Kate Fallis
Kate Fallis
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International Media Relations: securing coverage across the pond

Securing overseas coverage for clients is becoming much more prevalent and often the icing on the cake off the back of a successful UK campaign. Many clients have an EMEA and global brief too and selling in to international broadcasters is increasingly a requirement.

We support many of our clients with international media relations – this is typically via the London based offices of pan European/Global broadcasters like BBC World, CNN, CNBC, APTN etc or we can sell in to specific territories. In Hong Kong  we have strong relationships with broadcasters (one of our team was based there as a TV journalist) including CNN, BBC, CNBC, RTHK, Asia TV and TVB.

It’s a welcome challenge for our media relations team and recently we’ve sold in to America, Europe and China. We supported Carnival Cruises to promote a UK government-backed maritime trade mission to China using Cunard’s flagship Queen Mary 2 to woo local business leaders. We secured live TV and radio from Hong Kong on CNN, BBC world service radio and TV. Selling in internationally has its obstacles, language and time zones are obvious barriers but we like to share our knowledge, so here is an overview of our top tips and advice on issues you may have to overcome before you start dialling that international code.

Adam Sigal on Fox 5 News

Selling into the UK media with an Aussie accent can sometimes be tricky, but imagine having to explain an Australian accent, calling America from England! Yes, it all sounds a bit complicated, doesn’t it?! However, I’ve found I can actually use this to my advantage and get a bit of a conversation going in the first instance. It has proved quite useful for me, and I suggest you give it a go too. Chatting about the weather in London or how much you’ve always wanted to visit America could be a nice little opener to make the producer/guest booker a bit more receptive and friendly to your request.

If you’re starting from scratch in terms of building an overseas contact base, you may be best off trying LinkedIn or Twitter. I found that was a great way to make contacts with more of a personal touch and I was more likely to get a response. This was particularly necessary for America as they aren’t very open with sharing contact details (even general newsroom ones!) on their station websites or social media accounts. If you’re reaching out to non-English speaking countries, it’s also an easier way to make contact online.

One thing to note is the time difference between where you are and where you are calling. Seems simple, but if you want to really commit to securing overseas coverage, you may need to plan ahead and change shift patterns to make it happen. You also need to be flexible and willing to work from home or at  weekends. PR is a 24-hour job and typically the times you will have the most luck are either before or after UK working hours. I now have about 20 different time zones set up on my iPhone’s world clock, and this can be really helpful at keeping me on track. If you are offering a UK spokesperson for an overseas TV or radio interview, you’ll also need to make sure it’s within sociable hours, as I’m sure your spokesperson won’t appreciate having to do a Skype interview at 1am. Well, unless they’re really dedicated that is!

Just as I’ve found LinkedIn and Twitter useful, social platforms such as Skype and Facetime are an absolute lifesaver when it comes to placing spokespeople overseas. It means they can be anywhere in the world, without having to take out time to travel to a studio. Broadcasters are increasingly relying on Skype and Facetime as a means to connect them with interviewees, so it’s worth offering that to producers and guest bookers when you first speak with them. As always, it’s crucial that your spokesperson is willing and available, especially if this is a new overseas contact that you would like to impress.

If you’re enjoying this blog, read another one of our pieces here.

In fact, we’ve even completed media training via Skype with spokespeople based in America, which just goes to show how much you can use technology to your advantage. Over the past 12 months alone, we’ve secured interviews on the likes of CNBC Asia, Fox TV and ABC News in America. When introducing  a new brand to the U.S market accept that you’ll have to start with regional radio and TV. Breaking the States can be challenging but persistence pays off.

Anything is possible! If you think overseas broadcast PR coverage is something you’d like us to help with, feel free to get in touch – we’d love to hear from you! Call us on 02072407373 or email kate@shoutcommunications.co.uk

 

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