Clients on broadcast media – to plug or not to plug?

The SKV team enjoyed a training session about working with broadcast media this week at which some interesting dilemmas came up.

Such as: do you tell your client before they go on air to do a live radio or TV interview as a spokesperson or expert commentator, not to mention their own company name?

This issue comes up when SKV lands interviews for clients on live interviews on BBC radio or TV news programmes such as BBC 5 Live and Radio 4 news, or BBC North West Tonight, Sky or Channel 4 TV News.

In recent months, we have had numerous clients on national TV and radio including suncare products manufacturer Linco, Tameside-based builders Bardsley Construction and market research business Kids Insights.

This may seem like madness. A communications consultant even contemplating advising their client not to promote their own business or organisation?

But pause for a moment and consider the context. The radio or TV interviewer will always give a full description of the person and their company name when they introduce them. And they often give them a second mention at the end when they thank them.

We know from our contacts in broadcasting that clients who bring up their company names or plug their wares are likely not to be asked back.

It’s the ones who get a reputation within editorial circles for being great talkers and for bringing their insights to the conversation – rather than parroting salesy messages – who get asked back again and again.

That’s not to say that you should never advise a client to promote themselves. If in your view it’s the only time that the client might ever get to be live on air, then tell them to go for it.

They’ll get the short-term benefit of their name being heard by the audience more than once.

But editors will have marked their cards, so you should warn them at the same time: it’s likely they won’t get the chance to do it again on the TV or radio news.