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Do Satellite Media Tours (SMTs) still work? We hear that question often. The answer is YES… with a caveat.

TV stations still need content for morning programs, online outlets are hungry for compelling video, radio and newspapers are being tasked with building up their online presence with solid video interviews.

So, what’s the caveat? As with everything in life, SMTs (and other types of media tours) are a direct result of what you put in to them. Before you make a sizable spend on a PR tactic, below are 10 tips (and lots of questions) to help you shape an outstanding media tour.

  1. Make sure a SMT is the right tactic
  • How strong is your story?
  • What visuals do you have?
  • Are you open to all markets or do you have specific markets that will make this a win?


  1. Select the right spokesperson
    • Does the story weigh heavier than the spokesperson or will the spokesperson make or break the news-ablity?
    • Make sure the spokesperson hasn’t conducted another SMT at least 3 months prior to your tour (don’t trust the agent…ask your SMT partner to do a search!)
    • Check out the reputation of the spokesperson – some are not worth the money!


  1. Make sure the timing is right
    • Do you have a logical news tie or a strong ‘evergreen’ story?
    • Can you strengthen your news value if you go on another date?
    • What time frame in the day is going to get you the most bookings?


  1. Define “what success looks like” before the SMT
    • Are you being measured on overall reach or specific target demo penetration?
    • Will a certain number of interviews be a win? Is it quality over quantity?
    • What is your media “wish list?”


  1. Be realistic with your client
    • Some markets will not take non-celebrity or non-breaking news tours.


  1. Localize, localize, localize
    • Give producers a specific reason their audience will care about the interview.


  1. Pay attention to set design
    • TV/online video is all about the visuals – will the audience know what the segment is about if they have the volume off?
    • Ask to see some of the SMT partner’s past sets – if they are all similar (i.e. a monitor with a logo/image next to the spokesperson) you may want to check out some other potential partners.


  1. Know the current media landscape
    • Some stations require payment for tour inclusion, but those same stations will take segments earned if they like the story.


  1. Prep your spokesperson
    • Conduct a pre-tour call so they can ask questions.
    • Ask them if any particular food, drink or other items will make them comfortable during the morning of the tour.
    • Give your spokesperson your SMT partner’s contact information in case they have a question they don’t want to ask in front of the larger team.
    • Discuss wardrobe ahead of time.
    • Make sure your SMT partner will have an experienced floor director on set with your spokesperson to keep energy up, massage messages and make sure they hit their key points.


  1. Trust your partner
    • Do they tell you what you need to know or what you want to hear?
    • Are they “in it” with you ‘til the end?
    • What happens if you don’t reach your goals or if a news event causes mass cancelations on your tour?
    • How do they get audience numbers?
    • What are the value-added elements that will provide a strong audience base on which to build with media placements?
    • Will they make you look like a hero in front of your boss and client?


And one bonus tip – DON’T GET OVERWHELMED!

A strong media tour partner can help you navigate all the above and exceed your client’s expectations. At KEF Media we have always had a ‘no charge for brainstorming’ policy. We would love to help you define your goals and customize a plan that will get you to the finish line. We recently added an instant message feature to our website – if you are in a meeting and need a quick gut check or don’t understand certain broadcast PR terms, we are just a click away.

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