Daily newspapers, weekly news magazines and national broadcast media aren’t the only ones that have shuttered foreign news bureaus and reduced their reporting staff. Cable news channels have undergone similar cost-reductions. In the March 2014 issue of Public Relations Tactics, a former CNN correspondent laments about the changes that are taking place at cable news channels and talks about the implications for PR practitioners.
Taking the ‘News’ Out of Cable News examines how these news channels have changed their programming model from one where they once sent journalists around the world to uncover news to a new model that focuses on personality-driven programming and “experts” who share their opinions.
The silver lining is that there are still opportunities to secure media coverage on cable news channels, provided the expert you are pitching is compelling and can share thought-provoking, even polarizing, opinions.
Some tips on working with cable news:
- Do your homework and determine what your client’s unique expertise is and how that translates to current trends the media are covering.
- Get to know the shows’ bookers in addition to the assignment staff; make yourself indispensible to these decision-makers so they come back to you again and again.
- If your client isn’t well known, create a short YouTube video that shows how effective he or she is on camera and share the link in the pitch.
Cable news channels can be a very effective medium for sharing your expertise, but the shifting landscape requires that you plan your strategy well.