Posts Tagged ‘understanding’


Managing Media Interviews

Friday, October 8th, 2010

InterviewLast week, I had the pleasure of joining Southwest Missouri PRSA for their annual professional development day.  The great lineup of speakers included retired Lt. Col. Joseph V. Trahan III, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA.  “Doc Joe,” a self-described Cajun, has conducted hundreds of media training classes over his 30+ years for government agencies, law enforcement, higher education and non-profits.  His background is so extensive that if I went further, it could easily take up more space than this post itself!

Keeping in mind that his seminars are typically 1-2 days, what follows is only a handful of “key” takeaways.

The three C’s of media relations…
According to Doc Joe, the three “C’s” of media relations, especially when responding to the media, are:

  • Control: He says, “If you put a microphone in my face, it’s MINE!”
  • Competence: Clear, honest, simple information. No speculation.
  • Concern: For example,“Mayor Giuliani showed concern on 9/11. For a brief shining moment we were all New Yorkers.”

For any media interview, you must be prepared. No excuses.
Research the reporter’s questions, your own questions, and breakdown the elements of the news. “Be the devil’s advocate,” says Doc Joe, when thinking about what questions may be asked and how the media may respond.  He advises to spend one hour of prep time for every minute of air time. If it’s a 3-7 minute standup, that means up to seven hours of prep time. When developing your responses, be sure to use “command messages” (aka talking points), statements/info that you work into responses that explain position, and be consistent with them.  He also provided 10 examples of “bridging” connector phrases

Take advantage of the off-camera time to meet and greet.
Correct any misinformation.  Provide a starting point (hook).  Be sure to explain any restrictions.  Doc Joe calls these SAPP:

  • Security
  • Accuracy
  • Propriety
  • Policy

 Ready for the Interview? 
Open with a 24-40 second summary – who, what, when, where and what we’re doing about it. Listen, pause, think, then talk, when responding to media. And never repeat a negative question. Remember:

  • Each statement you make should be able to stand alone.
  • “Listen for understanding and comprehension, not to await your turn to speak.” (One of my key takeaways here.)
  • Tell the truth and stick to the facts. Talk only about what you know. 

“Know your audience; visualize them; the reporter is a channel to the audience” ~Dr. Joe Trahan

Non-verbal cues during the interview are extremely important also.  So, look at the reporter, not the camera. Remain calm, but if you “choke,” ask to try it again (if it’s not a live interview, of course).  Credibility and believability are critical for the interview to be a success.

Post-Interview Best Practices
Doc Joe says, after the interview, it’s okay to ask when it will air, but avoid asking for copies – you can get it later from the station or from you media monitoring service.  The only real reason to get back to the reporter is if you owe him answers or if he has bona fide accuracy issues.

How do you manage your media interviews? Do you agree with these points? What would you add? Please share your thoughts with me and the readers of BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas.

2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Paul Gillin Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE:  Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and I’m here at the Bulldog Media Relations Summit.  I’m joined by Paul.

Paul, will you please introduce yourself?

PAUL GILLIN:  Hi, I’m Paul Gillin. I am a writer, speaker and a consultant in social media.

BURKE:  And, Paul, you were just on the panel about social media and the future of social media marketing, and I think that a lot of the viewers here are probably still just getting started or maybe don’t feel like they have the traction that they need in this space.  What are some tips that they can apply tomorrow as far as making their programs better?

GILLIN:  Well, first of all, I would get–if you’re not on Facebook, which almost the entire world is at this point, be sure you’re on Facebook, be sure you’re on Twitter and you have the basic groundings in those areas.  I think the important thing is to listen.  The first thing you want to do is listen.  And for that, become familiar with Twitter search.  Start looking for your company name or the names of your clients on Google.  But also become familiar with some other search engines, such as Boardwatch.  These are—or Twitter search.  These are ways to see what people are saying about you in forums that aren’t necessarily being indexed by Google. 

Build a dashboard. And, I mean, go to–go to Google and become familiar with Google Reader and learn how to take the feeds that are coming in from search.twitter.com and from a lot of Google alerts are available through a–through a feed reader. You can also go to a site like Social Mention, which indexes strictly social market–social networking areas, and you can create feeds that you can capture in Google Reader, and you can sort of build yourself a dashboard so you can see, any time you look at your dashboard, the latest information about what people have been saying about you and your company.

So I’d say spend, you know, a couple of months really getting comfortable with listening and understanding how the back and forth works, the way people talk to each other, and some of the–some of the behavioral standards of social media, and then, you know, dive in as a participant, but only once you understand how people really like to interact with each other.

BURKE:  Thank you so much.  And where can people find you in social media?

GILLIN:  Well, thank–I’m glad you asked.  I am @pgillin, that’s P-G-I-L-L-I-N, as in Nancy, on Twitter.  And I’m at gillin.com.  And I’m also pgillin on Facebook.  So I sense a pattern there.

BURKE:  Great.  Thank you so much.

GILLIN:  Thank you, Johna. 

2010 Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit: Matt Harrington, Edelman, Interviewed by Johna Burke, BurrellesLuce

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

Transcript –

JOHNA BURKE: Hello, this is Johna Burke with BurrellesLuce, and we’re here at the media relations summit for Bulldog. We’re joined by Matt.

Matt, will you please introduce yourself?

MATT HARRINGTON: Certainly. I’m Matt Harrington. I’m the U.S. CEO for Edelman.

BURKE: Now, Matt, you just did a panel on the future of public relations, and you were talking about skills and attributes that you’re looking for. What are you looking for in your future PR practitioners to separate your business from others?

HARRINGTON: Well, for me it’s still very much the fundamentals: the inquiring mind, the ability to write well, and to have an understanding of the broad aspects of a client’s business, as well as the particulars of their business. But it’s now–there are added layers of complexity, if you will. There are more opportunities, more channels, more stakeholders that we all have the opportunity to engage with and build relationship on behalf of our companies, and so you need to just have a very wide view on the world. And the best access point is to be digitally savvy and understanding the channels online, whether it be the blogosphere or the world of Twitter, but also, more importantly probably, is the emerging technologies that are enabling us to help get our stories told. I think this is easier, actually, for the folks just entering our industry now because they actually are digital natives. So they don’t know another world. So the fact that they’re living in a three or four-screen world, that’s the way it’s always been. So their ability to manage that sort of attention deficit world is easier, perhaps. But at the core, it’s still about communicating. And more now than about telling the story or pushing a message, it’s about engaging an end audience and building a relationship with them. And that, I think, is the really exciting opportunity for our industry.

BURKE: Great tips for all of the public relations professionals. And where can people find you in social media?

HARRINGTON: On Twitter @mharring, as well as by edelman.com and on Facebook at Matthew Harrington.

BURKE: Great. Thank you so much.

Required Reading for PR Professionals

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Valerie Simon

Required Reading for PR ProfessionalsAs interns head into the office for the first time this fall, eager to make a good impression and begin a successful career, wouldn’t it be nice to be given a reading list…a list of books that hold the secrets and lessons to give you that extra advantage? I decided to ask a few leaders in the PR industry, “Is there a book you’d consider ‘required reading’? Something you wish every new hire read prior to their first day on the job?” Here are their responses:

Beyond How-to and PR 2.0
“I think better than any how-to or PR 2.0 book are business bios that inspire,(e.g., Howard Schulz, J. Dyson), books re: creativity, and Mad Men,” says Dorothy Crenshaw, CEO and creative director Crenshaw Communications. Personally, I love reading the biographies of successful business leaders; in fact, Howard Schulz’s “Pour Your Heart Into It” has a special place on my bookshelf.

Good for All Levels
Stephanie Smirnov, president, Devries PR suggests “Making News in the Digital Era” by David Henderson.

Global Clientele and Mega Trends
Alex Aizenberg , group manager, Weber Shandwick: “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” and “The World Is Flat” both by Tom Friedman.

Must Reads
Richard Laermer, founder and CEO, RLM Public Relations: “Elements of Style” by E.B. White and “On Writing Well” by Wiliam Zinsser.

Start Your Career Right
Christine Barney, CEO Rbb Public Relations: “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” by Robert Sutton.

The World Around You
As Stefan Pollack, president of The Pollack PR Marketing Group points out, “With today’s explosion of information, to me, required reading is to read everything one can get their hands on.  Books, eBooks, white papers, blogs, etc..Today’s entry level pro needs to up their level of intellectual curiosity and their life experiences. They need to know more about everything and as important link it to their pursuit for a career in PR.” Pollack’s recommendation: “the Book of Life, the life that is around you both near and far. By upping one’s intellectual curiosity, new hires, run the greater chance of understanding the contextual relevance of what they read when applying it to what they do. ”

As for my suggestions? Attempting to choose a single book to offer up as required reading is certainly not easy. My friends at BurrellesLuce and I frequently pass around books and a few of my favorite books, among those that have circulated, include:

But I think that if I could mandate a single book as required reading for new hires, I’d just stick to an old favorite: “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. While Carnegie may have written the book in 1936, the simple lessons are timeless and perhaps more important today than ever before.

What book would you suggest a new employee reads before coming on board at your organization?