Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Media Exposure - how the media works

David talking to UK CEOS about how to make friends in the media with a resource like Precise. Latest video on the event here

Whoever coined the term must was most likely drifting off somewhere during a board room meeting: "Getting into the pants of the media".

But it's an apt, but coarse description for receiving media exposure and how the media works.

In effect, whatever news can be canned, ready to open at the right time, right day, relieves pressures in a newsroom and enables news outlets to plan ahead.

News is all about planning, David Brewer (Media Ideas Internationa) a friend will tell you.

He helped set up CNN online, BBC Online and Al Jazeera's web ambitions.

News outlets achieve this with a combination of skills in-house and then the rabbit-in-the-hat, providing advance notice - the agency forward planning diary.

Simply this is how it works, all the major events coming up including film premieres and embargoed items (news you can't say anything till the right time) is packaged into a data base.

And more importantly contains the name of contacts, yep the right person to talk to.

Looking at how to get an interview with the cast of "New Moon"? Exactly!

Newer Media workings
Most of the top news agencies subscribe, firstly to find out what's coming up and often to pick holes in their own news agendas.

Audience members at CEO convention

Often many news editors ignore the heaps of faxes and press releases filing into the newsroom ( yep sorry!), because they know they can subscribe to a service like Precise to do all the heavy lifting. And it is heavy lifting, believe me.

Even more interesting, rival news sources use it to ensure competitors aren't across anything they should obviously know about. News is a bit like a Meerkat colony- everyone's watching everyone else - which is why newscasts and the papers often carry the same content.

Twitter et al may be great for breaking in news and recycling it, but as things stand nothing quite comes close to being privy to a good forward planner.

At Channel One, it took our in-house forward planner ages to set one up. He'd been poached from the BBC.

At the BBC, where I worked on the likes of Newsnight and BBC Breakfast, different departments would hide their news agendas to ensure they had fresh news to report. Planners allowed them to think up nicely put together features.

Insight into media exposure
In recent times though the forward planner has broken free from the ranks of media, and news contributors are getting in on the act with their strategies.

Think about it. You're a CEO. You find there's a big debate on sports in a fortnight's time, so you ring the editor of one of the big media and kindly offer to provide a quote. Et Voila. You've just helped a journalist out and got yourself on the news.

Running parallel news strategies entails not just ringing up an ed, though that's crucial (Don't email yet; NEVER FAX ) but providing a trust quotient: Who are you? Are you on google? What does you website look like?

Understanding the ecology of news through planners provides you with a wider understanding of how media works.

And that could work for you too. Get planning.

David was talking to CEOs at a UK convention organised by CCPR - an umbrella body for sports bodies. Thanks to Sarah Wait from Precise for talking to the students at the University of Westminster.

Exchange ideas with David at redesigned Viewmagazine.tv and follow him on Twitter here