Online press conferences, radio placement tips, more

What's the most time and cost-efficient method of giving the news media access to my spokesperson while still keeping control over the flow and direction of the interview?

What's the most time and cost-efficient method of giving the news media access to my spokesperson while still keeping control over the flow and direction of the interview?

"Online press conferences allow your spokesperson to chat in a moderated, virtual auditorium with journalists anywhere in the world," says Jeff Wurtz, News Broadcast Network's SVP of business development. "You can do a text-based press conference for any size audience up to 1,000 users, and feature multiple speakers in a controlled, yet interactive environment."

According to Wurtz, you can supplement your press conference with an online press room where registered journalists can download photos, charts, PDFs, or video clips. Transcripts eliminate the chance of misquotes or out-of-context comments.

"Online press conferences are by far your client's most cost-effective means of getting their story out in a clearly articulated, consistent message - at a fraction of the cost
of a traditional, in-person press conference," he adds.

What are some ways to maximize radio placements?

"There are many ways to maximize audience reach and impressions on radio," says Joan Carrese of Zcomm.

When pitching radio news releases and PSAs, customize your story to each market, she advises. Do research and include statistics in pitches to localize stories. And whenever possible, use a local spokesperson to add a credible, community angle. Stations across the country prefer stories with a local news hook.

"If you are targeting multicultural demographics, such as the Hispanic audience, produce both English- and Spanish-language releases for stations in markets with large Hispanic populations," Caresse notes. Spanish-language outlets are pitched less often than general-market ones, so they are more receptive to news releases, interviews, PSAs, podcasts, and radio contests.

Also remember to personally pitch often. "A short, informative, and newsworthy personal call and e-mail increase the odds that a media contact will like your message and say yes," she says.

Do audio news releases really work?

Typically, if you are trying to reach listeners of major-market radio stations, ANRs are not the proper news vehicle, says Richard Strauss, president of Strauss Radio Strategies.
Most major-market stations - with the exception of some specialty-radio outlets (i.e. African-American, Spanish-language, etc.) - will not accept ANRs as a general rule, no matter how compelling the topic may be, he notes.

That said, if there is a desire to reach these stations, it is possible to do so through "guaranteed placement." This is a situation where a PR firm or entity establishes an official relationship with a national radio network for distributing ANRs to its affiliates - some of which may be located in major markets.

"While distributing ANRs to major-market radio can be challenging, far greater success can be realized if the ANR focuses on a campaign, product, or client targeting listeners in medium and small-sized markets," Strauss explains. These stations accept and use ANRs, and if guaranteed- placement relationships are secured with state radio networks, that can be an even better way to ensure wide-spread distribution.

Send your questions to: Please contact Irene Chang if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns. Toolbox is available online at



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