Slow down your delivery; speak to the reporter's note taking speed.
Ask if they are getting it all down ("Am I going too fast?").
In a phone interview, listen to their keystrokes on their PC, and sloooow down.
Repeat your key messages at least three times for each key message.
Know reporter/blogger math: 6X1=0 ... 3X3=1
That is, six messages or more provided randomly will result in no retention. However, three key messages stated succinctly three times may result in the retention of one (which could be the headline or lead element in a story/blog, or evening news teaser).
Have handouts and written documents the reporter/blogger can take away or receive by e-mail.
Respond to reporter questions in writing by e-mail.
Rehearse and role play before the interview.
Speak in sound bites of no more than 10-15 seconds, pause, provide another key message.
Never repeat the negative; you will be the one saying it.
Avoid corporate speak and jargon; use plain language your mother would understand.
Ask to say it again; if you bloop or make a mistake in a statement, acknowledge it and ask to restate the point.
Don't ramble, get long-winded or wander off message; pause-- dead air is your friend.
You are never off the record; don't go there!
Articulate clearly and don't mumble.
There have been numerous attempts in recent years within our profession to define or redefine public relations, and in fact, most people do not understand what “PR” is. However, in the marketing world, one truth is not in dispute: Mutually beneficial relationships with its key publics are vital to an organization’s success. There’s those words again – “relationships” and “publics.”
With public relations as an essential component of your growth plan, any marketing initiative your brand undertakes has better potential to achieve your objectives. Public relations is vital to marketing success. But what is PR?
Using the acronym VITAL, public relations can be explained (perhaps too simply) like this:
VThe V stands for visibility. In its very basic form, a public relations campaign is designed to achieve visibility for the organization. Of course, all brands, whether people or organizations, already have visibility of some sort. That visibility may be negative, or worse, neutral (invisible), with no mindshare at all. To cut through the clutter of the 6,000 messages we all receive each day, the visibility component of the public relations campaign must be well planned, effectively targeted, creative, memorable, consistent and frequent.
IThe I stands for interest. PR can and should drive interest in the brand. A research-based, well-planned and managed public relations campaign will achieve levels of visibility that will generate interest from and among specific, target audiences or publics. Remember, there is no such thing as the general public. There are only audience segments or groups that we must target specifically to generate interest. Here is where behaviors and attitudes begin to change, which is what you want.
TThe T is all about trial, or better yet, trust. After you have achieved visibility that leads to interest in your brand, message, product or service (or yourself) from a specific target audience, members of that audience may respond to your messaging by trusting you and/or trying your product or service. They may trust your message, and take the action you determined as your objective when you planned your public relations campaign initially. Now, we are getting buy-in, action, trial; more behavior change.
AThe A stands for one of the elements that will define your public relations campaign’s success: Acceptance. You have the right visibility, you have generated interest, there’s a level of trust that may lead to trial, and as the campaign progresses, your goal should be to achieve acceptance of the brand, the person, the product or service, among your target publics/audiences. Embracing your message and accepting your brand promise is one of the key elements of behavior change.
LAnd, now, the great leap, perhaps the most difficult and tenuous stage of a public relations campaign to reach and maintain. The L stands for Loyalty, brand loyalty, loyalty of thought and action, complete – although potentially temporary – behavior change. If you can develop loyalty to your brand and its promise (as provided in your messaging), you have achieved the objective of the public relations campaign as defined in the original plan.
There is a caveat (of course, right?). Be aware that brand loyalty is a delicate state of being, and maintaining the behavior change you achieved with your public relations plan will be your challenge from then on. So, your strategic planning phase before the campaign launch must anticipate the inevitable erosion of loyalty and include tactics to minimize or eliminate that leakage of trust over time.
One of the most troubling questions public relations practitioners are asked goes like this: “We just need a news release. Can you do a news release for us? How much would a news release cost?”
As I cringe inside and try to avoid an obvious eye-roll, I attempt to keep my composure as I respond: “Well, there are some things to think about first: What is your objective, how will you measure success, who is your target audience, what is the messaging that will motivate them, what is your call to action, and for gosh sakes, what is your NEWS, who should care and why?”
Often, I hear only silence. The fact is, if you have to ask that question, you really don’t need a news release. You will be wasting your money if you find someone to write one and then “send it out.”
Ah, but here’s a thought: You might actually need an objective-based communications campaign plan. And, if you are talking to a seasoned public relations professional (and we actually have a few here at Clearview Communications and Public Relations Inc.), a news release will absolutely not be part of that plan.
However, your plan may include various appropriate communications initiatives, and several well-crafted and well-thought-out news releases might be part of the plan. Might not. If so, they will be supported by appropriate social media initiatives, audience engagement events, speaking gigs, perhaps videos, radio and television appearances (only after mandatory media interview skills training), op-ed submissions and journalist/blogger deskside interviews or coffees, along with other tactics.
Now, we are getting somewhere. Your plan must include these very basic components:
So, considering all of the above, we now have an organized, structured program for a communications campaign that will motivate your target audiences to take specific action or to change behaviors, is measureable, will provide a return on your investment that is acceptable to you and your agency, and enhance your brand’s positive visibility.
The alternative, that single news release, would have gone deep into the darkness of that black hole where all single news releases go to die, with everyone wondering why nothing happened.