Bolstering radio outreach, internal crisis comms, more

Breaking news and holidays impact radio projects. Are there any considerations to help me better plan radio outreach?

Breaking news and holidays impact radio projects. Are there any considerations to help me better plan radio outreach?

"Think of radio stations as having inventory - their inventory being time - and fitting a message into it," says Joe Balintfy of North American Network. "They have inventory for ads, inventory for news, and inventory for regular programming.

"Over the holidays, they tend to sell so much of their ad inventory that they usually take time from programming to sell more ads," he continues, "Radio is a business, after all."

During holidays and breaking-news situations, news inventory goes quickly, too, adds Balintfy. As such, when you plan radio outreach, your message must have an even higher value to the station when its inventory is at a premium.

However, immediately after high-demand periods, stations have a glut of inventory and often don't have material to fill that time. In addition, as breaking-news situations subside, there is often a noticeable lull filled by "softer" news stories. These kinds of voids can represent specific opportunities for particular radio PR techniques, says Balintfy.

"For example, when there is an abundance of unsold ad inventory, like after Election Day or in January, PSAs and produced features that run exactly 60 seconds can easily fill the holes left by campaigns or holiday ads," he advises. "That 'quiet after the storm,' be it after holidays or on the tail end of news spikes, is a great opportunity for radio outreach."


Is there a real value to creating an RSS feed from a Web site?

An RSS feed is a real value to an organization that updates its Web site content on a regular basis, such as an active press room, says Krissy Rowan of News Generation.

"This tool can become very valuable to consumers and journalists who have news constantly fed to them instead of having to search for it," she notes. "Think of your Web site as your storefront and your RSS feed as your personal courier who constantly shuttles around the Web, letting those who are interested in your products or services know that you have added new items."

RSS feeds provide you a direct, regular connection to reporters, clients, or customers, adds Rowan. They allow you to develop and strengthen those important relationships.

Internal crisis comms

My company has developed a comprehensive plan to prepare for something like a bird flu pandemic, but I'm concerned about communicating to staff. How do we prepare key personnel, such as HR reps and other leaders, for the challenge?

"The prospect of employee meetings during crises can be daunting for those who've never been asked to do something like this before," says Jeff Braun of the Ammerman Experience. "Provide specific training to help develop presentation and communication skills in highly emotional environments."

Run the targeted group through anticipated scenarios, he continues, such as outbreaks of the disease within your workforce, controlled shutdowns, furloughs, and, unfortunately, the prospect of employee or executive deaths.

"Hopefully, it won't come to that," says Braun, "but it is likely there will be many difficult and unique questions regarding reporting to work, protecting families, travel
policies, etc."

Training should be coordinated with all involved in the response effort to ensure key messages are communicated with compassion and consistency, he adds. The right training and follow-up practice will give your team the added confidence and skills they can use in any sensitive situation.

Send your questions to Please contact Lisa LaMotta if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.

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