Category Archives: Public Relations

Rebooting Your Content for a Mobile World

Several weeks ago I attended the 2012 Content Marketing World conference in Columbus, Ohio. It was packed full of great information, and for the first time at a conference, I live tweeted from each of the dozen or so talks I attended instead of taking notes on paper. My tweets can speak better (and more quickly) than any blog post can, so for the next several posts, I’ll share my takeaways from the conference, via tweets.

First up: the opening keynote session with Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation and the upcoming CTRL ALT DEL, to be published in spring 2013. His talk was titled “How to Reboot Your Content for a Mobile World.”

(As on Twitter, the earliest tweets are at the bottom.)

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10 of the top PR blunders of 2012, so far

Related post: FOND MEMORIES: PR OOPSIES OF 2011

PRNews just published a fun story, PR News Hotlist: Top 10 PR Blunders of 2012, Part 1. It was a cringe-worthy journey down memory lane. I hadn’t thought about some of these in a while; everything else is being drowned out by all the Chick-fil-A clucking (ha! sorry) going on.

Lists like this open the discussion about whether social media is PR. Many of these blunders on the list began as social media gaffes, which then created the need for PR. An Olympian tweeting something controversial is way different than Komen revoking financial support of Planned Parenthood. Does it all fall under the PR umbrella?

I can’t wait to see Part 2 of this list, which I know will include one of my favorite PR oopies of this year so far: Spain finds out about their king’s expensive elephant-hunting trip. So, big deal, king’s need vacays. Wellll. He was also the honorary president of World Wildlife Federation of Spain, and the country is in its worst fiscal shape in a long time. It made me laugh every time I heard the story on NPR. Which was often.

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14 interview tips for print, TV and radio

Whether you’re preparing for a big interview, or your client is, or you need to train someone on how to be interviewed by the media, here are some tips to help make it as good as possible.

1) Always speak clearly and simply. Don’t use science or technology (or whatever field you’re in) jargon. Pretend like you’re explaining something to a third grader.

2) Find the time (if possible) to outline what points you want to say or answers to questions you anticipate. Write down everything you’d like to give in a response, then go back and edit it down to its simplest and shortest form.

3) We all goof up. If you realize you’ve accidentally said something incorrectly, offer correct information as soon as you realize what you’ve done. This isn’t as easy if you’re being interviewed live on television, so don’t lose your cool. But admitting you made a mistake is much better than letting the wrong information spread into public knowledge.

4) Never assume. If you’re being interviewed for an article, and you think the reporter has heard something incorrectly or you can sense there’s a misunderstanding of something, provide another, better explanation.

5) Follow-up is key. If you promise you’ll get back with the reporter with extra information, find out her/his deadline and get it there well before that.

6) It might sound like a no-brainer, but when you’re preparing for a television interview, know whether it’s going to air live or taped. Then enjoy feeling a little more at ease if it’s taped.

7) If you’re not accustomed to doing television or radio interviews, record yourself speaking so you know what thousands (millions?) of others are going to hear. If you’re happy with what you hear, that’s great. If you’re terrorized by the sound of your own voice, then work on it.

8) Speak simply and clearly. Again, record yourself practicing your answers, so you can determine if you need to slow down or speed up or enunciate. Nerves make us talk faster. (Avoid being over-caffeinated pre-interview!)

9) Know what your body does when you’re talking. Be aware of your gestures. Make sure they look natural. Don’t flail those arms.

10) Find out ahead of time, for a television interview, if you’ll be standing or sitting, inside or outside. Then dress and style accordingly. (No short skirts if you’re sitting; tie your hair back if you’re outside so you won’t be fidgeting with blowing hair while on camera; don’t wear white socks with sandals; don’t wear a shirt or skirt that’s too tight when you sit down.)

11) Make sure and ask where to look. Usually you look at the reporter, not the camera.

12) Be aware of your fidgets and don’t do them. (Playing with fingernails, biting inside of mouth, playing with your hair.)

13) For radio, know what type of format the program is: if it’s a hard news story, your interview will probably be brief and full of sound bites. For a talk-show format, you may need to fill 15-30 minutes with content. Make sure to be able to fill that time.

14) If you’re giving a radio interview by phone, stand up while talking! (Same works for phone job interviews.) It makes you more alert and helps your voice to carry clear and strong. Trust me, it’s obvious if you’re lying on the couch with your hand in a bag of Fritos.

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No Cards cover? Yikes, Sports Illustrated.

Update: As of 9:50 am 3:45 pm Friday, March 30, SI’s Facebook page still hasn’t officially said anything about the covers. Others, though, have posted on their wall, expressing their discontent. Many Louisville fans have said they’re canceling their subscriptions. Where are you on this, SI? There’s even a someecards about this!

The web is was abuzz this afternoon yesterday with the breaking news that Sports Illustrated created different covers to celebrate the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Final Four teams. Except there are three covers…and, well, four teams. The University of Louisville got left out.

[Disclaimer: I live in Kentucky, and I’m a U of L fan.]

That said: Come on, SI! The huge PR no no is that there’s no communication around this. As Eric Crawford (@ericcrawford), the Louisville Courier-Journal‘s sports columnist, blogged today March 29, yes, it’s in part a logistical and financial decision. SI publishes different covers for various U.S. regions with each issue (plus a national one), and “producing two covers for one region…really isn’t a good move financially.”

Why not combine the two teams on one cover? That seems like the logical solution if we’re looking at this in financial and logistical terms. Crawford agrees, as do a lot of folks on social media.

One tweeter captures my sentiments: “I think It’s pretty disrespectful to not have Louisville at least on the cover with Ky. Your marketing department dropped the ball.”

If you’re wondering why “Louisville” and “cover” are bolded, it’s because that’s the search term I used on Twitter to learn more about this. Hopefully, SI’s communication team is doing the same right now. A lot of tweets were found with those search terms.

Interestingly, as of 3:06 pm this afternoon, SI hasn’t address this issue on their Facebook or Twitter accounts. I’m sure (I hope) that’ll change soon.

Back to solutions: Why not bite the financial bullet, and produce two covers for one region? SI understands and appreciates the historic significance of the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville rivalry and the importance of this Final Four match up (check out their story about it). There wouldn’t be any magazines left on newsstands across the state.

It’s hard to say why SI made this decision. It would be fascinating to know what went on during the editorial meeting where this was decided.

At the very least, SI’s media relations and social media folks need to be responding asap to what’s happening on the web right now. A #boycottSI hashtag isn’t a good way to go into this basketball weekend.

P.S.: Good article on this from The Bleacher Report.

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So you want to change careers to PR? Some helpful resources

Recently, a colleague asked if I would sit down with his daughter and talk to her about what I do: marketing, social media, public relations. She’s looking to change careers: this field intrigues her, and she has some entry-level experience. Of course I said yes!

In addition to telling her about my background, my experience, and the ins and outs of what I currently do, I gave her some resources. And I want to share those here:

The night before we talked, I made some notes of points I definitely wanted to touch upon. One thing I knew without hesitation was that she would be the proud recipient of my copy of David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of Marketing and PR (2011 third edition). I told her: read this book, if you don’t get excited or intrigued about what’s being talked about, this isn’t the field for you.

I also recommended subscribing to resources from Ragan.comSmartbrief on Social Media, PR Wise group on LinkedIn, and The Skinny from PR News.

What else would you recommend for her?

Related posts:
So you want to study PR? Tips for college students

So you want to be in PR? Tips for soon-to-be college graduates

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