Avoid ‘How You Can Help’ Promos

By Graeme Newell 

Using teases and promos to enroll a viewer’s public assistance will usually make for a weak tease. For example, a family loses everything in a fire. The promo promises, “How you can help this family get back on their feet.” The viewer expects the typical answer will be “give money.” Now, this information is appropriate inside a news story, but it’s not a motivating force to get a viewer to return from the break.

This approach is also very common in crime stories. We’ll tease, “How you can help police catch this criminal.” Of course the answer is: “If you’ve seen him, call the cops.” Another variation, “How you could help catch this thief and put money in your pocket.” The answer…turn him in and get the reward. How many people in our audience are thinking to themselves, “I just happen to know a few murderers, and I sure could use some money. I’m gonna watch and cash in!” Instead, promise the interesting story details about the crime. Don’t use promos to enroll public assistance. Save that information for the story.


Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at gnewell@602communications.com.