Radio PR - An Introduction by Adam Cox, Founder of Radio Relations.
What is Radio PR? It's one of the questions I regularly get asked so over the last 19 years the answer has inevitably evolved.
Firstly it's best to say what it's not - radio PR is NOT radio advertising, radio promotions or sponsorship. The single biggest area of confusion is people thinking that radio PR and radio advertising are the same thing - they aren't. Advertising is paid media and PR is earned media. The saying "advertising is what you pay for and PR is what you pray for" applies here. Generally speaking what you lose in control you get back many times over in credibility and cost effectiveness.
Radio PR is a niche within a niche. It's specifically media relations where the only media targeted is radio. This in very simple terms means securing editorial coverage on BBC, Commercial and Community radio stations.
Having started my career in a commercial radio station I saw first hand how ineffective the PR industry was at securing coverage on radio when I spent some time in the news room. This was in the year 2000 just as the fax machine was being replaced by email as the primary method of how PR professionals were communicating with journalists. The thing that I couldn't understand was that in the news room they had 2 fax machines and while one of the machines was pumping out news stories into a paper tray the second fax was unique. Rather than having a paper tray the fax machine was sending it's material straight into a recycling bin! The natural question to ask is why? Why do you have a fax machine sending faxes straight into the bin? The answer was even more puzzling. "Oh, That's the PR fax!" The radio newsroom didn't want to speak to PR people so badly that they had a dedicated fax machine just to send press releases into oblivion. The modern equivalent would be emailed press releases labelled as junk or spam so they never get read. That insight into what wasn't working stayed with me and made me ask the question - is there a better way to secure radio coverage? This question is what encouraged me to create Radio Relations as a dedicated Radio PR specialist just 2 years later.
Radio is a very creative medium and still hugely popular as more than 90% of the population listen every week for an average of more than 20 hours. The benefits of Radio PR are a reflection of the client objectives. The main benefits are Awareness, Brand Positioning and Credibility. Click here to learn more about the benefits of Radio PR and why it's such an effective and important part of any media relations plan.
So what is radio PR in terms of actual coverage? The radio coverage secured will vary depending on the route to coverage and the type of content that is offered. Radio PR often involves a spokesperson communicating with an audience as part of a feature or an interview. Stay tuned as we'll be blogging about the top tips for spokespeople to make the most of a radio interview in the near future.
An alternative route to Radio PR coverage is competitions where the vehicle for delivering the message is a prize (and the accompanying copy) rather than a spokesperson. When using a spokesperson radio stations prefer high quality audio which means it's ideal to have a spokesperson located in a studio equipped to link to stations across high quality ISDN lines. We have studios in London but can also place a spokesperson in studios in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Edinburgh among many others.
While that gives you an insight into what Radio PR is it doesn't tell you about how we do it. It helps that we have a dedicated content provider called Independent Media News meaning that we can bypass the sales and promotions teams in radio and influence the key people that matter - the journalists, producers and the presenters. It helps that we have 15 years of experience and developed a level of expertise over that time. It also helps that we have a team of creative and enthusiastic account managers that care about securing our clients the best possible coverage. If you'd like to pick the brains of our team about a possible campaign call 020 7158 0000 or fill out this form and someone will give you a call back.
But if you're still not sure what Radio PR is then here's what I used to say when I first started: "We get brands on the radio without paying for advertising!"
Hope that helps!
Founder and Managing Director of Radio Relations