Monday, March 4, 2013

Tips From The Newsroom - Part 2

So ..... you read my previous post about press release tips from the newsroom. Right?

Oh, you haven't read it yet? Well, go here and I will wait!

OK. Glad to see you back.

Now what?

So I want to give you a few things you can do NOW to help you actually take action.

1. Research
It is really important for you to do this step before doing anything else. You need to know who you need to talk to and what station, show, magazine, newspaper or website  is the right fit for you. Do your research. Getting the right fit will be the best way to ensure success.

There is another part of this step that is really important and that is staying informed. I hear so many people who say they don't watch or listen to the news and that is just crazy to me ( I will have a whole blog post about this coming up soon. Stay tuned for that). You need to know what is happening in the world, in your country, in your community in order to know when you need to get out there and speak up about your product or service. Information is the key here.

2. Make Contact
This is obviously an important step and can really be the one people fear the most. It is important for you to make contact with someone in the newsroom, at the show or website you are interested in. This step is easier now than ever before. Hit Twitter or Facebook and start searching and then make contact. Just send a short hello, short and sweet.

3. Build A Relationship
This step is where you move beyond hello. Start up a conversation on Twitter or Facebook. Introduce yourself and ask if you can email them sometime at work. Work at building a relationship so that when you do send something like a press release or want to set up an interview you can do it with some ease because you know each other.

4. Do Something... NOW!
This step kind of speaks for itself really! It is important to take those contacts and relationships and do something with them. Send the press release. Make the phone call. Offer yourself up for an interview on a particular topic, issue or product. Just do it!

5. Follow Up
This is just as important as all the other steps. There is no point in making contacts and building relationships in the media industry if all you are going to do is one hit. Make sure you follow up. Send a note to thank them for their time. Make sure to say you would love to connect again, could you send them emails from time to time. Don't let the connection die. Follow Up

Let me know how you do! Connect with me, build a relationship and follow up!

Monday, February 25, 2013

It Is All About the Performance

Whether you are already on air in the media or you are a business owner, blogger or author who is currently speaking to groups ( or soon plans to ) there are always a few things to keep in mind when you are putting your voice out there to the world. Performance is everything. Have a great one and people will think you have done a great job and remember you for your poise, presence and performance. Have a bad performance and people will remember you for that and that is likely not how you want people to remember you. You would rather have people remember you for your talent, your skill, your poise, your professionalism but a bad performance over shadows all that.

There are a few things you can do to pull off a flawless performance.

1. Know Your Stuff
No matter who you are it is important to actually know what you are talking about BEFORE you start talking to others about it. Be prepared. Do a little research before you actually get out in front of people.

2.  Keep Cards
Cue cards can really help to keep you on message. It is all part of the prep process. If you write down a few key points on some cue cards they will be easy to refer to just before the interview or speech. Keep the cards short and sweet and only for a quick reference just in case!

3. Practice
If you are speaking to a group or doing a media interview, practice what you plan to say. If you need, practice with family or friends. You can also record what you plan to say (audio, video or both) and then play it back to yourself just so you can hear how you sound. It can really help to eliminate some things you are doing you might not even know you do  like mannerisms, a funky tone in your voice or the over-use of words like "um", "eh").

4. Relax
It is really important to be calm. If you get too stressed out you will likely have a less than perfect performance. Do what ever you need to do to relax ahead of the speech, interview or panel. Sometimes taking a walk or meditating helps to shake off the nerves.

5. Think About It
Be mindful of what you are saying and how you are saying it. It can help you slow down, stop you from rambling and keep you on point and message.

6. When In Doubt...Pause
This is one of the things I tell my students. Sometimes it is better to just stop talking. This is a good tip especially when you feel you are rambling or straying off message or just stumbling and adding a lot of "ums". Just pause, collect your thoughts and pick up where you left off. Of course, if you are live on television or radio or in front of a crowd it should be noted we are talking about a very brief pause, we are talking a second or two not a minute or two. It shouldn't be long enough to make people notice.

What do you do to make sure you have a perfect performance? I would love to here your thoughts and advice.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Press Release Tips .... from the newsroom

So you have a great company, product, service or story and you want to share it with the world. And you think you want to send out press releases to all the news organizations all across the city. How do you get noticed? How do you make it past the pile of press releases, emails and stories?

You have to think outside the box a bit. By that I mean you need to make sure you are making yourself  stand out, making sure your release stands out.

Here are just five tips I think might help....

1. Keep it simple
Don't send a two page, dense news release. I likely won't have time to read it, nor will I have the interest. Keep it simple and brief (especially if it is first contact. Send me a longer release once I am interested).

2. Write a great headline and/or opening sentence
Think about what is great about your product, service, company and tell me about it right off the top so I don't have to go searching for it.

3. Give it a HOOK
The best way for me to notice your product, service, company or story is make me care about it. To do that hook it to something happening in the news. For example, March break is approaching and that means lots of families will be traveling with kids on vacation AND you have a service, book or blog that focuses on travel or traveling with kids, so send me a quick release on some news-you-can-use tips on how to travel stress free.

4. Keep in touch BUT don't be a pest
Keep in mind that in my case our newsroom is a busy place and the news is always changing so I might not have time to get in touch on a Wednesday but maybe I will on Friday. So make sure you keep in touch with a quick email, maybe say you will check in with my on Thursday night for a quick phone call.

5. Try, and try ... and then try again.
 Just remember if you are reaching out to a busy newsroom  you might get bumped for news of the day if your story is something that can wait. Don't get discouraged. Sometimes the timing isn't right but if you keep in touch with me I will likely find time and room for it again soon. If I liked it the first time I will like it later.

***disclaimer: These tips are from my own experiences and my own opinions. There are lots of newsrooms and lots of different media outlets that have different criteria for story selection. Sometimes ( well actually a lot of the time) how we choose stories is completely personal and specifically tailored to the show and station we work for so what isn't right for me, could be perfect for someone else.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Want to be on camera?

One of the thing that comes up  every once in a while with bloggers is this idea of being an expert in their field and talking to the media about their specific topic of expertise. I often see people on T.V or hear them on the radio and just cringe. There is something to be said for a little bit of media training or coaching. I think there are  a few things to keep in mind before you open your mouth to speak.

1. K.I.S.S: Keep It Simple Stupid.
*don't get too complicated.
*remember you need to talk to a wider audience that might not know anything about you, your product or service.
* if you keep it conversational then you will ensure you are telling your story in a way everyone will understand

2. Slow Down:
*this is something that seems easy but can actually be very difficult to do when the camera or microphone is right in your face.
*many people have a tendency to speed up when the talk to the media, so pace yourself.
*prepare for your media spot by jotting down a few key points on some cue cards you can review before you get on set and that way you will have a guideline for the discussion in your mind. This step will help you pace yourself and keep the nerves at a minimum because you KNOW what you want to say.

3: Think Before You Speak:
*those cue cards will help you here too! Think about what you are going to say, often times people ramble when they are in the spot light. If you just take a second or two to think before you answer a question you are more likely to say what you want to say.
*Be prepared.

4: Be Yourself:
*this is the best way to come across as a genuine expert.

5: Relax:
*don't get too stressed out ( O.K. easier said than done sometimes)
*enjoy the spot light.
*you are in the chair because the person interviewing you ( or the show)  feels that you have something valuable to say so go with it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tweet With News In MIND!

 So the story below is clear example of why it is really important for your people, especially the people who tweet for you, to pay attention to the news. There are often stories in the news that could impact how, when and why you tweet a particular link, story or comment. Keep those things in mind when you are tweeting to your community.

President's Choice apologizes for 'insensitive' hurricane Sandy tweet
    TORONTO - President's Choice has apologized for an ``insensitive'' tweet about hurricane Sandy that has left many Canadians with a bad taste.
    The private label of Loblaw (TSX:L), posted Tuesday: ``What's scarier? Hurricane #Sandy or a beverage with marshmallow eyeballs?''
    It linked to a recipe for ``marshmallow bloodshot eyeballs,'' which suggests cutting marshmallows in half and putting a grape or blueberry in the middle to make it look like an eyeball.
    The account was flooded with replies criticizing the tweet as ``awful'' and ``tasteless'' for making light of a storm that killed more than 100 people, including a woman in Toronto.
    Millions of people remain without power and transit in the U.S. and in Canada the storm at its height left more than 200,000 customers in the dark.
    President's Choice tweeted again about an hour later to say it was sorry.
    (The Canadian Press)

Sometimes it is just better to wait. Or sometimes it is better just to abandoned the tweet all together.  Make sure you are talking to your team about keeping in tune with current affairs, news and events happening around the world.

What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

ShesConnected 2012 Panel Presentation

As promised .... the ShesConnected Presentation.

I want to say thanks to the lovely ladies who joined me to talk about how to write great posts! @SarahKelsey, Nadine Anglin @nsharona  and Mara Shapiro @ChickyMara I think it was a great collaboration. I also want to say thanks to Mara Shapiro aka @ChickyMara ... for being my new friend and for posting the presentation on slideshare!

There is nothing better than sharing ideas and that is what I love about conferences like ShesConnected 2012. Can't wait to share more tips, tricks and tools about writing and the media.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Guardian - a great video

"This advert for the Guardian's open journalism, screened for the first time on 29 February 2012, imagines how we might cover the story of the Three Little Pigs in print and online. Follow the story from the paper's front page headline, through a social media discussion and finally to an unexpected conclusion."