Tag Archives: Communication

Go inside the Wizard’s world of news…

We do our best to offer good tips on public relations here on our blog. We also have a subscriber newsletter. Our January issue is filled with tips to make news during the months of January and February.

If you’d like to take a peek at this month’s subscriber newsletter, send your email address to us at info@mynewswizard.com, mention this blog and we’ll send you a copy.

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Filed under Branding, Investor Relations, Marketing, Media Relations, Press Release, Public Relations, Publicity, Social Media

Street smarts or book smarts?

streetsmarts
Many public relations students and new professionals ponder the question, “Should I go to graduate school or get more work experience?”

Essentially, the answer comes down to this: Which is more valuable?

The fact is, both are crucial to success. Let’s start with street smarts. PR, like journalism, is a deadline-driven environment. Public relations professionals often work in a fast-paced environment. On any given day, they are posting comments on their company’s social media sites, fielding questions from the news media, updating their website, and performing many other tasks.

In PR, sometimes you have to react quickly to events of the day. The more experience you have, the better your instincts for finding PR opportunities, as well as managing risks to your company’s reputation.

Experience prepares you to survive and thrive in this fast-paced environment. It gives you the wisdom, judgment and intuition needed to know when – and how – to react to events of the day.

Book smarts, or education, is equally important. In order to thrive in PR, you need both higher-order thinking and technical skills. By that we mean you need to develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to analyze a situation, think through alternatives, and make sound decisions.

You also must develop specific technical skills, such as multimedia storytelling and writing for various types of platforms (i.e., the web, newsletters, etc.). A good education can help you become a better writer and editor, and help you learn to write for different audiences.

Education can also expose you to some of the best thinking in your profession.

The bottom line: PR and communications are constantly evolving. Both education and experience can play a huge role in your success.

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Filed under Entry Level PR, Media Relations, Public Relations, Social Media

Building media relationships…

building

For all of you businesspeople, fundraisers, sales and communications professionals out there, you know that in order to be successful you must do one thing really well: Build relationships.

The same is true in generating media coverage for your organization. It takes time to build relationships with journalists. But when you do, the rewards can be great. Here’s some advice to start building relationships with journalists:

Learn who covers your industry for your regional and trade media. Local print reporters often have so-called “beats” such as business, health and fitness, arts, sports, and so on. Find out who is writing about your area of expertise and follow their stories.

While some television stations have beat reporters, most broadcast media rely more on “general assignment” reporters — meaning that one day they may be covering a court room trial and the next they may be covering a fire. Regardless, be familiar who covers what topics in your local media. The same holds true for trade media. Know the major trade media outlets in your industry. Keep an eye out for who covers topics that relate to your business.

Once you have identified journalists of interest, read or watch their stories and follow them on Twitter. Keep an eye on the kinds of stories they cover and what topics interest them. This will help you tailor your media outreach efforts toward the right reporter.

Building relationships in any endeavor takes time. Begin the process with reporters by passing along items of interest, providing information about your industry, and letting them know that you’re willing to offer comment on breaking news in your industry.

Over time, the journalists you reach out to may call on you to provide context on developments in your industry. In the process, you will not only build relationships, but awareness of your organization and its efforts.

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Filed under DIY PR, Entry Level PR, Media Relations, Public Relations, Publicity, Social Media

The Art of the Sound Bite

press conference

Being quotable can earn you a top spot on a journalist’s list of go-to sources.

So, what makes a good sound bite?

Ideally, it should be something your audience can remember. That’s why making a good comparison or conjuring up a strong visual image can make for a compelling sound bite.

But you also want to make your point. A good sound bite should deliver your message in a powerful and easy-to-understand way.

A quick caveat: If you make a comparison, make sure it is a valid and appropriate one. It must apply to the situation — not be too dramatic or overstated, and certainly not something inappropriate to the situation.

The next time you prepare for that big media interview, here are some tips for mastering the art of the sound bite:

Keep your responses short. Television news packages can run on average from about 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Within that time, the reporter needs to explain the story and provide reaction. That means your air time may only be 10 seconds or less. Even in print and online, your comments are likely to be given no more than one or two sentences in a story.

Practice before the interview. Always go into an interview with three key messages that you want to deliver. Write down your messages and then refine what you want to say. Ask a colleague to conduct a mock interview with you so you can practice delivering the responses and thinking on your feet when the reporter asks follow-up questions.

Don’t talk too fast. Talk slowly enough so that the reporter can get everything down. Longer, complex sentences can be hard for busy print reporters to write down, especially if you continue talking after you’ve expressed the thought. A television audience can miss your point as well if you talk to fast and do not speak clearly.

The media will return to you for comment if you can provide pithy, succinct quotes that capture the essence of something, and you will be representing your organization well if you are delivering a key message at the same time.

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Filed under Crisis Communications, Media Relations, Public Relations