Pre-pandemic, one of the defining characteristics of the broadcast PR industry was its social interactivity. Successful broadcast PR meant meeting with journalists, organising events, and, most of all, spending quality time with clients in the studio.
Covid-19 changed the world drastically, and the broadcast PR industry was no exception. Suddenly, broadcast sessions were being held virtually (we’ve all seen the amusing interviews where young children accidentally come wandering into the office mid-broadcast).
So how has Covid-19 changed the way broadcast PRs use the studio? Is it for the better? Will it last?
This article looks at the changing face of broadcast PR and how the studio may evolve.
What was the impact of Covid-19 on studio time?
The studio represents the centre of its universe for the broadcast industry – where we discuss ideas, consider pitches, hold interviews, and make edits. Until the start of 2020, most broadcast sessions were held face-to-face, making it easier for both parties to read facial expressions, pick up on social cues, and keep to time.
Then Covid-19 hit, and most of the corporate world went virtual as the country entered lockdown. While there might well have been mild panic at the start, broadcast PRs had to find a way to run studio sessions remotely quickly.
Like so many things, innovation often comes at a time of crisis or need.
How did broadcast PRs adapt to the challenge?
Although broadcast professionals were no longer sitting in recording studios but working from home, technological advances meant that managing a broadcast session from home was more accessible than first imagined.
Of course, there are inevitably still technical issues – sometimes a spokesperson’s microphone might not be as good quality as hoped, or an interviewee might join the session late. However, the overall quality can be extremely close to being in the studio, and the fact that national broadcasters are comfortable taking the content there is a testament to this fact.
Given the agile nature of broadcast PR (not to mention its short lead times), brands can now respond more quickly to opportunities. This means they are finding top-tier coverage and significant impact in various situations. A benefit of this new landscape is linking up anywhere in the UK within minutes.
Back in 2020, conversations were still about the importance of leaving London for Manchester to appear on BBC Breakfast. This type of decision-making has gone, and maybe for good.
Leading media outlets such as the BBC and Sky have confirmed that they will continue to use Zoom for interviews. Again, this new paradigm allows broadcast PRs to deliver even more.
What was the result of this new approach?
According to new insights from Broadcast Revolution, 60% of clients now prefer the virtual studio setup versus going into the studio in person.
The key is that broadcast media mindsets have shifted. Previously, a digital transmission could make or break the campaign for certain outlets. In other words, some stations might not have accepted an interview or spokesperson unless it was live in their studio. While each still has its preference, this newfound flexibility has opened exciting opportunities, meaning that the world of broadcast PR has more possibilities than ever before.
Top tips for a virtual broadcast interview
- Broadcasters are keen to have different background views than just a kitchen or bedroom. With this in mind, try to be flexible and offer a guest outside or with a relevant background, and this will improve the chances of landing valuable coverage, especially on TV.
- Do a practice run the day before to minimise any technical issues and ensure that your equipment is ready to go. In addition, you’ll want to make sure that the sound quality is good enough and that your internet speed is strong enough.
- Offer a quick briefing session to the client’s spokesperson to ensure they are well versed in the subject matter and comfortable with the campaign’s key messages.
The broadcast PR industry’s response to the pandemic reminded us how quickly things can change and how processes can benefit from being updated. For now, the new digital way of securing broadcast PR coverage is proving exceptionally successful. This has materialised in broadcast PR professionals and their clients reaping the rewards.
Ultimately, it begs the question – why didn’t the digital transformation happen sooner? More impact is coming from less time investment and more digital solutions in this new world.
Author Bio: Broadcast Revolution is a specialist broadcast PR agency providing a fresh and creative way to deliver quality coverage for brands. The specialised expert team creates authentic content that focuses on quality rather than quantity. Services include talent sourcing, media relations, video and podcast production, media training, and much more.