Behind the scenes at the BBC

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Behind the scenes at the BBC

What do senior executives, broadcasters and programme makers need from PRs? What’s the best way to sell-in stories and when should you contact them?

IMG_3282Last night I had the privilege of touring the BBC studios in Bristol and meeting some of the senior executives.

These questions were among the topics debated and discussed with 40 professional comms pros in the room.

From wandering through corridors adorned with familiar catchphrases, to having the opportunity to ask BBC employees about their internal comms, it was a worthwhile event.

It was organised by the marvellous Sarah Pinch @ms_organised, who was President of the CIPR last year and runs Pinch Point Communications.

The evening was a great opportunity to discuss all things journalism, broadcast and digital related.

The panel included: Joanna Brame, Series Producer of CountryfileDave Harvey BBC Bristol Business Editor; Stephanie Marshall Head of Regional and Local Programmes, BBC West); Jess Rudkin, Editor of Radio Bristol, Neil Bennett, Editor of Points West and the producers of BBC Radio Bristol’s breakfast and mid morning shows.

RadioBristolWalking through the BBC buildings and studios, I was reminded of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which I watched with my four-year-old daughter a fortnight ago. I had the same desire to touch and experience everything!

Sarah’s event was hosted in the Attenborough room (where I snapped the selfie on this page). It created the opportunity for PR professionals to quiz broadcast journalists, producers and editors to understand what they need from us.

Highlights were hearing trade secrets from the nature programmes sound department, testing out the green screens and this crisis comms plan…

What would your emergency jingle or song be?! Let me know below or Tweet me @AllthingsIC.

You can see some of the comments and views via my embedded Tweets below.

Congratulations Sarah on a successful event.

Further reading about the BBC via my blog:
BBC tells staff not to be stupid on social media
Communicating change at the BBC
From BBC to IC… an insider’s view.

Here’s what we heard and saw (and some answers to those questions):

16 June update: Sarah has written on her own blog and has these top 10 pitching tips based on the conversations:

  1. Listen and watch the programme you are pitching to, build a relationship
  2. Do not ring, or expect a response, when the programme is on air (yes, this really does happen)
  3. Understand the audience – know the demographics
  4. Look out for the new Local Live Channel, this draws on producers focusing on futures and on dailies – understand how it works
  5. Build relationships with journalists, reporters and producers
  6. Be humble – don’t assume you know what would work (see above, it’s all about relationships)
  7. Countryfile plan months in advance, so think seasonably
  8. Ensure you have articulate, personable spokespeople – and case studies
  9. Don’t say you are available, when you are not
  10. It is all about relationships

First published on the All Things IC blog 15 June 2016.

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