CEOs, executive directors, and anyone else who speaks on behalf of their company can benefit from media training. Media training is largely undervalued, viewed by many as an expendable expense. Yet, if you don’t understand the basic rules of media relations, you risk misrepresenting your company.
Preparing a written statement for either a newspaper or social media platform, such as Twitter or Facebook, is considerably easier than preparing for a radio or television spot. Writing affords you the time to carefully craft your response, think about the ramifications of your words and bounce your ideas off your coworkers. Missteps occur when an individual fails to do these things, as exemplified by the recent problematic Home Depot tweet.
Radio and television don’t afford you the same luxuries the written word does. Yet, the same thoughtfulness needs to go into your interview, so you need to adequately prepare. If you fail to choose your words wisely when talking to the media, you can create a communications crisis for your company.
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Working with the media can be beneficial to your organization and yourself. Even with such a diversity of communication channels available today, it’s likely your target audience—the people who you want to educate and persuade about your products and services—consume information that originates from a media source.
While most folks are petrified of talking with the media, it’s really not that bad. They are people, with many similar interests as you, and they are typically open to hearing what you have to say if it can help them to better inform their readers. But don’t wing it. In fact, no matter how experienced you are working with the media, don’t forget it is a professional encounter and you should prepare like you would for any client meeting.
Here are six tips for working with the media:
1. Be brief
Did you know a common questioning technique for journalists is to stay quiet after you answer? The awkward silence prompts most interview subjects to fill the void, and that’s when they get gold. Instead, answer the question and wait for the next. Take your time, compose your thoughts, and then speak.
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Writing (successful) content for the web differs from writing for print publications. To keep users on your website and ensure their return, here’s what you should know:
Web users SKIM!
Just think about how you navigate the Internet and this should come as no surprise. The Internet is full of a ridiculous amount of information—reading all of it is impossible!
It’s like sifting through thousands of books at the library. Of course you’re not going to read every book on the shelf. You’re looking for material on specific subjects. And you want to find the most helpful material on those subjects.
Internet users scan pages for keywords and phrases to find the specific information they’re looking for. So when they visit your page, they look for clues that your page has what they want. If they can’t easily find these clues, they’ll leave.
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The first Tuesday of November is nearing, which means it is time for campaigns to roll out to persuade voters to support or reject issues they will face at the ballot box (or mail-in ballot). How does one win public support for a cause? Here are 10 tips to help you succeed:
1. Define your problem, in the simplest terms.
The KISS doctrine—Keep it Simple, Stupid—is essential. Boil the issue down to a few key points, and build your campaign around them. Remember, people are self-interested. Tell them in clear terms what’s in this for them, and why they should support your issue.
2. Focus on the heart of the issue.
Don’t get sucked into tangential issues that will distract from the message you want your audience to hear and the action you want them to take.
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Back in the day, you could merrily stuff keywords and hide links on your way to a high search result ranking, pausing only to add more cloaking, irrelevant keywords, tiny text and other black hat search engine optimization tricks. Then the Algorithm got wise and started to care about what was actually on your website, lending more weight to a whole slew of white hat SEO tricks, like meta keywords and URL name construction.
Lately, the eminently unknowable Algorithm has become even pickier with what type of web content it rewards, making all content creators work harder to attain the Holy Grail—a No. 1 search ranking. Of course, no tricks or tips or tactics will ever beat the easiest way to impress the great Algorithm—useful, original content—but here are five still-relevant white hat SEO tricks that will help augment that content.
What is news? A packaged story that contains information that is new, significant and has relevance to the audience of a media outlet. That last item is particularly critical. If the information is relevant to the audience, it helps the outlet to engage their readers, listeners or viewers.
Getting your organization covered can build trust in your organization, product or service. If you want to get media coverage, here are six factors to consider:
1. Is your story new?
The item can include a new turn of events, an added wrinkle to an existing story. For example, with the passage of civil union laws in most states, divorce of same-sex couples is newsworthy because it adds a twist to something that is old hat.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is a new approach to creating websites in which developers create fluid layouts that reconfigure or resize based on a viewer’s screen size. This method allows developers to code for one dynamic website, rather than having multiple configurations for different devices. Because responsive web design delivers content cleanly to viewers, more and more developers are required to use this method for website projects.
Reporters receive hundreds of news releases a week—many off-beat (and not in a good way)—that they parse through for intriguing headlines and reliable sources. As a PR professional, you want journalists to perceive you as an ally in their never-ending task of content generation. To foster a mutually beneficial relationship, publicists should think of the press as they do their clients’ markets. You wouldn’t launch a campaign without studying the needs and desires of potential customers, so why would you write generic content and send it to the wrong people? Below are a few tips to get your news releases noticed by this time-strapped niche of readers.
What do I have to do to get some coverage around here?
Firstly, you should know who and what is around “here.” If you aren’t pitching to a hometown publication, you still need to know the local gatekeepers and current events. The key word here—everywhere—is relevancy. Don’t waste your time or make a bad impression by contacting the wrong person. Familiarize yourself with the different sections of a publication, so you know which editor might be interested in your client’s story. There are several media databases that can help you research relevant contacts, such as My Media Info.
Informational graphics, commonly known as “infographics,” have become a popular tool for promoting a brand or product, addressing a problem or telling a story. Infographics are visual representations of data, or “data viz,” as the trendy designers call it. The designer takes a complex set of information and simplifies it using graphs, illustrations, charts and other creative visuals. Infographics have evolved alongside design trends and advancements in technology, becoming a powerful tool for breaking down huge amounts of information for every kind of audience. It takes a creative eye to make an infographic that stands out, and a simple mistake could leave it easily overlooked. Here are some common rookie mistakes that graphic designers make when developing infographics:
1. Using too much text
It’s easy to think that creating an infographic is as easy as organizing a few blocks of text in a way that is pleasing to the eye. A lot of rookies tend to break down a large article into smaller blocks with a few illustrations or icons thrown in. But this isn’t what readers want from an infographic. Today’s consumers can access an endless amount of information at high speeds. An infographic needs to be engaging and to the point.
There’s been a lot of hype around using social media as a marketing tool lately, and for good reason. It’s free. It allows you to reach out to current and potential clients in a more, well…social manner. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are excellent networking tools, and they create a sense of community between businesses and consumers. You can engage users on your business’s Facebook or Twitter page, asking customers and potential customers for their feedback and opinions. And quite frankly, it can be fun to get a little social with your customers.
But do social media platforms really provide the best conversion rates? Nope, not at all, according to a study conducted by Custora. Even as social media use skyrockets, customer acquisition via email campaigns has more than quadrupled over the past four years.