Knowing the media landscape is more important now than ever before, and that is why 4media Group is hosting our live Q&As every Friday with leading journalists, producers and broadcasters.

This week we spoke with David Blackmore, a leading daytime TV producer. David has worked on leading daytime TV shows, and offered some brilliant insights during his 30-minute Q&A.

There is no doubt Coronavirus is having serious impacts across media channels, with many programmes covering more Coronavirus stories than before.

However, while there is a lot of coverage on Coronavirus, as Daniel Jones from The Sun last week said, Blackmore explained there is still an appetite for stories from brands. These can be linked to Coronavirus, or if it is big enough, it can be focused around other important issues.

Many shows are featuring more and more guests over Skype, Facetime and other virtual platforms. Blackmore likened Coronavirus coverage to an onion, in the way it has many different layers that affect different audiences. He says brands can tap into this and be more reactive than before in the way that they pitch.

He suggested taking inspiration from the Government’s daily briefings. If there is something mentioned that affects your client, you should ‘shout it from the rooftops’, but also be quick to tell the journalist exactly why they are the best spokesperson for this issue. He also advised the PRs to ‘pitch with confidence’ – if the PR shows they are confident in the story, this will help the person being pitched to take the story.

The subject line is key. Blackmore recommends that the subject line is similar to what the strapline on the TV would read during the segment. He also suggested writing the email how hosts might introduce it during the show. Helping producers in this way can help brands get the best coverage.

National TV is, of course, a massive achievement to land coverage on, and a highlight of any broadcast campaign. However, there is also a big opportunity to be had in regional and local TV shows, who can’t quite follow the same national agenda. So, if your story fits into a region, this may be a good way to get a very effective piece of coverage.

It is important also to think not just about the story angle, but about what the spokesperson may have to offer. Many daytime shows have a host of psychologists and doctors who they can call upon for comment, so why do they need to speak to the one the PR is pitching? It is important to understand this and to communicate this. 

At this time of intense public scrutiny on brands, Blackmore urged PRs to be strong and push back on their clients if they think launching their story would have any repercussions. Drawing on recent news headlines that have shown some companies in a bad light, he stressed that, as PRs are experts in the reputation building of brands, they should also become an expert in the shows that they are pitching to.

Wrapping up, Blackmore discussed how knowing the themes and subjects of different shows is important. PRs need to be able to demonstrate to him exactly why a story would work on daytime shows, and why it isn’t more suited to another station. Being able to explain this is vital and can be the difference between the story getting aired or not.

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