The importance of a good television interview cannot be overstated. Everyone knows the power of television and that it often reaches far more people than other media forms. In addition, a television interview can be repurposed for online marketing and social media outlets. With advances in technology, more television interviews, especially on networks and affiliates in major cities are being conducted via Skype. For the television networks and stations this cuts down on production costs. For the interviewee it means more preparation for the interview.
Here are some things to consider when doing a Skype interview:
- Check Your Connection– Test your Wifi connection in advance. Make sure that it working and that signal is strong.
- Make Sure Your Video Is On – The worst thing that can happen on a Skype interview is for the video not to be working.
- Consider Your Background– Keep it simple and branded, if possible. A background with the company logo is perfect. Also blue and green backgrounds are ideal. Avoid red backgrounds.
- Avoid Bare Walls– Add visual interest, but be relevant to the topic at hand. Bookshelves are always a nice touch.
- Secure Your Location; Lock the Door– Make sure no one interrupts you during the interview.
- Wear Solid Colors– Busy patterns move and jump on camera. Dress just as you would if you were in studio.
- Look Into The Webcam– Look at the viewer; not yourself. This is critical as you want to come across to viewers as direct and as if you were in the studio.
- Create Space; Sit Back– Don’t get too close to the webcam.
- Center Yourself– Be sure you are in the center of the screen.
- Check Your Lighting– Make sure you are well-lit and not in shadow. At the same time don’t overdo it. Shut any blinds or curtains to avoid any sun glare.
- Turn Off All Notifications– You don’t want your inbox pinging you or sounds going off that will disrupt your flow and distract the audience.
- Use a Professional Skype Name– Remember this is how the television station or network will contact you. You want your name to reflect you and your brand. Avoid Skype names like Partyanimal or OnforaBuzz.
Skype interviews are the way all of television is headed. By following these simple rules you will guarantee yourself a successful interview that will reach potential customers and be able to be utilized on social media channels.
Business leaders know that their companies need public relations. It increases a company’s visibility, assists in marketing efforts to increase profits, and helps establish a strong brand identity in the market. Regardless of size or type of business, public relations is essential to any business.
The benefits of public relations for business success are immeasurable. Among the benefits are:
- Today’s consumer is more savvy than ever before. They start their search for a product or service online. Not only do they check a company’s website, but they search social media, reviews, and news stories about the business. With public relations, companies have a strong social media presence as well as credibility through media stories about the company and its products and services.
- Brand Identity. Public relations creates brand identity with the public. This is done through media relations, social media, community relations, and other public relations tools. This means that that the consumer is aware of the company and what its brand stands for in terms of values and service (and today many consumers search for brands that share their values).
- Public relations doesn’t equal sales. What it does is reinforce marketing efforts. Studies show that companies that use public relations see an increase in the success of their marketing efforts by 45%. Don’t just take our word for it though, recall what Bill Gates said, “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.”
Public relations is critical to business success and growth. Every company needs a public relations strategy and needs to keep it continuous to reap the benefits.
Brands know that public relations is essential to success. It develops brand identity and reinforces ongoing marketing efforts. But to see strong success from public relations, certain elements must be in place.
What elements are critical and need to be in place for successful public relations?
- Effective Website: People need to be able to find you after they hear about you. Beyond that, when people land on your website, are they taking the action you want them? Your website needs to be designed for that. And this should go without saying, your website needs to be friendly on all devices.
- Powerful Call-To-Action: Your website needs to have a clear call-to-action allowing you to capture email addresses of those who come on it. It should offer an incentive that corresponds to your public relations message in exchange for that valuable contact information. Without effective lead capture, you’re missing out on all potential leads the public relations sends your way.
- Social Media Presence: The key to effectively using the public relations you have obtained is by promoting it. In this day and age, that means promoting the message on all social media platforms. You should have a strong, clear, and active social media platform with an engaged community when doing a public relations campaign.
Without these key elements in place when doing a public relations campaign, public relations is like striking it rich at the lottery. With these elements, public relations brings a strong return on investment not merely for brand identity but sales.
It cannot be stressed enough that any good public relations strategy should include a crisis communications plan. Too often brands and companies overlook this and when a disaster strikes, they are caught unprepared. One aspect of a crisis communications plan is determining who should be called in and consulted when the crisis hits and a response is needed.
So to paraphrase the movie, Ghostbusters, ‘who are you gonna call’ when a crisis strikes?
- The CEO/President – As Harry Truman famously said, “the buck stops here”, and that is particularly true during a crisis. The CEO/President is the public face of the company during a crisis. They set the public tone for the organization.
- General Counsel/Organization Attorney – A crisis often involves a legal issue. Any response during the crisis could have legal implications. A lawyer is essential to review and answer these questions.
- Company Communications Officer – This is the internal communications specialist who knows the company’s brand story and values. This person will work to ensure the company response corresponds with them and includes both internal and external audiences.
- Human Resources Officer – A crisis affects an organization’s employees. This person helps make sure that proper information is relayed to employees during the crisis and helps address any misinformation and concerns among employees.
- Social Media Officer – A major mistake many companies make during a crisis is forgetting to have a response on social media and to monitor social media. This person ensures that the social media response is consistent with the traditional media response.
- Outside Public Relations – This is an outside public relations professional who brings an outside and objective perspective to the crisis.
Identifying all the key players that are needed within the organization is essential for a cohesive crisis communications response when disaster strikes. Far too often, organizations waste precious time during a crisis in identifying what personnel are needed for the crisis.
Media interviews are a part of the media relations component of a public relations and branding campaign. It involves working with the media for the purpose of informing the public of an organization’s mission, policies, and practices in a positive, consistent, and credible manner. Positive media coverage reinforces and builds greater brand identity, creates a positive feeling among consumers, and helps build a reservoir of goodwill in case of negative news stories.
When doing a media interview, it essential to remember a few key points:
- Even in a positive story never consider the reporter as a friend.
- Nothing is ever off the record.
- Reporters will often record an interview. Sometimes they will tell the subject. Other times they will not. Some reporters use their smartphones without ever telling the subject.
- A smart rule is to make your own recording. If something is misquoted or taken out of context you have the response ready to rebut.
- You know far more about the subject than the reporter does. Most reporters do minimal research. They often get story ideas from social media, tips, or pitches from PR people. They are interviewing you as the expert.
- Never lie to a reporter.
- If you don’t have an answer readily available tell the reporter that and then get the answer as soon as possible.
- Make sure if a reporter is doing a story that they have all of your contact information.
Successful media interviews go a long way in establishing a positive brand reputation. Just like anything it takes practice and discipline to be successful.
A press release is an announcement of certain news – a product launch, book release, special event, or promotion. It is written to receive media mention. The headline needs to be written in a way that commands attention but isn’t seen as a sales gimmick. The first paragraph of the press release is the most critical. That paragraph should be the guts of the press release with the who, what, when, where, and why in it. With cutbacks in the media it is usually the first paragraph that gets picked up if any of the press release is picked up. After that first paragraph there should be a quote and some follow-up information included, as well as a link to the website from the business, non-profit, or author the press release is coming from. More and more press releases are being used for a viral affect with social media and free online press websites available to post a press release.
For years, businesses have known that a crisis could arise from an accident, product defect, or random statement by a company spokesperson. Now in this highly polarized political environment many businesses are finding that a crisis can arise from advertising on a polarizing show or sponsoring events that are politically charged. Social media not only goes after shows or events they consider wrong but against the advertisers and sponsors. Just see how JP Morgan Chase was forced to temporarily halt their ads on NBC News because of the Megan Kelly interview with Alex Jones or the hits that Bill O’Reilly’s advertisers took before they pulled their advertising. As a result, businesses are being forced to rethink their approach to crisis communications.
So what should businesses be doing in this new era of political divisiveness and crisis communications?
- Do a risk analysis of all sponsorships and advertising that could potentially cause a public backlash among the right or left. In this analysis review all social media and traditional media mentions.
- Develop a prepared response in case your businesses is targeted because of its various sponsorships and advertising, and have it ready.
- Engage with activists on social media. Remember, that social media drives narratives not merely on social media but in traditional media as well.
- Remember all of your audiences – internal and external.
- Stay consistent on the message and response that you have decided for your business.
In today’s charged environment anything can cause a crisis for businesses. More and more many businesses are finding themselves in a crisis due to indirect association. That is why crisis communications is more essential than ever before in any overall public relations plan.