Pitching talk radio, viral marketing tips, and more

What should I know when pitching stories for commercial talk radio?

What should I know when pitching stories for commercial talk radio?

"In talk radio, the energy that comes through the voice of your spokesperson is critical," says Katie Pagenkopf, assistant producer for The Lisa Birnbach Show.

Most talk radio is programmed around the fact that the average listener is in a car flipping channels every two to three minutes. There is no time for the guest - your spokesperson -to ease into the interview.

"You also need to know the conversation style of the host," notes Pagenkopf. If a fascinating story with a relevant news angle doesn't fit with the personality of the host, it won't work on air; and there is no pre-interview long enough to remedy this.

The producers can help you understand how the host conducts the show, what types of questions to expect, and how the host will likely respond to your spokesperson.

"However, the best way to understand the show and how your pitch will fit in is old-fashioned listening," Pagenkopf suggests.

Viral marketing

How can our company come up with a successful viral marketing campaign?

"The most important elements of any viral marketing campaign are to know your target audience and to create interesting, entertaining, interactive content," says Ross Glick, CEO, Indelible Media.

There is no way you will be able to guarantee a successful viral campaign, he explains, but all the most effective ones contain a unique concept or message packaged with a seamless blend of clean design, reliable technology, and clever content.

Your message needs to be catchy, look good, function perfectly, and contain a "surprise" element, Glick continues. The most memorable viral campaigns - and thus the most contagious - are also those that require a level of interactivity and thought or effort from the user, such as a game or puzzle. A true viral campaign gets forwarded because users are compelled by the catchy content, not because there is a payoff or reward.


Celebrities

How do I know if it would be worthwhile for my company to engage the service of a celebrity at our event?

Agencies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for celebrities to appear on behalf of brands. At live events, it's important to make sure that you use your celebrity investment wisely, advises Matt Glass of Eventage.

"While star power is certainly a way to ensure coverage, the brand's message also needs to come out loud and clear," he says. "That's why we recommend against using a celebrity to host an event."

Unless your star is a seasoned emcee, like Ryan Seacrest or Tom Bergeron, Glass advises that it's best to hire your own professional host and let him or her introduce the star and manage the flow of the show. The star can garner the flashbulbs and the sound bites, while the emcee makes sure the public and the media get the right message for the entire event.

"Your host will be there for as long as you need," he adds, "as opposed to a celebrity, who might have other obligations or be pulled away for interviews and photo-ops."

Send your questions to: toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Irene Chang if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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