Media Relations is part of every crisis—will you be in front or behind It?

 
crisis

Even people involved in emergency response who aren’t necessarily responsible for communicating with public audiences still need to be concerned with it. That’s because communication, including media relations, is central to any crisis. That’s the message from Thomas Mauro Jr., who trains companies and governmental agencies in emergency preparedness.

“Communications is always a component of every emergency,” Mauro said in an interview with CrisisResponsePro. “Media relations creeps into every crisis and you can either be in front or behind it.”

Mauro is vice president of law enforcement and preparedness at Vienna, Virginia-based CRA Inc., a national-security and emergency-management consultancy started in 1984. He is a CEM (certified emergency manager) and MEP (FEMA master exercise practitioner), in addition to having a master’s in criminal justice. CRA’s clients include the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Vermont Homeland Security, the Camden County (New Jersey) Police Department, and the Delaware Valley Intelligence Center. Mauro is located in its Cranford, New Jersey, office.

He works in the area he calls the “plan, train, exercise cycle.”

“What I do at CRA is provide the tools to help agencies and businesses plan, train, and exercise,” he says. “The key to crisis management is having a plan, a plan that everyone involved has been trained in and has practiced through some type of exercise. When a crisis occurs it’s important that we use the plan as we trained and exercised it. It’s great when companies write a plan but it’s critical to take that plan and use it and practice it and not just let it gather dust on the shelf.”

‘Hot Washes’

In addition to training, Mauro facilitates after-action reviews, or hot washes, with agencies after crises to determine what succeeded and what can be done better. “Communication is always the first in need of improvement,” he says. That includes both the mechanisms of communications (land lines, cell phones, email, text) and deciding what information is needed, when it’s needed, and who needs it. This could mean that one agency felt left out of the loop or “people feel they did not have the information they needed when they needed it,” he says.

That affects what the media is told, too. Interdepartmental or interagency communication has to work with the media-relations function. The agencies or company departments must first gather the facts and then distribute those facts to the media.

For someone who isn’t a media-relations expert, Mauro has a lot of experience in the area and strong opinions about it and how it affects emergency response.

“One of the keys to navigating the media during a crisis or emergency is for everyone involved to be on the same page,” he says. “We have to avoid a single agency going off script. And the script is accurate information that we are releasing to the public. Everyone needs to be informed of that and no one involved should add information to that script or make information up. Everyone involved needs to speak with one voice.”

An example of how not getting this right hurts communicating with the media and other audiences is the 2003 crash of Staten Island Ferry vessel Andrew J. Barberi, which killed 11 people and injured 165. Before facts could be verified, people working on the scene released information to the media, including the number of casualties, that was inaccurate.

“It was turned over to media, they turned it over to the public, and now there are a lot of questions about that information that was released without it being verified,” Mauro says.

Single Point of Contact

Mauro is a big believer in having a pre-selected and pre-trained single point of contact for the media (i.e., a public-information officer or other chief crisis officer), who takes the facts gathered at a joint-information center and distributes them to the press, usually in the form of a press release or press conference.

“It provides a single point of contact for the media and for the agencies when they need to update information and get it pushed out to the public,” he says. “A single point of contact is in my opinion hugely important to help manage information during an emergency.”

Mauro knows of where he speaks. For 20 years, he was a New York City cop, retiring as a captain. Much of his worked involved training. He was also executive officer of the 76th and 63rd precincts in Brooklyn and incident commander for the New York City borough of Staten Island.

In addition to working in the private sector, from 2007 to 2014 Mauro was the director of exercises and training for the Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Mauro says that even in the NYPD, though he wasn’t a public-information officer, he interacted with media, which informs his work today. “We needed to advertise our community-relations programs and also answer questions about incidents that occurred in the precinct,” he says. “So it was a very two–way relationship with the media.”

Two-Way Street

For Mauro, the only way to have that two-way street is to develop relationships with journalists before a crisis strikes. He gives an example from when he was still with the NYPD. He was being interviewed by a reporter he knew well from NY1, the local cable-news channel, about a fatal car crash in Brooklyn. When his answer to the first question was, in his own words, not very articulate, the reporter stopped the interview and had him re-do it, an unusual situation that came about only because of the pre-existing reporter-subject relationship.

In developing relationships with reporters, Mauro suggests asking them what information they would need in a crisis—an intriguing tip. “Have an open dialog about what they would be looking for during a crisis and come up with a strategy for how information can be communicated,” he says.

He points out another reason to develop relationships with reporters—so they trust your information.

“Most media outlets are now competing with social media,” he says. “And we all know how quickly social media pushes out information. The problem is it’s not always accurate. So if we can push out accurate information quickly to our media outlets, and they know the information’s reliable because they have a relationship with you, then they can better compete with social media.”

Of course, social media has positive uses in a crisis, Mauro says. Most importantly, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages must be monitored to understand how the public and other audiences are reacting to the emergency. And you must use social media as a channel to distribute your messages about the crisis—often accurate information to combat inaccurate rumors being bandied about in the same channel.

Mauro makes it clear how central communication—conveying truthful information—is in any crisis.

Thom Weidlich is Managing Director of CrisisResponsePro, a web-based collaborative software for crisis and litigation communications. To learn more or sign up please click here.

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Amazing Race Canada, Season 3 Ep. 4: A bittersweet homecoming in Halifax with beer and Orange Julius

 
amazing race

Spoiler Alert!

On this week’s episode of Amazing Race Canada, contestants flew from Buenos Aires, Argentina back home to Canada, landing at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

The show saw a 5.0 per cent decrease in social media activity compared to last week’s episode.

Contestants competed in tasks, known as Roadblocks, throughout the city of Halifax, tasks such as climbing the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge, finding art at Halifax Central Library, visiting Citadel Hill, fishing lobsters from the Dalhousie University Aquatron, drinking Orange Julius, and delivering beer to pubs from the Garrison brewery.

Unlike the original Amazing Race, Amazing Race Canada focuses primarily on Canadian destinations, although, the past two seasons have seen contestants traveling overseas. Social media from the Canadian locations where the show is visiting tends to dominate social chatter.

Not so coincidentally, besides Ontario (which is the biggest media market in Canada), viewers from Nova Scotia, the province the contestants were visiting, dominated the discussion on Twitter this week.

Amazing-Race-Canada-Graph

I’m sure the producers of Amazing Race Canada were very well aware of this fact, as most of the production’s focus was on contestants from Nova Scotia: Hamilton Elliott & Michaelia Drever, Brent & Sean Sweeney, and Dujean Williams & Leilani Ross. (Note: Dujean and Leilani live in Toronto, but Leilani grew up in Halifax.)

During the show, most of the attention was on Hamilton and Michaelia — especially since Hamilton left his Amazing Race Canada passport on the airplane at Halifax Stanfield International Airport and the rules state that you must have the passport with you.

The passport was eventually located by Air Canada, which ended up being a great unscripted plug for the airline. However, because of Hamilton’s mistake, he and Michaelia ended up being eliminated.

Many of the fans were upset to see Hamilton and Michaelia eliminated from the race. In fact, they were overwhelmingly the fan favourites on social media, replacing Nick Foti & Matt Giunta. Nick and Matt had been dominating Twitter conversations, but the focus on Nova Scotian participants had obviously taken focus away from them. Ironically, Nick and Matt commented during the show that they consistently finish third; this week, not only did they finish third during the race, but also on Twitter, ruining their chance for a three-peat as the episode’s most popular contestants.

In the end, Dujean & Leilani won the fourth leg of the race. They also saw increased popularity on social media.

With the loss of Hamilton & Michaelia, and with Dujean & Ross eventually winning the race, the Halifax homecoming was definitely bittersweet, not only for Nova Scotians, but perhaps the show as a whole. However, as the show travels to other Canadian locations, it’s a chance for other fans and contestants to engage on social media, no doubt crowning new fan favourites.

Contestants’ Share of Voice:

  1. Hamilton Elliott & Michaelia Drever 47.7% (Eliminated)
  2. Jesse & Gino Montani 11.9%
  3. Nick Foti & Matt Giunta 9.3%
  4. Brian & Cynthia Boyd 8.8%
  5. Dujean Williams & Leilani Ross 6.4% (Winners)
  6. Brent & Sean Sweeney 5.6%
  7. Nic La Monaca & Sabrina Mercuri 5.2%
  8. Neil & Kristin Lumsden 4.7%
  9. Simi & Ope Fagbongbe 0.6%

MediaMiser actively blogs about Amazing Race Canada, and leverages MediaMiser solutions to compile analysis on the show.

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Big Data: more concerns means new opportunity for data-centric security

 
MoreBigData

Big data implementations are deployed across the organizations of 55% of the 206 respondents to take the 2015 SANS survey on Security of Big Data Environments, while an additional 28% plan to develop such implementations in the next two years. They are using their big data analytics systems for business and competitive intelligence, consumer trending, science/diagnostics and other business purposes, according the survey.

“Big data can have big benefits for business but it also presents a big target for cybercriminals,” said John Pescatore, SANS director of emerging technologies and advisor on the survey, in a news release. “Building security into and around big data storage and analytics systems will be key to avoiding expensive, large scale breaches of sensitive business and customer data.”

For example, sensitive data relating to customers and corporate intelligence are commonly stored in big data applications, many of which are now migrating to the cloud.

In the survey, sponsored by Cloudera, 73% of respondents identified personally identifiable information as being stored in big data applications; while 72% say they store corporate information and intelligence.

“Over the course of the next couple years, respondents appear to be focusing more on the data- or information-oriented security controls such as encryption and strong authentication so that the controls can travel with the data rather than just happening at the application layer,” said Barbara Filkins, SANS Analyst and author of the survey results paper, in the release. “Those interests echo the need for comprehensive security controls that maintain the benefits of big data without compromising security.”

Today, 54% of respondents are focused on integration with existing identity and access management infrastructure, 45% on implementation of role-based authorization controls (RBAC) and 27% on monitoring around data aggregation. Over the next twelve months, respondents indicated that their organizations will increase focus on implementing the information-oriented elements of a big data architecture.

“The survey shows that over the next year respondents will focus on data classification, access controlled by tagging and policy-aware infrastructure (ABAC),” Filkins added. “Respondents say their organizations are also focusing on data de-identification and monitoring their session and service controls in support of use business analysis cases.”

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Appealing to your audience’s sense of "social self" will produce optimal results

 
personality

As more and more organizations look to reap meaningful results from social media—and tap its full word-of-mouth potential—understanding what drives people to share socially is vital to success. Social media is, well, social. And while it can be an amazing tool to organically grow the reach of your message, getting people to share online is contingent upon publishing content people want to be seen sharing. Honing a social strategy that regularly features this type of content requires understanding your audience’s sense of social self.

We all have a social self. It is the way we want to be seen online and is shaped by the content we are seen interacting with and sharing. If a piece of content doesn’t fit with our social self, the odds we’ll choose to share it are slim indeed. Following from that, then, is the need to understand what content validates your audience’s sense of social self.

It’s not just about the message and call to action, though those are important, it’s about creating and curating content your audience wants to be seen liking, sharing or commenting on. So, get out your personas and let’s take a look at what kind of content validates their sense of social self.

Humor

While we all love a post that makes us smile, many marketers feel pressure to stay on message, which translates into being serious for fear of making light of something that could cheapen the brand. (And, we’ve all seen examples of funny go awry.) While content does need to resonate with your community, if all posts were strict message-based content, your audience would honestly get bored.

Brands should mix it up and humor is a good way to inject something different into the community. I recommend the 60/40 rule, with 60% of content off-topic, but relevant to your community and 40% dedicated, on topic content. Look for tasteful ways to inject humor that your fans want to be personally connected with and you will find that overall reach and engagement will go up.

Inspiration

Inspiring content consistently does well because social media users want inspiring content to be part of their personal narrative. One way to inspire people is to celebrate success. Look for content that will inspire hope or other positive emotions.

User generated content or CSR initiatives can play a particularly impactful role here. For example, did your organization help with community outreach that made an impact? Does your product or service help customers achieve new heights? Think like a citizen journalist and feature content that’s impactful and inspirational. Or, help motivate your audience to make a difference in an area relevant to your mission. Petitions are a great example of content that inspires people to action.

Smart

Content that informs—and is easy to consume—does quite well in social media. After all, who doesn’t want to look smart? The key here is to share information that others will want to be seen sharing and that is easy to digest. Infographics are a great way to accomplish this goal as are videos. Just make sure that it can be consumed in 20 seconds or less as that is the average attention span for content of this nature.

Becoming a trusted source of information on a topic people care about will enhance trust with your audience, boost credibility and in turn make your properties a valued resource where people will continue to turn for information they want to share with their network. And at the end of the day, that’s the real magic: tapping into the fact that fans want to be the trusted source of information to their friends.

Be Data Driven

No two social communities are alike. As a result, it’s imperative to let data guide posting decisions. Use analytics to create the ‘just right’ mix of content types – humor, inspiration, etc.—as well as content delivery mechanisms – video, images, link posts, etc.—reating a content calendar that incorporates those elements most popular with your audience.

Inspire fresh, new ideas by regularly looking at what works for others in social media. What are people interacting with and sharing?  Social media is constantly evolving—including your own audience—so you should never stop experimenting with new content ideas. For example, try Meerkat, Periscope or RIFF as new ways to engage your audience and then carefully analyze engagement rates to determine if the experiment is worth repeating.

Sharing is the highest social media recommendation someone can make as they are taking your content and sharing it with their personal audience. To clear this high bar, organizations need to create content that validates people’s sense of social self and is seen as adding real value to their newsfeed and their friends’ newsfeeds. While no two people are exactly alike on or off Facebook, it’s no surprise that people are far more likely to engage with content that expresses a positive image of themselves.  With this lens in hand, social media can become a powerful tool for any organization looking to help build content that is a positive reflection of their audience, driving word-of-mouth and organization-impacting results.

Drew is the founder and CEO of ActionSprout.com where he helps nonprofits and political campaigns further their mission by engaging supporters in social media. Drew frequently shares his experience helping organizations build productive relationships with supporters online at the ActionSprout Blog.

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Why silence is not golden in a crisis

crisis

When the going gets tough, many of us tend to either say too much, or nothing at all.

Turns out, neither of those tactics work in business. When disaster strikes, staying quiet is a close second to the devastating effects of foot-in-mouth.

In recent years we’ve seen some compelling examples of burying-your-head-in-the-sand gone wrong. These PR catastrophes have shown us that silence is dangerous—and can take many forms.

Taking too long to speak up

In 2009, an employee of a North Carolina Domino’s franchise filmed and uploaded a clip of a co-worker doing unsavoury things to the food before delivery. The video quickly went viral, racking up millions of views and grabbing airtime on the evening news. While Domino’s president did the right thing by issuing an apologetic video message, the 48 hours that passed before doing so was enough to incur major financial and reputational damage.

Silence may have been a strategy in the past, but in today’s 24×7, Google search-dominated world” it speaks volumes, according to the RepMan blog. When crisis strikes, the public expects you to speak up—fast. “You don’t need to have all the answers, but you DO need to get ahead of and own the problem,” says Forbes’ contributor Davia Temin. In the early hours of a disaster, there is an opportunity to direct the narrative:The Institute for Public Relations calls silence “too passive. It lets others control the story and suggests the organization has yet to gain control of the situation.

Trying to silence others

In 2013, a waitress at a St. Louis Applebee’s posted a receipt from a customer on Reddit. The customer was offended by the automatic 18 per cent service charge for parties of more than eight and declined to tip, scribbling “I give God 10% why do you get 18” on the receipt. Applebee’s fired the waitress for “posting customer information”, just two weeks after they had posted a picture of a note from a guest that clearly featured a guest’s name. The internet blew up and in the wake of the storm—which included around 17,000 mostly negative Facebook comments—Applebee’s responded by deleting and blocking users in the middle of the night, arguing with customers and then denying they had deleted posts.

This, of course, only made them look terrible and incensed the commenters. Moral of the story? Try to silence people and they will only get louder.

Leaving customers in the dark

A few years ago, Sony Entertainment was the victim of one of the largest data breaches in history, with over 77 million customers affected. Without a word, Sony shut down its entire system. The outrage was understandable—millions of customers were locked out of the PS Network and nervously waiting for reassurance that their credit card information was safe.

While the public wanted an explanation, customers actually needed one. But Sony waited almost a week to issue a statement confirming that they didn’t actually know if this information was secure.

All of this speaks to the importance of creating a crisis management plan: thinking of the unthinkable, and the assigned actions, roles and responsibilities of your staff so you aren’t left fumbling in radio silence—or, worse, the opposite.

Andrea Lekushoff, President of Broad Reach Communications says, “Crises can—and will—occur during the lifetime of an organization. And if you’re not prepared to handle it, the impact of that crisis can increase tenfold.

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SeaWorld’s huge PR hurdles: transparency and trolls

 
seaworld

SeaWorld has been desperately trying to salvage their reputation and revenues following the 2013 documentary Blackfish. The documentary outlines some of the issues around the orca, Tilikum, who killed multiple trainers while in captivity at SeaWorld. The film targets SeaWorld for forcing the animals to perform and claims that they are not providing the lifestyle the animals need to thrive.

SeaWorld has fallen under criticism from the public for the conditions they keep their animals in, especially their orca program, which has lead to lost revenue and low park attendance. In response, SeaWorld has launched a new campaign focused on transparency and information sharing. The campaign includes TV ads featuring SeaWorld employees, print ads and a social media campaign.

The most interesting of these three is the social media campaign on Twitter that encouraged skeptics to #AskSeaWorld and then SeaWorld will respond on their site ask.seaworldcares.com. In theory it was a great idea. Customers could ask SeaWorld about anything they had heard and SeaWorld would have an opportunity to clear up the misconceptions directly.

If we look only at the standard metrics given by the Public Relations Society of America the campaign was successful. They reached thousands of people, had lots of engagement, impressions were made and the mentions went through the roof. Unfortunately for SeaWorld, looks could be deceiving. The campaign’s “success” was due to the critics and their hijacking of #AskSeaWorld. Those critical of the parks practices came out in full force. Asking questions left and right and quickly making the hashtag trend on Twitter. The questions ranged from curious to downright snarky.

One of the biggest mistakes SeaWorld made was refusing to answer some of the questions. There was actually a whole list of questions shared through Twitter of things that SeaWorld wouldn’t answer. This just provoked the critics to continue to ask them and implied that SeaWorld may have something to hide. While I can understand SeaWorld finding some of the less civil questions to not be worth their time, it doesn’t do much for their image when they refuse to answer some of the difficult questions. These are the questions people really want to know. If they can’t justify their actions then they really don’t have any ground to stand on.

SeaWorld actually ended up blocking some of their biggest critics and started to call them out on Twitter. Saying things like “Jacking hashtags is so 2014. #bewareoftrolls”, “No time for bots and bullies. We want to answer your questions. #AskSeaWorld #notrollzone” and “We are trying to answer your questions but we have a few thousand trolls and bots to weed through.#AskSeaWorld #smh”.

It seems awfully odd that in a campaign to improve the company’s relationship with the public that they would turn to calling people trolls and blaming them for slow responses.  Although the campaign started as a great idea, it turned ugly and did nothing to help their image. Not surprisingly the Twitter campaign has basically been a flop.

SeaWorld should have been prepared for this sort of reaction. After all, there have been plenty of failed examples in the past. In 2012 McDonald’s tried to have customers share their experiences with #McDStories and ended up with a compilation of terrible McDonald’s reviews. In 2013 JPMorgan received backlash with their#AskJPM, which was subjected to an almost identical public reaction to that of #AskSeaWorld. People brought up the ethics of the company and basically turned the hashtag into a joke.

Hopefully SeaWorld thinks deeply about their future social media exploits and maybe does some homework about what makes an online campaign successful. When using an interactive, online platform you open yourself up to criticisms and you have to be prepared to handle them effectively. In this case, ignoring them is probably not the best route. Neither is name calling. Although we have yet to see how the new campaign will influence the parks revenues for this year, I think it’s safe to say that #AskSeaWorld hasn’t helped much. The other aspects of the campaign seem to be faring better. The TV campaigns are airing all over the country and the print ads are featured in The New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal and Orlando Sentinel.

Guest contributor Ally Mann is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter: @AllyManneray

seaworld

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Younger viewers replace live TV with Netflix

 
netflix

In a very short time, online TV sources have become more common than not: More than three fourths of TV consumers watch online to some extent, and the average pay TV customer uses two or more online TV sources in addition to their cable subscription. So now that viewers have multiple options to choose from, which sources are emerging as the TV “default”—the first source they turn on when they want to watch TV?

The latest wave of Hub Entertainment Research’s Decoding the Default study reveals important shifts in consumers’ go-to source for TV content. Among those who watch at least some online TV content:

  • Live TV is still the single most common default source: 34% say live TV is the first thing they turn on when they want to watch—higher than any other platform.
  • However, that share is dropping significantly: In 2013, 50% of viewers named live TV as their default—16 points higher than this year.
  • Online sources now account for as much share-of-viewing as live TV and DVR, combined. Across users of all TV platforms, viewers allocate 32% of their total TV viewing to live TV (down from 41% in 2013) and 15% to shows on their DVR (down from 21% in 2013). Online platforms now account for 46% of all viewing time (up from 34% in 2013).
  • Among young viewers, online sources have replaced live shows as the “home base” for TV.
    •  40% of viewers age 16-24 use Netflix as their home base. Only 26% default to live TV.
    • Millennials (age 18-34) are equally likely to default to live TV (33%) and Netflix (31%)

Online platforms have become the default in what some might consider the most valuable viewing scenarios. Among those who watch any online content:

  • Live TV is still the go-to source for channel-surfing scenarios.
    • “When I don’t have anything specific in mind, I just want to watch something”: 40% of viewers say that live TV is their default source, vs. only 27% who say Netflix.
    • “When I want a TV show on in the background while I do other things”: Half (50%) of consumers say live TV is their default, and only 15% say Netflix.
  • But Netflix is now the most common default source for engaged TV viewing
    • “When I have a specific show in mind I want to watch”: 26% say their default source in this scenario is Netflix, vs. just 15% who say live TV.
    • This is a reversal from how consumers answered the same scenario in 2013 (Live TV 29%, and Netflix 18%)
    • “When I want to focus on what I’m watching without any distractions”: More than a quarter (26%) of all viewers say they default to Netflix in this situation, vs. only 20% who say Live TV.
    • Again, just two years ago, highly focused viewing was Live TV’s territory: 26% named it as their default, vs. just 19% who defaulted to Netflix.

“A change in default sources is not the same as completely cutting a pay TV provider,” said John Giegengack, principal at Hub and one of the authors of the study, in a news release. “However we think it’s an important psychological threshold. People love choice—but when it comes to TV, there are more alternative sources than any one person could use. They crave a home base, and the position of ‘first source turned on’ will be an increasingly enviable one as the market evolves.”

“It’s important to note that along with an overall decline as consumers’ go-to viewing source, Live TV is losing ground in what one might argue are the more valuable viewing occasions,” added Peter Fondulas, principal atHub, in the release. “The shows where people are most engaged, vs. the occasions when they’re just looking for something to have on in the background.”
“Decoding the Default” is a tracking study from Hub Research. The 2015 survey included 1,200 US TV viewers with broadband, ages 16 to 74. (Comparisons to 2013 findings are among viewers who watch at least some online content, age 18-54.) The data was released in July 2015.

Source: PRWeb; edited by Richard Carufel

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What makes a good media interview?

mediainterview

In business, when success comes knocking, so do the reporters. Speaking to the media is an art, and even the most seasoned executives have turned simple interviews into corporate nightmares.

The truth is there’s no such thing as a casual interview—but the best interviews are the ones that appear casual. Behind the scenes, there’s research, practice, anticipation, and a little strategy.

Have a date with a reporter? Here are five things to consider first.

  • Journalists do their research…and so should you. You need context. Look at past interviews the reporter has done and get familiar with their style. What is their tone—lighthearted or serious? What is their outlet’s ‘slant’? Who is their audience? Why do they want to interview you?
  • Define your key messages. You need to anticipate what you’re going to be asked so you can have an articulate answer ready. ‘Key talking points’ should be well thought out, consistent, and tied to your company’s core values. Think like a journalist and identify some short and sweet quotes that would make excellent sound bites. Don’t hijack the interview because you’re itching to spit out all your points; really listen to the questions and work in your key messages in a way that appears seamless. Not sure how to do this? ‘Bridging statements’ can help you move the interview back into territory you want to cover.
  • Do an inventory of your weaknesses. What is the worst thing this reporter could ask you and how will you respond? If your company has recently undergone anything close to a crisis (or if there might be trouble ahead), you need to hire a media trainer to help you prepare for interactions with the press so you can get on the right side of the narrative.
  • Practicebut don’t sound rehearsed. Back to that whole art thing. The best interviews read like a really good conversation: give and take, humour when appropriate, and the feeling that you are connecting with an authentic person; your likeability will hinge primarily on the latter. If you don’t have a media coach and you’re new to this, try to find a friend in the business who you can practice with. Rambling, lack of clarity, awkward body language—give them the green light to be ruthless.
  • Think before you speak. Obvious? In theory. When nerves kick in, common sense can go out the window. Don’t comment on deals where the ink hasn’t yet dried, don’t say anything that could negatively impact your brand, and don’t assume sarcasm is going to translate to the page. It is important to note that not all journalists honour “off the record” comments. Play it safe—if you don’t want to read it in print, don’t say it.
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Social media continues to help journalists improve productivity and communication with PR pros

 
social media

PR pros have certainly embraced social media as a tool for communicating directly with clients’ (and their own) audiences over the years, and social has slowly but surely become a reliable way for PR to perform media outreach and even pitch stories to journalists. If anything, those elusive media scribes have been slow to accept social media as a bona fide PR conduit (and for good reason—lots of social babble is clearly unfounded and, from a reporter’s perspective, often a string of un-credible dead ends), but new research shows that many journalists are not only socially active, but downright dependent on Twitter and its brethren to get their jobs done.

Findings from a newly released media intelligence report underscore journalists’ increased usage of social media, and show a noticeable maturation in their reliance on them medium. The international report analyzes how journalists across six countries—United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Sweden and Australia—use social media to improve productivity and better communicate with PR professionals.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • More than half (51 percent) of journalists report they would be unable to do their job without social media
  • Fifty-seven percent of journalists agree that social media has improved their productivity
  • Sixty-seven percent of journalists are spending up to two hours a day on social media, up from 38 percent in 2012
  • Twitter and Facebook are the most widely used social platforms among journalists, but their levels of popularity vary among the countries surveyed
  • U.S. and U.K. journalists rely on social media for publishing and promoting their own content, while the other countries cite sourcing as their top reason for usage
  • The majority of journalists, including 58 percent of U.S. journalists, express data security and privacy concerns as a result of increased social media use
  • Journalists in English-speaking countries are more interactive and create more social media content than those in non-English speaking countries

“This data confirms the mission-critical nature of social media and its ever-growing popularity for journalism,” said Valerie Lopez, vice president of media research at Cision, a co-partner of the study with Canterbury Christ Church University, according to a news release. “Whether it’s used to improve research, streamline communication with potential sources, or further develop story ideas, social media has clearly become integral to journalists’ daily work and responsibilities.”

The study also examined the evolving relationship between PR practitioners and journalists, showing a favorable change in communication practices. PR professionals are increasingly communicating with journalists through social media, with 23 percent pitching stories on social platforms, a 28 percent year-over-year increase. This shift matches the changing preferences of reporters. Other key findings include:

  • U.S. journalists list PR contacts as their second most important source for information, the first being expert sources
  • The majority of reporters, including 58 percent of U.S. journalists, are happy with their relationships with PR practitioners
  • U.S. journalists’ top three methods of contact include email (84 percent), social media (33 percent) and telephone (15 percent)

This study was based on more than 3,000 responses from journalists and media professionals. Throughout the survey, the term “journalist” is used to include all media professionals (e.g. reporters, researchers, editors, etc.) who took part.

Source: PRWeb; edited by Richard Carufel

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Amazing Race Canada, Season 3 Ep. 3: Buenos Aires — Home of futbol, the tango, and… Mentos?

 
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Spoiler Alert

On this week’s episode of Amazing Race Canada, contestants flew from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The show saw a 10.5-per-cent increase in social media activity compared to last week’s episode.

In last week’s post, we speculated the Amazing Race Canada is facing competition for eyeballs from the Pan Am Games. In that respect, a 10.5 per cent increase is very positive for the show — especially since Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse was competing for gold in the 100 metres around the same time. The men’s 100 metres is the marquee event of the Pan Am Games.

Canada also played Argentina in men’s basketball the same day of the show’s airing.

That said, compared to last year’s episode three Twitter interaction was down 27.4 per cent. Still, viewer engagement is increasing. Hopefully that trend continues with next week’s episode, as the contestants head back to Canada to race around Halifax, NS. In the past, fans of the show have reacted very positively to Canadian destinations. Most of the improvement for week three was around task or roadblock engagement. The most popular sport in Argentina is soccer — or what the Argentines refer to as futbol — so it makes sense that the blind soccer event was the most popular roadblock with viewers on Twitter (the frustration of some of the teams probably didn’t hurt, either) . The roadblock tasked contestants to maneuver a ball through pylons and score while blindfolded. Many tweets mentioned the creativity of some contestants overcoming the challenge by hopping with the ball between their legs, which was originally initiated by wrestlers and fan favorites Nick Foti and Matt Giunta.  

 
The roadblock built around Argentina’s national dance, the tango, was the next most popular followed by the Mentos candy task. Candy manufacturer Perfetti Van Melle certainly enjoyed some valuable brand placement (Mentos were also featured in a task in last year’s season, as well).  
 

When it comes to share of voice for contestants, Nick and Matt are emerging as this year’s consistent fan favourites along with fellow contestants Hamilton Elliott and Michaelia Drever, who are also developing a solid following.

But as in previous years, winning has proven to be the great equalizer, as demonstrated by father-and-daughter team Neil and Kristin Lumsden who won this week’s leg (and finished with the second most Twitter mentions behind Nick and Matt).

 

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MediaMiser actively blogs about the Amazing Race Canada and leverages MediaMiser solutions to compile analysis on the show.

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