Why Your Broadcast PR Stinks 2016: B-Roll Distribution Edition

by Jeremy Juhasz | October 17, 2018

B-Roll Distribution


Some public relations professionals are fans of B-roll distribution. But many, many people are NOT fans of B-roll distribution. The 2016 KEF Media PR Tactic preview is for those in the latter group.

Your Tactic: The B-roll Distribution

Your Audience: The Media

If you don’t have a great sound bite and visual, forget it. B-roll footage must wow producers in order for them to include it in their programming. Here's a classic example in PR: Remember the feel good footage or picture you captured of your organization presenting a check to a local charity? Here's the harsh reality. It won't earn any media coverage through a audio and visual distribution method. Philanthropy is all well and good for your company, but static and obvious material like this won’t go far in a B-roll distribution. It's simply not sexy enough and far too repetitive.

Your (Lack of) Foresight: Public relations professionals who settle for average footage and only a decent story tend to receive average to below average ROI for VNRs and B-roll distribution packages. There's too much competition for airtime out there to mess around with mediocrity. Let's not forget, you're sending the media information and pitching it with the intention they use it in newscasts. Do you honestly think the producer will waste their time with something uninspiring or ordinary? You may catch them on a slow news day. Perhaps your average pitch is better than nothing and you need to do something. That's understandable. However, you better reassess your expectations if this is the case. Instead, you need to strive to make your B-roll distribution meet the viral video standard. That is, does my video contain some of the right elements to give it a better chance to go on air and/or get placed?  

Also, this is not an opportunity for you to send a commercial. You're selling the media something newsworthy first with the hope to receive a bonafide mention or two throughout the duration of the segment. Don't sell. Tell a story instead. 


What’s New that Stinks: We talked about it, but it’s a high standard for quality visuals. Back in the day, news stations clamored for free content. Now, with the high volume of content received, producers are choosier in what gets incorporated into newscasts. Not to mention, the Internet has made obtaining shareable content much easier for newsrooms, making it all the more vital that whatever you send their way must impress.

What’s Always Stunk: No matter what the topic, cliché sound bites and footage irritate the eyes and ache the ears of newsroom decision makers. Instead, you should lead your B-roll distribution with the best sound and the best visuals and make a strong push for uniqueness. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of the prototypical template of a video news release. Unfortunately, that's the baseline standard. And as you may have already experienced, it doesn’t garner the impressions you’re often hoping for.

Also, B-roll distributions are a bit of a riskier proposition because they rely on the media’s reaction to your content. Often times, there are other circumstantial barriers preventing your B-roll footage from making it on air like breaking news or improper timing. Whereas media tours are pre-aggranged with scheduled interview times, B-roll is the equivalent of blindly shooting birdshot into the general area of hundreds of waterfowl. You have a chance, but it's an unknown. First, how well did you aim? (How well did you prepare putting your pitch and B-roll package together.) And how many did you hit? (Who in the media received and then accepted to use your content.)

What Might Not Stink: The enticing part about trying a B-roll distribution is the chance to get way more impressions than anticipated for oodles of dollars less than other broadcast tactics.  If you think you have something unique or a video that could raise the eyebrows in some newsrooms, you may want to consider this low cost path.  

What Else Might Not Stink: This is a tactic that constantly evolves as demands in newsrooms continue to change, so creativity is encouraged. Again, ask yourself, "is my video (my story) compelling?" If the answer is yes, creating loosely edited footage and including sound bites is generally appreciated by the media, especially traditional newscasts and radio programs who are in a constant battle day-to-day with eyeballs on the Internet. And even then, getting it into the hands of a traditional outlet will 99 percent of the time appear on their online entities eventually, amassing both digital and traditional numbers in your final report.  

*This is one of several posts inspired by the popular 'Your Team Sucks' series from Drew Magary of Deadspin. See similar: Radio Media Tour Edition & Satellite Media Tour Edition

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