When it comes to marketing, there are a lot of acronyms out there.

SEO. SEM. ROI. AIDA. I could go on and on..

But SMT (Satellite Media Tour) is one that often gives less broadcast-savvy marketers a head scratch or two. So, from someone who has worked for a media tour company and regularly gets requested as on-air talent, I'm here to finally give you the low down on what exactly an SMT is and why you should (or shouldn't) care.

Here's a typical scenario: you are creating a marketing campaign for a car company. The company wants to get the word out about its new SUV, designed for working families. As part of your campaign, you want to get on a bunch of radio and TV shows to talk about it.

That's when booking an SMT would be a good option.

You choose a spokesperson and pay a booking team to secure back-to-back interviews with local radio and television news stations around the country via satellite. You then provide some suggested questions for the reporter to ask your spokesperson during a 2-3 minute interview. You see celebrities do these types of rapid fire interviews when promoting a movie (so they can hit a lot of media outlets in a few hours).

The idea is by the end of the day, you'll likely have about twenty-plus (or more) interviews aired on shows all over the country. But before you pull the trigger, know these insider tips:

1. Request an SMT proposal.

There are a lot of well-established media tour companies out there that can customize a publicity tour for your company. Before you reach out, be sure to have a clear understanding of what your goals and expectations are.

You may, for example, just want to focus on a handful of television stations in a target market or you might want to do as many markets as possible. The media tour expert can walk you through all your options and give you a proposal. A proposal will also include any set design work and the cost of booking a media studio for use during the tour.

Also, you may be surprised to learn you can get on national television pretty easily. Although, don't expect a booking on NBC Today or Good Morning America. The big morning shows don't participate.

2. Pick the right spokesperson.

This is super important. If someone has never done a live interview before, it can be a bit intimidating. You have to think fast on your feet, talk clearly, and not look like a scared deer on-air.

That's why companies should think about who they want to elect as their media tour spokesperson. If you don't have a good candidate in-house, ask the media tour company for help, They usually keep a list of some SMT pros.

3. Nail down messaging.

The key for a successful media tour is to make the content interesting for the viewer. Yes, you are trying to sell something -- but the more you can talk about the product or service in a "newsy" way, the more engaged your audience will be.

In other words, don't try to sound like a commercial with your messaging. Instead, give useable advice or tips to help folks and find a way to weave in your brand message.

4. Prepare to spend some money.

For companies that want a lot of media attention, be prepared to have a decent budget to work with. If you have a more limited budget (maybe under 15,000), ask your media tour representative about joining a co-op SMT. A co-op a media tour you can join with a few different sponsors. In other words, you will have less air time but will also spend less money.

5. Evaluate success.

One thing is for sure: You will get on TV and radio. This is why some companies and public relations folks do them regularly -- to ensure their brand message is hitting pockets or area that may not be targeted in other advertising and marketing campaign. It's up to your team to decide if the type of coverage is what you are looking for.

Published on: Sep 11, 2017