Document your anniversary and spread the word. Take photos and create informal videos of the activities underway. For example, compare the new anniversary logo with the one in use and describe the process of designing it. All events should be captured; these photos and video can be shared on your company’s website and social media accounts.
When a reporter calls you out of the blue, take the call and reschedule for a time when you are prepared to speak on the topic. The reporter is going to write the story, with or without you, so practice a script that grants you 30 minutes to prepare your remakrs and gather additional information.
Of course, you will follow up with the reporter, even if you have to dodge some questions because you don’t have enough information to respond in that moment. You probably may safely say that you are looking carefully at the situation’ (you are in touch with your attorney) and you will re-connect with the reporter as more details become available.
While this response may not be quotable, it tells the reporter you are attentive to their interest in the story and will remain accessbile for future comment.
Do not ask for, nor expect to receive, a preview of the article or your quote. How do you like it when a coworker hovers over your shoulder while you compose a report?
Instead, team up with the reporter. Perhaps you will say: I know we’ve covered a lot of ground in this conversation, some of which is rather technical. If you have any questions about what we’ve discussed, or would like to review anything with me, I’m happy to help.
Better to ask when the article will be published, so that you can promote it on your social media accounts and include it in your newsletter. Reporters will be happy to learn you will drive your contacts to read it.
Here are three questions to get you started. Which problem have you recently solved for a client? Which referral source would make a good partner to package a story idea? Which reporter at an industry newsletter or a local business magazine is likely to open your gift for a news article? Start brainstorming from any of these points of departure and see where you land.
Speak up. Your predictions might be right, but don’t be concerned if they don’t work out. Twelve months from now, no one will hold you accountable, even if your ideas turn out to be off the mark. Instead, reporters will remember that you had a forecast, and they will re-connect to hear your perspective for the following year.
Consider these ways to share the news about your company, instead of issuing a press release:
Send an email announcement to your clients and referral sources, plus your many contacts
Add a pop-up window or prominent mention on your website
Insert attention-grabbing text in your email signature
Post the news on your individual and company social media accounts
Mention the update to members of your networking groups
Of course, you should also take these steps to support the press release you’re issuing.
Being contacted by a reporter is like the lottery; you have to be in it to win it. Use a Media Profile to introduce yourself to journalists as someone who has her finger on the pulse of the industry. Think of trends that you see looming on the horizon. Consider big picture ideas that will spark interest in your insights. Is there an upcoming deadline that companies must meet? Anticipate how this may impact businesses in a specific industry or local area. Your ideas should help an individual, business owner or an executive to Save Time, Save Money or Make More Money.
Help the reader or audience achieve the outcome. Now that you’ve educated the reader, listener or attendee, in most cases, your goal is for the person to contact you for your product or service.
When you want someone to give you a call, send you an email, visit your website or download a report, you have to provide them with the essential mechanism to take that step.
Consider the industries in which your clients operate along these lines. Look into your crystal ball for themes to share with reporters:
Trends, Competition, Consolidation, Regulation, Legislation, Litigation.
Prepare for your podcast interview by assembling a list of topics, illustrating them with examples and using visual imagery to spice up your language. After a series of points, circle back to summarize them. These tips will make your remarks more memorable.
Look at the bigger picture from the perspective of a dentist, landlord and supermarket clerk. What is their desire or need in the community? For themselves? For their business? Which are the most pressing issues for them regarding time and money? Invite a dentist, landlord or clerk for a coffee chat, ask these questions and listen as you put yourself in her shoes.
Make an appointment with yourself to address one of the seven Communication goal questions each day for the next week. As a reminder, when setting a Communication goal, the acronym S M A R T guides you to successful completion of the goal: Specific, Meaningful, Action Oriented, Realistic and Timely.
Everyone should review these tools and accounts in an Annual Communications Audit. Approach various social media platforms from the perspective of someone who is not familiar with your company and services. Where might they look for information (website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter)? What would they find there? Is the content current (timeless or within the last week)? Take a few minutes to check the latest entries on your LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and others that your audiences visit.
Media Relations activity is like gardening. You clear, plant and cultivate. Then distribute. It’s up to you to propagate the news story you’ve placed by sharing it everywhere you can. Don’t trust that the wind (social media) will carry the seedlings (news coverage) of its own accord. As the gardener, you have to play an active role. Root around for ideas and find fertile ground to plant them.
What is COPE?: Create Once, Publish Everywhere.
Clients, prospects and supporters are looking for resources and information across multiple platforms: online, newspapers, magazines, newsletters and video. Whenever you create content, take steps to share and promote your insights. Whenever you are the subject of media coverage or another’s blog, you can respect copyright and reference the media outlet.
Match your Communications activities to your goals. Highlight select programs by consistently featuring stories about the participants or clients, services, staff, allied partners and results. To ensure consistency, coordinate with colleagues across the group for a steady flow of new content.
Your co-author speaks to her peers in their language. An article may not be accepted by, for example, a legal publication, without relying on the legal expertise and writing style of an attorney.
Share your content with reporters. Case studies, articles, blog posts and presentations testify to your credentials as an authoritative expert. You will position yourself as a source to comment on solutions to problems faced by others in that industry or serving a similar population.
Make the most of your radio appearance. While the live segment is being edited in digital format, you can prepare to start the redistribution process. The more platforms where the radio interview appears (email signature, website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, as appropriate), the broader your reach, far beyond the listening area of the radio station.
Why should a board member or volunteer care about news? The president of a foundation once remarked, “I give money to nonprofit groups that I’ve heard of. One way I hear about your organization is in the news.”
Because many nonprofits with a budget of less than $2 million do not have a professional to manage contact with the press, it is the responsibility of the board — and an opportunity for volunteers — to support the organization in its media outreach. Otherwise, multiple opportunities for fundraising, promotion and collaboration might be missed, as discussed in When Nonprofits Fail to Communicate.
Save Time, Save Money or Get More JOY Out of Life. A restaurant and a museum offer a less tangible service. They create a transformative experience and people are willing to spend their time and money to capture an elusive mood, engage their senses or master content. Compared to the quantitative terms like time and money, these moments where participants get more JOY out of life are best described as a before and after. Even those who are not patrons or supporters can recognize the possible uniqueness of being connected to such an experience.
Sometimes stations butcher a news story. In industry lingo, the news story was bumped, cut or killed. Those are the terms that reporters (and Public Relations professionals) use to describe the assault on the fruits of their labors. Typically, a television reporter visits an event, conducts an interview with the principal organizer of the program […]
A similar approach uses the acronym STEEP. Speed, you must make a public statement quickly. Transparency, you must be available and accessible at all times during the crisis. Empathy, show your concern for those affected. Expertise, engage a respected consultant to analyze the situation and make recommendations. Pledge, that you will do everything possible to prevent recurrence. Professor Peter Horowitz of Baruch College follows this approach.
Reporters call the people that they know, so introduce yourself in a professional way. But, when you receive a call from a reporter to whom you have not been introduced, be on your guard. Consider whether the reporter knows something that you do not — or that you are not prepared to talk about right then. Let’s strategize now, before you get that call, so you’ll be prepared.
Who do you know that could use a helping hand? Look at your list of former clients to identify someone who might value a thoughtful introduction. She or he might benefit from a connection to a vendor, prospective customer, employee or donor. Plant the seed with an e-introduction that describes the two parties succinctly and their shared interest. Then step back to watch the relationship bloom.
Do you have to answer the tough question? Yes and no. It’s always best to respond to a reporter’s question, whether nasty or nice, to prove you are open and trustworthy when dealing with others. When your answer to a tough question is a statement that does not merit repeating, the question evaporates. You are not cited as unavailable for comment, which may give the appearance of not being forthright.
The clock is ticking on your 15 minutes of fame. After you speak to a reporter, prepare to spread the word, even before you see the article. When the news story is published, you’ll be ready to launch the amplification process, so your target audience may encounter you in multiple venues, a positive reinforcement.
It’s not always who or why — but HOW. Be sure you highlight the HOW of the product or service to show your impact on people and organizations. For ULTRA Testing, their HOW means that clients receive better outcomes and exceptional people get jobs. That’s a clear win-win and readers see the benefits for everyone
It feels like a light bulb. Prospective clients are more likely to identify with the needs of satisfied customers than with self-proclaimed expertise. When reading brief case studies, the potential client imagines that the solutions described will have a similar impact and will solve their problem. Voila!
Interns can catch the story idea you pitch. Interns have to get approval of story ideas from editors, as do staff reporters. Interns might even be more invested in the story, because it offers them a chance to shine and stand on their own two legs. Consider how an intern may open the door to another contact at the same publication.
Show how your national group has local impact. Plan ahead to line up area customers and supporters, as well as provide background facts, to ensure credibility.
Photos given to reporters and shared via social media accounts must adhere to your objectives. Reputation management entails confining the discussion to the facts and ensuring personal privacy is respected and maintained.
Look beyond The New York Times. The online formats of industry trade publications are hungry for fresh content, daily. Provide actionable information and visuals to land this coverage.
Keep your insights accessible. Incorporate imagery and limit use of technical language; your readers might forward your ideas to colleagues who are less conversant with the issue.
Public Relations activity affects more than sales. Miserly Communications spending may save dollars, and also affect how customers, prospects and industry observers remember — or overlook — your organization.
Reporters always want to know what lies ahead. Be the one to anticipate the trends about to happen.
A photograph is worth 1,000 words. People in the picture are an engaging testimonial in your brochures, on your website, in media outreach and in your emails.
Why you? And why now? That’s what reporters will ask. Introduce yourself, your organization, your event, etc., to journalists at appropriate publications in a memorable way. Reporters call the people they know and they do not call people who wait for the phone to ring. Find a reason to put your name in front of the press as an authoritative source on a timely matter.
Who do YOU know? Board members, advisory board members, former officers. Everyone knows someone worth knowing, so spend some quality one-on-one time with the inner circle to build lists of contacts and locate candidates whose presence will enrich your group’s fundraiser.
Always Be Celebrating Success. Make sure your contract or engagement letter allows you to possibly mention your work with the client in future media outreach and marketing activity. This way you don’t need to ask for permission after the project is completed.
Confirm spelling of all names. After a phone interview, send a follow-up note to the reporter with relevant names, websites and email addresses in a large font.
Make a list of topics to tell the reporter. Print in a large, easy-to-read font to consult when you have a phone interview.