates get their message in front of voters. But, this year, campaign managers face a significant challenge: How can they get their candidates noticed on the overcrowded airwaves?
There is one way for them to get a competitive edge: Use broadcast monitoring to help develop better messaging, and to create and measure media strategy. Here’s how that can work.
- More Effective Messaging
Campaigns can craft stronger, more memorable messages when they know what they’re up against. Broadcast monitoring enables them to evaluate an opponent’s advertising message in real time and to react quickly. Campaign managers can use this intelligence to craft counter-messaging and shift their media strategy accordingly.
Broadcast monitoring can also help campaigns track shifts in the opposition’s platform statements. Candidates often align themselves to new polling data, but in doing so, they may contradict statements made early in a campaign. By monitoring opponents from the start of the cycle, campaign managers are able to store clips of positions opponents have taken previously. Once platforms are formalized, these clips can be reviewed and if discrepancies are noticed, they can be used to powerful effect in advertisements.
- Evaluate and Measure
With so much money riding on TV advertising, campaign managers must take advantage of every opportunity to assess the effectiveness of their media strategy. Broadcast monitoring provides important metrics such as local publicity value and viewership. In addition, campaigns can capture and store clips, including the segments that bookend the ad.
- Keep an Eye on Every Market
With most advertising budgets being invested in local markets, campaign managers can’t afford to have less-than comprehensive access to TV advertising clips. Without full coverage, campaigns would have an incomplete picture of the media landscape – and they risk missing important clips. Thus, it’s essential to invest in broadcast monitoring that covers all local, regional, state and national markets. That’s why TVEyes, for example, covers all 210 US DMAs, as well as all of the major and national markets.
- Gain Insight into Opposition Strategy
In addition to measuring their own TV ads, campaign managers must constantly evaluate the opposition’s campaign. Broadcast monitoring can provide useful insights into another campaign’s media strategy. For example, campaign managers can estimate spend by station and the local market reach for each ad.
Given the heavy spend on TV advertising, especially on the local level, campaigns need to have tools that enable them to manage and evaluate their media strategy. With broadcast monitoring in place, campaign managers will find it easier to react to opponents’ moves and to adjust course in real-time.
For more tips, be sure to download our ebook, “Broadcast Media Monitoring Can Help Your Candidate Win an Election.”
When Jon Stewart retired in early August, many guests, fans and even critics showered him with accolades and farewells. But among those who said they’d miss him, there was one surprise: Arby’s.
Stewart had made lampooning the fast food chain a running joke on the show, yet the publicity was good for the company. Most of the resulting chatter was positive, served to increase awareness and contributed to a growth in sales, the brand told the Wall Street Journal. And that was before it seized the pop culture moment.
But grasping such a moment isn’t easy to do, and it’s even more difficult to spin it into a positive result. For organizations to cash in on pop culture moments, they need to be constantly monitoring the media landscape for news that is both topical and relevant to their brand. Then, they need to be prepared to seize the opportunity and quickly turn it into a campaign that can drive consumer conversations about their brand.
Without the right marketing infrastructure in place, however, it can be difficult to jump into a dynamic moment with effective advertising and marketing campaigns. With a bit of planning, though, brands can build upon emerging news stories and orchestrate iconic moments of their own. There are three essential pieces that need to be in place to make it happen.
Only by keeping a close watch on mentions of your brand and industry can you hope to identify and seize the moment in time to enter the conversation. That’s why setting up alerts should be your first step toward finding relevant pop culture opportunities. Our Watchlist feature can do the work for you. With just a few clicks, you can set up several alerts to monitor broadcasts and automatically alert you to mentions of your brand as well as relevant cultural topics. When you identify a potential moment, you can analyze the coverage to determine which journalists and media outlets are covering the news, so you’ll know who is the right producer to pitch.
A Creative Marketing Team
You’ll need your most creative advertising and marketing professionals to be ready to leap into action. Rarely will you have a long lead time – like Arby’s did – to react. In the era of the 24-hour news cycle, you can’t follow the typical creative process, and it’s smart to have the team brainstorm and prepare for likely scenarios. Even if the ideas aren’t quite right, they often can be adapted on the fly. It’s always easier than starting from scratch.
For most brands, the approval process tends to be lengthy and time-consuming. But a pop culture moment is just that: a moment. Be prepared with a streamlined timeline created just for this type of opportunity. Don’t overlook the importance of vetting ideas for legal or reputational issues, but do recognize that timing is pivotal to the success of this type of campaign.
Although the Arby’s/Jon Stewart pop culture moment may seem an aberration or a lucky shot, there’s always something on the horizon. I’ll go out on a limb and say the New York Mets may provide a pop culture moment for Marvel and DC Comics or perhaps a men’s shampoo brand as fans and the media rally around their long haired pitching staff that goes by superhero inspired nicknames.
It’s fun to imagine how brands might seize a Mets Series win and turn it into a memorable moment of their own.
The Banana Index illustrates three types of crises. In addition to “Yellow,” a crisis can also be “Green” or “Brown.” Each category represents a different degree of intensity and state of immediacy. In each of these scenarios, broadcast monitoring can help you more effectively plan, manage and respond to a high-risk situation.
In crisis communications, the “Banana Index” is a useful assessment and planning tool for risk and crisis management. Knowing which type of crisis is at your door can help you prepare and focus on the right steps to resolve the issue quickly.
The “Yellow” banana. Of the three types of crises, this is the one that every public relations professional dreads the most. On the index, a “Yellow” represents a crisis that moves quickly, leaving no time for planning or preparation. Think natural disasters like earthquakes or tragedies such as plane crashes.
In a fast-moving situation, it’s critical to understand both what is being reporting and how far and fast the news is traveling. Thus, in a “Yellow” crisis, access to real-time broadcast coverage is essential for reducing damage to your organization.
Broadcast monitoring plays many critical roles as an immediate crisis unfolds. Most importantly, it allows the crisis specialist to:
- Track all mentions to understand how your organization is being portrayed by the news media. Using video clips and transcripts, you can determine how best to respond and adjust talking points in real-time.
- Assess the scope of the crisis. With a line of sight into local, regional and international markets, you can better analyze the reach of the crisis and act quickly to minimize the spread of reputation-damaging news.
A “Green” crisis is one that is emerging, giving you plenty of time to plan. However, there’s always a risk that it can erupt quickly, making an ongoing broadcast monitoring program a necessity. Examples of “green” crises include activist opposition, product defects or financial troubles. Volkswagen’s current troubles likely began as a “Green” crisis, but evolved into a “Yellow.”
With the luxury of time, public relations professionals can use broadcast monitoring as part of the planning process. With it, they can:
- Review broadcast segments to identify friendly and adversarial media outlets and develop a plan to cultivate relationships with these journalists long before the crisis erupts.
- Analyze the style of questioning and use clips to help train spokespeople effectively for interviews.
A “Brown” crisis is one that persists, potentially for years, despite the best efforts of management. Examples are rumors that spread about a company and never seem to be dispelled.
With broadcast monitoring in place, crisis specialists can work continuously to manage the crisis. It enables them to:
- Flag misinformation and reach out to the reporter to correct it quickly.
- Keep executives updated by preparing daily or weekly reports that include samples of coverage from various markets. The capability to conduct keyword searches is required, because often companies won’t know if or where something has aired.
Regardless of the color of the crisis, comprehensive television coverage is critical for evaluating the scope, identifying hot spots and keeping track of issues that are very specific to a town or area.
And access to real-time coverage will help executives and crisis specialists stay more informed and provide the ability to address crises before things get out of hand.
For more tips about how to use broadcast media monitoring to manage a crisis, download our free playbook.
Don Draper may have made many successful pitches to clients, but when he talked to the media, he lost all his charm. Ironically, he couldn’t conjure up the right thing to say. Perhaps Don could’ve learned a thing or two from Fred Iannotti.
As a freelance pitcher and writer, Fred works with agencies to get their clients’ stories in the national business and trade press. Although he pitches all types of outlets, including the major business targets, such as The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Bloomberg News, he frequently works with broadcast media. He was kind enough recently to share four of his secrets with us.
Secret #1: Know What’s News – and What’s Not
Producers and assignment editors are looking for stories that tie into breaking news. They also welcome broadcast-ready experts who are telegenic, quotable, and unafraid to offer pithy insights on controversial topics. It’s also important that they be available and have easy access to the main studio or can get to an affiliate to do a remote.
National broadcast means you’re up against the Big Story. If you’re not launching the next version of the iPhone (i.e., if your news isn’t big enough to be a Big Story), it needs to fit into that flow of breaking news — which means monitoring what’s being reported. Regional and local TV and radio require that your story have a local angle.
Few clients have a story of national magnitude. Nevertheless, every business assumes the media is waiting with bated breath for their new product (or service) press release. Your job is to give the client a reality check and adjust expectations to fit that reality. Often your client’s story isn’t that new product or service. If you dig deep enough, you will likely find the real story — the buried lead. Almost every company has a story to tell. It’s just that companies are too close to their business to recognize what the real news is.
Secret #2: Do Your Research
A savvy media pitcher with informed research skills is the client’s secret weapon. Fred says that because pitchers always put themselves in the reporter’s shoes, they often can secure coverage for the client from completely unexpected angles. You not only must know the journalist’s beat, but understand how they like to report stories and what they’re reporting on currently.
Most companies make the natural mistake of thinking that their news revolves around the latest and greatest features of their new product(s) and service(s). If you’re stuck playing that hand, Fred offers the example of an automaker that has designed a car with six speeds.
“You have to look at it from the consumer’s point of view, which is how the reporter looks at it,” Fred says. “What’s the importance of that extra speed? What does it allow you to do? Go faster? Save the transmission? What about this makes it newsworthy?
Putting the client’s news into context is a must. While journalists know their industry beats, they may not know every widget and how it compares to other widgets. Your job is to make your widget relevant by explaining why it matters – that is, why the viewer should care. Context, context, context — it’s probably the biggest oversight in pitching a story.
Secret #3: Customize Your Pitch to Each Outlet
To paraphrase an old saying, what’s boring to one media outlet is news gold to another. Iannotti points out that the press release is an archaic method. It’s a one-size-fits-all tool that doesn’t fit our age of customization.
Worse, it insults the reporters you’re trying to cultivate. Not only does it say you don’t understand their specialized needs, but it indicates that to you, they’re no more important than any other reporter. News releases have their place, but they’re usually useless to a pitcher.
Think about it from the reporter’s viewpoint: He needs to produce a segment that tantalizes his audience. As the pitcher, you need to understand that audience and be able to communicate concisely what they need to know.
Customizing a pitch to your target media outlets is often a tough sell to a client because it is time-intensive. With a news release, you blanket the world in seconds and then waste your time following up, trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.
The most effective way to secure detailed coverage is to “shop the exclusive.” With this approach, you select the media your client cares about the most and offer an exclusive to your top target. If unsuccessful with your top target, you move on to your #2 candidate. It takes time and patience, but the results are much, much better.
Secret #4: The Perfect Pitch is Personalized
In this age of personalization, a pitcher must be familiar with each journalist. Although this kind of information can be hard to come by, it’s important to try to find out what’s on a journalist’s plate, how he likes to receive pitches (email? tweet? text?), and what his hot buttons are.
Fred notes that it’s essential to read/watch/listen to what journalists report because you want to use that knowledge to engage them during your elevator pitch for your client. Services like TVEyes make it easy to pinpoint and view a particular reporter’s work. For example, a media pitcher can search TVEyes using relevant terms, enabling him to determine not only if a broadcast outlet covered a particular topic but also how specific journalists treated it. (Sign up for a free trial of TVEyes and see how it can make your next pitch stronger.)
And displaying to a journalist that you know what they’ve been reporting about demonstrates you’ve done your homework. It also strokes a reporter’s ego, which is not a bad thing to do.
Once you’ve identified the appropriate outlets and the right journalists and producers at each, you’ll need to work your media list progressively, customizing each pitch.
In working with broadcast media, the producer — or booker — is your target. They’re the ones who you have to “sell,” and, if they buy what you’re selling, they in turn will have to sell your story to their news editor and/or supervising producer.
An email pitch is usual and always includes a catchy subject line, an equally catchy lead, a few quick bullet points about the client’s news and how it relates to news of the day. The pitch also includes what the client (or expert) is available to comment on, where they are based geographically, relevant Youtube videos or podcasts, a bio brief, and a LinkedIn link.
Many networks prefer live coverage, and because breaking news rules, they’ll tend to make decisions at the last minute. Producers gravitate to spokespeople who can come to the studio quickly, often at moment’s notice.
It’s no secret: Pitching TV is not easy
Pitchers have a tough job. They have to educate clients that earned media do not live in the same world as marketers. This is important because many pitchers report to marketing VPs, who are not always cognizant of the difference. In the earned media world, you don’t get to make the rules — they do. This is a message that can take some clients a while to absorb. Some never get it.
The most effective media pitchers are the ones able to balance being the client’s advocate while viewing the world from the journalist’s perspective.
We’re celebrating some important achievements here at TVEyes and they’re worth sharing as they help create context for understanding our business from the outside (and make us feel pretty good inside).
Last month Dave Seltzer (our system architect) and I were awarded U.S. patent 9,087,331 CONTEXTUAL ADVERTISING FOR VIDEO AND AUDIO MEDIA for the invention of a system to present contextually relevant advertisements based on words spoken in a video or audio segment being played via the Internet. The work on this invention started nearly nine years ago, very early in the life of Internet video (YouTube still had no revenue model and was about to be purchased by Google for an at-the-time staggering sum).
Dave and I realized that our innovation of indexing spoken words against video could be a source of monetization for Web properties and content owners. Video advertisements then, and now, often had no bearing on the content, and were intrusive as well. By capturing keywords from transcripts or speech-to-text we created, we could interrogate an ad serving system and present advertisements that were relevant to the viewer, increasing clicks and enhancing the user experience. You can read the news release here.
This kind of innovation and transformation of the underlying material is central to what we do here at TVEyes. We’re continuing to innovate our core products and services and exploring additional ways we can apply proprietary technologies to create and support business opportunities for our clients.
Innovation and dedication to our mission has led us to distinction again among our technology-company peers in Connecticut. We’ve been named a Marcum Tech Top 40 finalist for 2015, meaning that our growth over time is among the fastest in our state. We’re looking forward to the event on September 24, and recognition for the hard work of our team. While it’s an award for growth – hat tip to our sales team for their stellar performance – it’s also an award for our development and service teams as well. Our ability to attract and retain customers is a direct reflection of the unrivaled breadth and utility of our broadcast media monitoring service and the team that delivers and supports our more than 3,000 clients every day.
There’s more to come from TVEyes in 2015 and beyond – stay tuned!
Although Election Day is more than 18 months away, the 2016 Presidential campaign season is well underway. Reporters and producers are already scrutinizing every statement, expression, gesture, and action a candidate makes.
To control the message, political candidates must monitor the news in real-time and in all markets. The White House, members of Congress, and many government agencies know how news events can upend their plans, which is why they use services like TVEyes to track news events and keep their messaging consistent and persistent.
But broadcast monitoring is also an invaluable tool for political candidates. The news cycle requires vigilance, and campaign managers who track issues, opponents, and media personalities will be in a better position to control their candidate’s messages.
Here are just a few of the ways political campaigns can use broadcast monitoring in the upcoming election season.
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It’s tough to be a celebrity, politician, business leader, or journalist in the age of television and the Internet. Make a mistake or a slip of the tongue, and your error could be ricocheting through social media in seconds. And the talking heads will be, well, talking about you on the local morning shows and nightly newscasts.
This year alone, the list of recent slips and trips is long and infamous: Brian Williams, Keith Olbermann, Patricia Arquette, Kanye West – all had to defend, explain, apologize for, or walk-back statements they made.
And it’s not just individuals. Silicon Valley’s favorite unicorn, Uber, had to explain why one of its executives was interested in digging up dirt on journalists. The slip sent the company into a PR tailspin.
CNN’s afternoon anchor Brooke Baldwin apologized after she put the blame for policing problems on military veterans returning home from war. A day later, she went on the air, admitted her words were a mistake, and apologized.
ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos also issued apologies. Not for what was said, but for what wasn’t said. He failed to disclose a $75,000 donation to the Clinton Foundation when reporting on Hillary Clinton or the nonprofit. Because journalists are expected to remain neutral in reporting, the omission raised issues about trust.
Slips and omissions, if not handled correctly, can damage a reputation. But crisis management experts generally agree the best way to handle such a situation is by issuing a heartfelt apology. Nearly all of those mentioned above handled their missteps with an apology. Yet some were more successful than others.
Public apologies can be tough. What does it take to express a convincing regret? To avoid sounding insincere or being accused of issuing a “non-apology” apology, follow these steps.
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No one likes a surprise, least of all the CEO. If there’s an issue with serious consequences for his company, he needs to know far in advance what it is and how you’re going to deal with it.
Senior PR pros know they need to stay on top of emerging trends and changes in the socio-political environment. A single issue can bubble up in the most unexpected places and impact many industries and organizations of all sizes.
For example, demands for a higher minimum wage by workers at a local fast-food restaurant can cause a ripple effect, eventually reaching giant retailers like Wal-Mart. Likewise, the USDA’s new dietary guidelines can create an impact on stakeholders as disparate as regional school districts and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Today’s media landscape is more complicated than ever before. Television remains the single most influential medium, and it reaches deep into local communities. And consumers and activists now have a powerful platform for propagating their ideas and opinions through social media. These media worlds often intertwine, feeding each other.
This makes identifying and planning for potential crises an ongoing responsibility, and one that is increasingly difficult in a very noisy and rapidly changing world.
The process for issues management can be broken down into five steps.
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When you are on top of the developing news in the industries in which they specialize, when you are actively on the lookout for organizations you can help, you will find and reach potential clients.
When you prove you’re knowledgeable about your prospective client, its business, and the media environment in which it operates, you’ll win the business. When you develop smart campaigns, provide well-thought-out advice, and develop communications programs that help your client stand out among the competition, you create strong and trusting relationships.
When you bring new ideas to the table, are proactive in warning about potential hot spots, and help clients avert crises, you’re likely to be viewed as valuable partners and thus indispensable.
When you consistently produce exceptional results, clients will recommend you to others – over and over again.
Broadcast monitoring enriches your relationship with your client by providing the qualitative and quantitative data that informs strategy, improves performance, and enables quick thinking and quick action. With it, you’ll set your agency apart from the competition and achieve your goals: to find and win new business, and to deliver exceptional results that turn clients into evangelists.
There isn’t a single organization that isn’t unnerved by the latest data security hack. When millions of credit card numbers are stolen or employee data are thrown into the open, every department will find they have a stake in what happens next.
Sometimes, simply the perception of a weakness can create a cascading impact. The PR team will jump into action when shows like 60 minutes point out security flaws, but executives, product development, sales, marketing and IT will quickly follow and take steps to seize opportunities or mitigate damage.
Keeping ahead of the latest news and investigative reports and how they reverberate in local markets can help your organization react in real time. However, it’s impossible to track every market without incorporating broadcast monitoring into your media-tracking program.
Because of its comprehensive, local coverage, broadcast monitoring provides a more reliable picture of what the media are saying and how it’s influencing your audience.
Executives and functional groups outside the public relations office may not be aware of the impact broadcast monitoring can have on setting business strategy, mitigating risk, and seizing competitive advantage.
We’re pleased to offer a free playbook to help explain the advantages of broadcast monitoring across the enterprise.
Our free playbook provides samples of how broadcast monitoring can be used for:
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TVEyes WebsiteTVEyes Home Page Find out more about our Media Monitoring Suite, the only unlimited use, fixed cost TV and radio search, monitoring and clipping service.
- Why TV Advertising Still Counts Among Voters
- How Brands Can Use Broadcast Monitoring to Seize Pop Culture Moments
- What Color is Your Banana? Six Crucial Roles for Media Monitoring in Crisis Management
- Secrets of a Pitch Man: 4 Tips to Land a Broadcast Interview
- Reaping the Rewards of Innovation and Growth: TVEyes Awarded a Patent for Contextual Advertising and the 2015 Marcum Tech Top 40.