Step 1: Pick a vendor. Three Essential Things You Need To Ask About.
If you’ve never done an audio news release, start by choosing a vendor with plenty of experience in both broadcast journalism and public relations, and one who will give you customized, personal service. Your radio vendor may offer services that range from pitching and feeding the ANR into radio station newsrooms, to guaranteed placement options that can include a branded message and a call to action.
Here are three essential areas you should ask a prospective vendor about: (To see our answers to these questions, click HERE)
- SERVICE. What does the cost of your ANR service include? Does it cover writing, revisions, recording, producing, distribution and reporting? What about studio costs and voice-over talent? Are there add-on fees, such as charges for last minute changes?
- PLACEMENT & REACH. What distribution platforms do you offer? Can I get guaranteed placement? Can I target specific geographic markets? Do you have outreach options for Spanish-language or urban-focused ANRs?
- REPORTING. How do you measure listenership? Where does your data come from and how recent is it? How do you track and report results? What kind of information is included in the ANR final report? How do I interpret and communicate these results to my client? Will someone explain these radio industry terms to me?
Step 2: Create your timeline for the ANR.
Your vendor should provide you with a specific production schedule outlining exactly what they’ll need from you by when so that your team stays on target every step of the way. Effective production schedules will build in time for:
- Approval of the script, and;
- The final recording.
Working backwards from the designated broadcast/distribution week, the production schedule will indicate due dates for every part of the process, from initial conversations about the ANR messaging all the way through the day that you’ll receive a final report.
Production Schedule Example.
Step 3: Story, story, story. Oh, and story.
Treat your ANR message as a story that you are telling. Determine if your story fits into the category of hard news, issue awareness, or even public service, and write with one of those approaches in mind. Good stories are succinct and have three parts: a beginning, middle and end.
- Beginning: The opening narrative should grab the attention of listener. Get right to the point- what makes your story newsworthy, relatable and relevant?
- Middle: This is where you establish your authority and expertise – often with a soundbite from an expert. Enhance your story with facts, figures, examples.
- End: Finish with a strong conclusion that reiterates the essence of your message. If you’re using guaranteed placement include a call to action.
Step 4: Writing the script.
Work closely with your vendor to determine if they should write the piece for you or if you’re comfortable creating the first draft. The most common script length is :60 seconds, or about 180 words. If you do the writing, have your vendor do the timing and the suggested edits. Writing for audio is a specific skill – be sure to take advantage of your vendor’s expertise for your ANR.
Step 5: Stay in communication during the review phase.
Your production schedule should build in enough time to get the script approved by all stakeholders. Depending on the client that might take days or weeks. Will it need to be run past legal and regulatory, or can the approval be short-tracked for a quick turnaround? Take into account major holidays and company events that might throw a wrench in the works. Update your vendor as the project moves through the pipeline so that the team stays on track.
Step 6: Schedule your spokesperson.
If you’re using a spokesperson to deliver part of the message, work well in advance to determine their availability. Provide your vendor with 2 or 3 days/times that the spokesperson will be available to record – ideally you should be available as well to listen in. Most soundbites can be recorded in 10-15 minutes, with the spokesperson doing several “takes” so that the best one will be used in the final production. This also gives you the option of making an immediate decision about the “take” that you prefer.
Soundbite recordings should be done over a landline phone, a Skype connection or recorded into a digital device. (Mobile phones provide poor sound quality and can lead to disappointing outcomes.)
Step 7: Choose your voice over talent.
Let your vendor know the kind of voice you want to have tell your story, and they will select the voice over talent that’s a good fit for the script. Think about gender, age group and style. For example, are you looking for a “newsy” read or a more “conversational” read? Here again, if you listen in to the recording session, you can make suggestions to the talent on everything from emphasis to energy level.
Step 8: Final editing – piece your release together.
After the voiceover and soundbite recording sessions are completed, your vendor will edit the piece together and send you an mp3 recording to be shared with your client for listening and final approval.
Step 9: Stamp your seal of approval.
Provide final approval of the ANR recording to your vendor within the original approved timeline. This insures your story will be distributed or broadcast within the timeframe that was agreed upon.
Step 10: Review the results.
It’s a good idea to review the final report with your vendor, to ensure that you’ll be able to communicate the results effectively to your client. Get all your questions answered about radio terms, measurement methodology and the benefits of radio outreach. The more you know about radio, the better you’re able to convey to your client the value and impact of their Audio News Release.
There you have it! The nuts and bolts of creating an Audio News Release. We hope this clears up any questions you have in putting together your first ANR, but if you have any more feel free contact MediaTracks and one of our experts will help you create an incredible ANR.