In this episode of the PR Talk Podcast, host Amy Rosenberg speaks with Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, an influencer marketing firm in New York that specializes in helping clients obtain valuable coverage on TV news for 35 years.
During their conversation, Amy and Doug discuss the mechanics of satellite media tours and how they’ve become even more effective as the pandemic has limited in-person interviews. Doug also shares a few tips for PR professionals interested in offering their own video press release services.
What Happened to Video News Releases?
D S Simon Media first made its name producing video news releases, which were essentially pre-packaged stories TV stations would run without editing. As Doug explains it, this practice became very controversial in the early 2000s for political reasons. As a result, TV news became reticent about using video produced outside the station. D S Simon Media had already developed satellite media tours to connect with local TV and now uses it as their primary method of media outreach.
Satellite Video Tours are Efficient & Effective
Every PR pro knows that TV coverage gets harder to obtain with each passing year. That’s what makes D S Simon Media’s approach to pitching TV so interesting. When a client reaches out for help, Doug first determines whether their story is interesting and if they have a spokesperson available for interviews. Then, Doug’s in-house booking team reaches out to TV stations with a crafted, client-approved pitch along with the tour date and available five or 10-minute interview slots.
Over five hours, Doug’s team can facilitate 25-30 remote interviews. Media members are free to ask whatever questions they want. However, as part of the process, D S Simon Media provides stations with a confirmation document containing a suggested lead-in and questions. Because tv reporters are so often pressed for time, and because the confirmation documents are prepared in a way that flows and makes sense, Doug says that 85-90% of reporters will ask the provided questions.
During the interview, the TV station producers connect with a D S Simon producer who can suggest and run related b-roll footage. A D S Simon media advisor also participates in every satellite video tour to communicate with reporters and provide feedback to the client in-between interviews.
COVID Made Satellite Tours Even More Valuable
Like many people, Doug was concerned about how his business would survive during the pandemic. The Monday after the NBA’s shutdown announcement in March 2020, David brought a team of engineers to rebuild his studio to accommodate remote video interviews.
This move was critical. During the pandemic, nobody was going into stations for interviews. To make matters worse, connecting to TV stations from a studio with an in-person crew wasn’t safe either. Instead, Doug’s team used Zoom to connect their clients directly with TV stations for all their interviews. Doug believes this increased the authenticity of the interviews and allowed his team to access higher-level people because they didn’t have to go anywhere to get on TV.
Doug’s Tips for Using Video Effectively
Of course, Amy couldn’t resist asking Doug for a few tips on using video effectively. He reminded listeners that they’re telling a story. So ask yourself, am I delivering something I can pitch effectively, and will it provide value to my client when it’s on the air? Also, you’ll likely have more than three minutes for your video, which means you can send more than one message. So, try framing your story around the problem-solution format. Doug also recommends using an internal spokesperson whenever possible because that will make your stories more authentic.
There’s More from Doug Simon
Amy and Doug covered so much more during their conversation, including co-op media tours, how his firm can guarantee TV coverage and why he thinks every PR pro must have their own professional equipment for interviews, so make sure to tune in to the entire episode.
About the guest: Doug Simon
Doug Simon is the CEO of D S Simon Media, an award-winning Influencer Marketing firm that creates and distributes video to help turn an organization’s experts into influencers. Doug has appeared on CNN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business, NPR, PBS and Reuters regarding topical communications and marketing news. He has also provided commentary for The Huffington Post and USA Today. You can connect with Doug at [email protected].
Connect and follow Doug on social media:
This episode of PR Talk is brought to you by PRSA Oregon
Throughout Oregon and Southwest Washington, PRSA provides members with networking, mentorship, skill building and professional development opportunities – whether you are a new professional fresh out of college or a skilled expert with 20 years in the industry. Check out PRSAoregon.org for more information on how membership can help you grow and connect.