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Mia Pearson

Morning TV still has PR allure Add to ...

Many of us tune into television every morning, catching everything from weather and traffic updates to the latest company announcements and celebrity interviews. The significant volume of viewers presents an ideal opportunity for companies to build broad awareness for their products and services. If done with a lot of creativity and strong visuals, it can yield impressive results.

I was recently reminded of the power and influence of morning TV during a lineup of events I was working on for ONEXONE, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of children from around the world.

Morning TV played a key role in garnering awareness for the charity and its cause, and as a result of live morning broadcasts from two national stations at its celebrity pancake breakfast event (in support of its Feeding our Children breakfast program), ONEXONE became the top trending topic on Twitter that morning in Toronto.

Morning TV has become a staple in our daily routine. Not only are morning TV programs broadcast live, they’re accessible online and shared across social media platforms. For people not regularly active on social media, morning TV continues to provide an ideal space to learn about local events and products, and reach large audiences.

It’s a great public relations opportunity but, before you start, remember these five tips to ensure success.

1. You must have a great visual

TV provides an opportunity to add motion, sound and imagery to a story, creating rich content that pulls viewers in. Live morning broadcasts foster an environment of fun, off-the-cuff discussions and feed off segments that are entertaining and light-hearted.

For ONEXONE, we set up a free pancake breakfast outside, providing reporters with an opportunity to shoot their weather reports on location while pancakes were being made and served to lineups of people.

2. Bring on the star power

Celebrities draw the crowds and also the media as they attract viewers and make TV a little more exciting, especially in the morning.

Teaming up with celebrity chef David Rocco provided a great interview on site, incorporating visuals of him making his grandmother’s pancake recipe. An interview with Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall reinforced the charity’s cause, and accelerated awareness by tapping into his online network; with more than 28,000 Twitter followers, his interview extended awareness into the social media community instantly.

Make sure you find the right celebrities that align with your brand.

3. Have experts on-site

Whether it’s a chief executive officer, medical specialist or environmentalist, it’s important to highlight your brand’s experts; they’re critical in garnering credibility and providing on-air personalities with third-party experts from whom consumers want to hear. Experts know the industry inside and out, and provide the facts and figures necessary to make your story trustworthy.

4. Encourage consumer engagement

Whether they’re online or in the streets, viewers are waiting to be engaged, and TV provides an ideal environment to feature large crowds, real people and enthusiastic fans. TV stations will not show up at your event if nobody else cares. They want to see excitement in the streets, and talk about events that are getting a lot of interest that day in the city. Engagement also provides them with people to interview and talk to first-hand about their experience.

5. Be ready for an early start

Morning TV set-up starts early. Breakfast television programs usually send their trucks out to location around 4:30 a.m. to set up and ensure they can get a signal. Everything is live, so it’s important to work with them to ensure all the kinks are worked out well in advance. The first weather report starts around 5:30 a.m. so everything goes live then. Your event does not need to be started yet, but the weather personality will likely cover the set-up, and start talking about your event well in advance of the morning crowds arriving.

With the right combination of preparation and creativity, and perhaps a bit of caffeine, executing a morning TV broadcast can help build considerable awareness. Morning TV remains an important tool for driving instant PR, and a strategic approach for exposing events and brands to a large audience.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Mia Pearson is the co-founder of North Strategic . She has more than two decades of experience in creating and growing communications agencies, and her experience spans many sectors, including financial, technology, consumer and lifestyle.

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