The B-roll is often mentioned, but how many PR professionals actually use it? More importantly, how many actually know what it is? In short, the B-roll can be the difference between clinching that slot on a TV or online channel or having the delete button pressed on your pitch. It can often be the difference between a trophy and mediocre coverage. But, despite the opportunities it provides, B-rolls are considerably underused. With TV coverage often considered the ‘holy grail’, B-rolls should play a vital role in your campaign planning.
The often-overlooked B-roll essentially consists of loosely edited footage that can be used to enrich a story you are telling. Far from being a polished piece of video content, its aim is to provide news broadcasters with a sequence of supplementary footage to support their news piece. This could be anything from behind-the-scenes shots at an event, to technology being used in practice, to sound bites with key personnel. Captured to meet professional broadcast standards, they should help support the story you are telling. Ultimately, as you are in control of the content being filmed, it should also help to steer the message being delivered to broadcasters.
Just uttering the words “B-roll available” during your phone pitch could be a surefire way to get a time-pressed journalist’s attention – and it works just as well for helping to secure online coverage as it does for TV. With countless press releases to sift through, showing that you have really thought about the story and done the legwork in advance will help your story stand out from the crowd. Admittedly, it takes a bit of additional planning, but the potential impact can be huge.
All over the world, news teams often work with limited resources and are constantly battling the clock to deliver their news items for TV bulletins. The Middle East is no exception; channels may not always able to dispatch a crew out to cover your story, particularly with deadlines to meet and given the fact that they have to travel all over the Emirate to capture the desired footage. So, it stands to reason that anything you can do to help remove this barrier is certainly going to be viewed favorably by the journalist you are pitching to.
The more legwork you do, the more likely you will be to get your spokesperson on TV. Ahead of the interview, the broadcaster’s production team can carefully select footage from the B-roll you have provided to support the interview. Then they can cut between that footage and your spokesperson’s segments, creating the potential for a great interview, where your client is on TV and your own ‘on message’ B-roll is being used.
Of course, the added benefit is that there’s often more airtime given to the story, simply because there is more content to use to entertain the viewer. It may have even influenced the decision process to take on the interview in the first place.
The result? You’ve got a delighted client and you’ve forged a strong relationship with a key media contact you can build on for future stories.
So, the next time you’re planning your PR campaigns and you’ve got a story to sell, stop and think before you craft your pitch to the journalist. Think in pictures: what would I want to see if I was the end audience? What visuals can I provide? What filming could be done to illustrate this story? Producing some well-crafted B-roll could be just the ticket to delivering an engaging story with impact.