Radio and VNRs

Preparing the CEO for a VNR interview, getting the most from an online newsroom, and more

Preparing the CEO for a VNR interview, getting the most from an online newsroom, and more

How can I prepare our CEO for a VNR interview?
It's best for the CEO to have media training prior to the actual VNR interview, says John Gordon of Gordon Productions. "Media training is also helpful in preparing for TV stations that prefer a live interview rather than working with sound bites from the VNR," he adds.

Before the VNR interview takes place, show the CEO the questions that you plan to ask. "However, he should not memorize exact responses to the questions or use a teleprompter for the actual interview," Gordon says. "This will appear unnatural and won't fit in with the informal format of news interviews."

On the day before the interview, make certain the CEO has reviewed the questions. You should also remind him about what to wear for the interview. "Clothes that look best on video include solid colors, such as blue or green, or pastels," he notes. "Patterns don't work very well and can be distracting."

Gordon adds that it's best to allow enough time for the actual interview, at least one hour, so the CEO does not have to rush his responses. And when listening to the sound bites, pay attention to make sure they are "consumer-friendly." They should be free of technical terminology. If necessary, have him repeat sound bites that don't hit the mark in terms of their length or impact.

Online content
How can we get the most from our online newsroom?

Online newsrooms are a valuable way for organizations to be responsive to journalists' needs at any time, says Kelly Brighton of Vocus. "Successful online newsrooms are those that are continuously maintained and updated to ensure information is available, relevant, and useful," she says.

For many organizations, this requires a substantial commitment of resources, including IT support costs. As such, available content can often suffer. But Brighton notes that online PR software can help busy PR professionals build and manage a fully functional online newsroom, while at the same time reducing the burden on internal resources.

"These solutions provide PR teams with the ability to easily update rapidly changing content, track important newsroom metrics, and provide journalists with a fully searchable and user-friendly website to help them readily access the information they need," she says.

How much consideration should we give the spokesperson when planning a radio media tour?

The ultimate goal of any RMT is to get airtime for your client, says Maury Tobin of Tobin Communications.

Celebrities are always a top draw for many radio stations, but they may not have the expertise or credibility for many topics. "If your RMT revolves around a health issue, doctors and even patients can be a great choice for spokesperson duty," he says.

Whomever you choose as a spokesperson, that person needs to come across as compelling, articulate, and well-versed on the subject of the media campaign, Tobin says.

He also notes the importance of developing a short, concise message for the spokesperson that isn't too commercial, along with making sure the spokesperson doesn't speak in acronyms that no one understands.

Train your spokesperson to be conversational rather than rigid during the interviews, adds Tobin. And lastly, coach your spokesperson to project his or her voice clearly during the radio interviews, since good sound quality is a must.

My client is giving away its product on a local radio station. What's the best way to get DJs excited about it?

The best way to get DJs excited about a brand is to stroke their egos, says Liv Lane of Win/Win Radio. "A little special treatment goes a long way," she adds.

Once you know which DJs will be promoting your brand, Lane advises sending a flattering note or e-mail to each one. Also, send them a free product before the promotion so they can try it prior to the giveaways.

Many stations ask that you send copy points to someone in sales or promotions, but Lane recommends that you also send those notes directly to the DJ. "You can't always trust a salesperson to relay your brand message correctly," she says.

PR Toolbox is edited by Erica Iacono, New York-based reporter for PRWeek. Submit questions to her at Also, please contact her if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox or to suggest ideas for future columns.


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