When it comes to the needs of TV news crews, a PR needs to be ready for a number of things: prepping clients for facing tricky questions, ensuring nothing is filmed that we don’t want to go out on air and being the person who ensures everything runs as smoothly as possible.
However, over the past year or so, an extra skill has emerged that a PR professional needs up their sleeve – video creation.
Importance of video skills:
More and more we are finding that while the appetite for news is growing due to the demands of 24 hour channels, broadcast media resources are actually being reduced. This can result in a number of scenarios: journalists not being able to attend an event because of shortage of staff; confirming they will attend but cancelling on the day because of another news story that they have to go to instead, or simply asking for any content that you can give them.
Because of this, it is essential that a modern PR pro is fully equipped to step into the role of a videographer at a moment’s notice to capture broadcast quality video content that can be used by news channels – and ensures crucial coverage opportunities aren’t missed.
This doesn’t mean turning up with full BBC camera equipment. It means being there with your smartphone, knowing what news story the broadcasters are interested in, being able to identify the shots that will tell the story, and then knowing how to edit the footage so it’s suitable for use.
This exact situation happened recently with our client East Lancashire Railway. ITV Granada was supposed to be coming down on a Saturday morning to film the lovely moment the winner of the ‘Junior Station Master’ competition got to experience working as a Station Master at the Day Out With Thomas event – meeting Thomas the Tank Engine and The Fat Controller, flagging down the trains and punching train tickets.
Unfortunately 15 minutes before they were due to arrive, the journalist rang to apologise but he had been told to go elsewhere for a breaking news story.
Luckily one of our team was already on hand with their iPhone to capture all the key moments of the morning, they knew instantly that ITV Granada would want a combination of footage showing the winner and his family’s reaction to all the different prize elements, enjoying the day and scene setting footage showing the event itself. This was then edited to ensure nothing was sent over that we wouldn’t want to appear on television.
The result was not only an ‘and finally…’ piece at the end of the evening news which used the footage, told the story and got East Lancashire Railway on the TV, it also appeared on the ITV website with images taken from the footage. Overall, that piece of quick thinking reached more than 12.4 million people.
A result that would have been completely missed if we weren’t there!