Strategy of the Week


This week's strategy: Carefully consider both budget and audience before electing to conduct an in-person media tour. The best strategy is to mix a variety of delivery mechanisms, both traditional and high-tech, for reaching your target reporters. Mike Smith, president of Upstart Vision in Reston, Va., took a long, hard look at several alternatives to the traditional media tour. (For a detailed look at Webcasting see PR NEWS, Oct. 21.) Television is still king in terms of reaching the most eyeballs. When Heinz introduced its new "Funky Purple EZ Squirt" ketchup, the company knew it wanted to reach media that would attract millions of consumers -- which meant going after TV reporters. Jack Horner Communications in Pittsburgh used satellite distribution of its news and garnered 150 million media impressions for the Heinz Co. When the Hauser Group was promoting a public health campaign on infertility prevention for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, it considered creating a satellite media tour. But, "the expense was fairly high," says Hauser Group's Tracy Zimmerman, and with a nonprofit client, that was a serious consideration. Plus, the firm discovered that some of the local reporters it was targeting didn't accept SMTs. Instead, the firm did one-on-one phoners with a single spokesperson for national media, and localized pitches of ASRM doctors for local media. Also to consider: Radio media tours still garner a good deal of coverage for everything from quirky stories like Netscape naming the biggest office "Grinch" to serious issues surrounding the airline industry. Here's the breakdown of costs: In-Person Media Tour: For a one-person, three-market tour with the best airfares and hotel rates, expect to pay at least $2,500-$3,000. If you're planning on including agencies' fees or more markets, you could spend tens of thousands. Phoners: Aside from the cost of long-distance, they're free. Like in-person tours, however, they're more limited in their reach. Radio Media Tour: For a four-hour "radio media tour," conducted by phone with radio stations in 20 markets, most vendors will charge around $6,800. Satellite Media Tour: Expect to pay at least $15,000. Webcast: Total costs for a Webcast are relatively inexpensive, though prices vary. A Web-based meeting with reporters could run you around $1,000 for a three-market tour. (Mike Smith, msmith@upstartvision.com)

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