Success During a Media Interview

By on Mar 4, 2015 in News | 0 comments

There are several things during the interview that you can do to ensure that your message remains clear and you have a good successful interview. The most important thing to remember is to stay calm and be as articulate as possible. Answer each question honestly: While giving a media interview you should never use the phrase “no comment.” You must be truthful in your responses and answer each question or you will seem evasive. If there is a legitimate or pending legal reason for not answering a question, simply state that you cannot answer it and give the reason. If you do not know an answer, don’t make something up. Simply state that you will need to look up the information so you can provide the most factual data. Ask if you can email the information after the interview. Avoid Jargon: There is nothing worse when reading copy than trying to decipher industry jargon and acronyms. Neither have any place in a media interview. If your audience has to figure out what you’re talking about then they aren’t paying attention to your message. Speak clearly and plainly so a wide audience will be able to understand. Be Engaging: The more you can show interest and passion for the subject the more engaged you will seem. It’s okay to use stories and anecdotes to illustrate and simplify your points. These can make for good copy as well. Also remember that the journalist probably does not know as much as you about the topic so you should try to educate and provide information in an informative and engaging way. Control & Redirect: There can always be an uncomfortable question or two so be ready to redirect. Answer the question but follow it up with the redirect. “Yes, but the other thing to consider is…..” “What we really discovered is…..” “The lesson we learned…..” “Another important fact is…..” Emphasize key points: You’ll be saying a lot during the interview but to make sure your main points are made indicate through your words what’s most important. “The key point is….” “The most important thing to remember is…..” “What’s critical at this time….” “Our biggest impact has been…..” Nothing is Off the Record: This...

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Before a Media Interview

By on Feb 18, 2015 in News | 0 comments

For even the most seasoned professionals, media interviews can be stressful. Will I say the right thing? Will I know all the answers? What if they ask something I don’t know or have all the facts about? What if I’m misquoted? For many business and nonprofit leaders, the stress of the media interview can be a reason to turn down the opportunity. But a good interview is one of the most effective tools in your public relations arsenal. And if you are prepared, it can ease the stress and make for a more effective interview. Here are a few ways to prep for an effective media interview: Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask the journalist questions before the interview takes place so you can prepare in advance. Try to find out what information or research would be helpful to them, what their angle on the story will be and anyone else they might be interviewing for their story. Some journalists are even willing to email their questions ahead of time so you can prepare. Don’t forget to research the journalist and see the other stories they have written. Research: Make sure you know your subject and any current available research – both research you support and research you may be opposed to or may be controversial. Make sure you are well-versed in both. Have facts and figures and any other relevant data available during the interview so it’s an easy reference for you. In addition, make sure you prepare and have on hand any company fact sheets and backgrounders. Practice: If you have not received the journalist’s questions ahead of the interview, prepare your own Q&A of potential questions. Don’t forget to include some difficult or challenging questions a journalist may ask so you can practice how to answer in the most positive way. Even consider asking a co-worker to practice interviewing you so you can see how your responses sound to someone else. This also helps you refine your responses. Sound bites: Sometimes the simplest answers are best. Practice and hone your messages to a few key points. Creating simplified quotable key messages will help ensure your information comes across correctly and your words aren’t misconstrued. If you...

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Learning AP Style

By on Feb 4, 2015 in News | 0 comments

When writing a press release, style is important. Press releases are typically written in the Associated Press (AP) style format based on the most updated AP Style Guide. (Take a look here for the most updated version.) One small mistake won’t cost you but it’s important to try to stay as close to AP style as possible when writing. And it’s important to take a look at updates as AP style can change over time. The following are some AP Style rules you should follow: State Names Spell out state names in the body of stories. You will still use abbreviations in datelines, photo captions, lists, etc. Months & Dates Only abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. when using it with a specific date. (Feb. 5, 2015) Spell out the months when they stand alone or are combined with a year. February 2015 Numbers Write out the numbers one through nine and use numerals for numbers 10 and higher. Professional Titles Do not capitalize job titles unless they immediately precede someone’s name. (Mayor Sam Smith vs. Sam Smith, mayor of Austin, Texas) Titles Newspapers and magazines are capitalized, not italicized. Books, movies, TV shows, works of art, etc., use quotation marks around them. Academic Degrees There is an apostrophe in the word “bachelor’s” and in “master’s,” (the proper names are Bachelor of Arts/Science and Master of Arts/Science) and an AA is called an “associate degree.” Percent Write out the word “percent” instead of using the “%” sign. Farther vs. Further When referring to a physical distance, use “farther”. When referring to an extension of time or degree, use...

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Creating an Editorial Calendar

By on Dec 10, 2014 in News | 0 comments

December is a great time of year to reflect back on your content from last year and assess what did or didn’t work. Hopefully, if you’ve been tracking your social media, email marketing and website all year long, the stats will be readily available. If not, it’s a good time to plan how you’ll track for next year. It’s also the perfect time to start preparing your editorial calendar for the year ahead. So what is an editorial calendar? It helps you with strategy, organization and project management. It helps you plan your content themes for each month and what topics you’ll cover. Some use an editorial calendar to plot out how many blog articles will be written each month, their dates of publication and content. The same for email marketing and social media content. For most of my clients, we sketch out three months at a time, some go as far as six months but it’s important to leave room for new topics that might be in the media you’d like to respond to or things coming up you want to highlight for your business. An editorial calendar is meant to be a guide and not something written in stone. Remember you can easily shift content around as needed. How an Editorial Calendar Helps: Managing and scheduling your own blog posts and social media Scheduling blog posts by guest authors Scheduling the creation and deployment of other marketing materials Tracking events that can generate content such as conferences, holidays and awareness days (particularly if you’re a nonprofit) Gathering ideas that lead to content An editorial calendar takes away last minute panic about what articles you’re writing and when you are sending content out. Every editorial calendar can be slightly different, some of my clients even include: The person responsible for researching and writing the content The type of content published and when it’s published Where you plan to publish it What you hope to achieve and how success will be measured This is something each organization can customize for themselves. A simple Google search will help you see editorial calendar samples and you can choose what works for your organization and what doesn’t. For those using WordPress two...

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Holiday Marketing Ideas

By on Dec 3, 2014 in News | 0 comments

As we slide past Thanksgiving and right into December, the holiday season is right on top of us. Some businesses slow down at end of the year while others have their best sales. Content marketing can end up taking a back seat to everything else happening during this time of year. But, it doesn’t have to. Here are some simple tips to stay connected with your clients and customers throughout the holiday season. Holiday Content – Decide what the most useful information your audience can have about your business or subject matter expertise during this time of year and share it. It might just be something as simple as your business hours that might change during the holidays, sales you are running or even solutions to customers’ holiday problems you can solve. One of my clients, a private investigator, makes sure his holiday content focuses on safety tips through the holidays especially helping to prevent theft, robbery and other crimes at home and while out shopping. He has the knowledge and expertise and it’s the perfect time of year to share it. He’s not making direct sales from the content but he’s laying the groundwork that he’s an expert – which is just as important. Plan a Holiday Party – This all depends on the kind of business you have. If you have an actual office or storefront and a local customer base, it’s pretty easy to pull together a quick holiday party. When I was back home living in NY and a member of my Chamber of Commerce this was a fun time to year attending holiday get-togethers and networking with all my business friends who I might not have seen in a while. It was fun socializing but also amazing networking! For businesses like mine, where my customer base is spread across the U.S., I have to get a little creative. Holidays cards or even if you’re a baker (or can order online), tins of cookies are always a nice reminder to your most loyal clients. Perfect Time Just to Say Thanks – No matter what else you do during the holiday season, it’s a nice idea to say thank you to your loyal fans and followers...

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Improve Year-End Fundraising

By on Nov 19, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Whether there is a specific focus around the holidays or not, many nonprofits choose this time of year to kick off their annual fundraising appeal. For some, it can yield a good portion of their overall annual fundraising, but for others the campaign call fall flat. The following are some simple steps any organization can take to revive its annual appeal, better engage its donors and have one last final fundraising push. But first, consider the timing. Timing Unless your organization has successfully done an annual holiday or year-end fundraising campaign for years, you might want to consider another time to send out your annual appeal. Most faithful donors are bombarded with holiday and end-of-the-year appeals. So much so that you won’t always have your audience’s full attention and certainly not always all they can and are willing to give. If you have noticed your donations drop off year to year, it could be your campaign, or it could just be bad timing. Consider an appeal at another time of the year. Spring, for instance, or even earlier in fall. With less competition, there will be more attention on your needs and potentially more money. The earlier in the holiday season the appeal can be sent, the more likely you’ll have your donors’ full attention. Delivery Hopefully, before you send out your annual appeal, you understand your audience’s demographic make-up. It’s okay to still send some annual appeals by mail while emailing others. Know which your audience prefers and which yields the greatest donations. Be willing to change things up to meet your donors’ preference. And don’t forget to utilize other marketing communications channels at your organization to support your appeal. Modify content on your website’s homepage to talk about the annual appeal with a clear call to action on how to donate and the impact donors are making. Add personal impact stories to the website and social media around this time to reinforce the great work at the organization. Never let an annual appeal be stand-alone communication; let it work in conjunction with other marketing efforts already in place. Make it personal Making the appeal as personal as possible to each of your individual donors will go a...

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