PR Insider: TV Is Still Important in Your PR Plan

Andrew Blum
Andrew Blum

Everybody and their mother are on social media these days. But does that mean you should not seek out TV interviews or turn them down if they come your way? The answer is a resounding no. Social media isn't everything.

TV and online video are still well worth it and you need to continue to keep them in your media tool box. Social media, while extremely popular, should be an addition to your PR efforts.

If a client says, "Nah, I think social media covers me," explain to them why that's not the case.

A 140-character Tweet just can't compare with a solid TV interview. When you get a TV hit, it immediately gives your client third-party credibility on an issue – whether it be about Ebola, the mid-term elections, MH 370, ISIS or the stock market. You get thousands of viewers of the TV feed; then a link often goes online on the TV network web site and you can post that on your site and put it on your social media channels.

Having a TV or video clip on your web site gives it digital life and makes it stand out in a world of too many web sites that are too text-heavy.

Now, I know you may have some clients also say well, isn't TV news viewership down these days? Well, yes, like a lot of traditional media are experiencing, people are getting news in other ways but that doesn't mean there isn't still a good audience for a TV interview.

In looking at this, it's good to remind the client that the media is still a food chain – and TV is an important part of that. But give them the current TV news landscape.

Some TV news still gets millions of viewers and others are down. Consider that Fox News in a recent period had an average of 1.79 million viewers in the 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. time slot. As for the NBC Nightly News vs. ABC World News Tonight battle, a recent week saw NBC News lead with 8.283 million viewers vs. 8.113 million viewers for ABC News, according to media reports on TV ratings.

Even with drops, MSNBC still has a lot of viewers. “Morning Joe,” while down, recently reached an average of just 87,000 viewers in its key news demographic group. The Rachel Maddow show reached an average of 183,000 viewers between 25 and 54, a record low but still a lot of eyeballs.

MSNBC says it's still ahead of CNN for the year but for four straight months “Morning Joe” trailed CNN’s “New Day," media reports said. In the first quarter of 2009, MSNBC averaged 392,000 viewers in the 25-54 range for weeknights. This year, that was down to 125,000. In one recent period, only MSNBC's “Hardball” with Chris Matthews topped 100,000 viewers in the 25-54 groups.

While a broad-based TV network interview is still a good PR coup, so are business news channels and online video.

Take CNBC, Fox Business and Bloomberg TV, all business news channels. They have a good following and also have a strong online presence to showcase their TV offerings.

And when it comes to online video (digital TV), there are the WSJ Digital Network, Yahoo Finance, Reuters TV, Huffington Post Live and a number of others plus several newspaper web sites are now doing video interviews and coverage.

These all offer better exposure than Twitter alone, and once they go live, you can add them to the social media mix, in the end giving a client the social media they may also want.

The other good thing about TV news is that if they like your client, they may want to have him or her on again – they have lots of air time to fill and they are always on the lookout for good experts who like TV and are TV-friendly to the camera and audience.

While you do TV, there is nothing stopping you from doing social media at the same time. In fact, I not only encourage it, but suggest you also use social media to promote your client's being on TV – beforehand and after.

Andrew Blum is a PR consultant and media trainer and principal of AJB Communications. He has directed PR for professional services and financial services firms, NGOs, agencies and other clients. As a PR executive, and formerly as a journalist, he has been involved on both sides of the media aisle in some of the most media intensive crises of the past 25 years. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter: @ajbcomms