A few entrepreneurs might dismiss media training, believing that they are great public speakers. And that may be the case. But speaking with reporters requires a much different approach and style than holding a conversation with your friends. Your friends will be more generous with your time, allowing you to meander from thought-to-thought.
It doesn’t work like that with the media. You need to be tight on messaging. If you veer from the story line, many reporters will tune out. It’s even more paramount to stick to the script when speaking on live TV.
During my time as a producer for NBC and CBS, I had to listen and log many interviews that went off track. The subject veered to a different topic, taking double the amount of time as I listened to it in person and on tape. As I became more experienced, I brought the interview subject back to the story. But in today’s world of journalism – where reporters are younger and younger – you might not get the chance to get guidance from the producer.
I wrote a story for Forbes last year, outlining the 5 biggest mistakes I saw leaders make during media interviews. You can read that story here, but if you’re short on time, here’s an outline of the tips.
Are you a nutritionist or health brand looking for more exposure? The WSJ has a great story today that will help any lifestyle or health brand leverage the news cycle for coverage.
Even if your brand is not listed in this article, a story like this provides new opportunities to position a nutritionist, dietitian and weight loss brand into the news cycle. Sure, most consumers know ultra processed foods can lead to obesity, weight gain and other health conditions. But the real PR insight from a story like this comes from calling out popular food brands and providing detailed insight on what is wrong or right with the food. The WSJ reporter did a great job of doing this. (That’s what got my attention. I saw my son’s favorite Ritz crackers in the photo).
So how do you sell your health brand to reporters, producers or editors with a story like this?
For small businesses and startups, public relations (PR) is one of the most important tools to develop a reputation that drives sales.
PR helps with business development by elevating the brand of your company, shaping public opinion in a positive way and scaling your business message with the media. When you’ve got the right PR strategy in place, it will boost your business in a number of ways.
So what should you budget for public relations? And how can you start working towards getting the benefits it can offer your business? MACIAS PR created a calculator to help you identify the budget for your startup or established business. You can calculate the potential rate by clicking here, and get an answer back from our team.
How do you know if a PR campaign is effective? I hear this question a lot from potential clients. Contrary to what many people might believe, there are several ways to evaluate the performance of your PR agency. (You can read more on that with this blog How to Measure the ROI of PR).
If you’re short on time, here’s a quick summary to measure the effectiveness of a media campaign.
Number of Targeted Media Placements
Demographics and Readers for those Media Outlets
Actual Sales, which can be measured through analytics.
Improved SEO – since search engines use news stories and blogger stories to measure the value of a website.
There is another way to measure the ROI of PR that is frequently overlooked. It’s more difficult to quantify than Google Analytics but according to researchers out of Motista – a consumer intelligence analytics firm – it’s actually more persuasive and leads to higher revenue for brands. This is where the art of PR contrasts with the science of data.
Imagine if you could have learned two years ago what your youngest workforce wanted when it came to office life.
In 2021, MACIAS PR partnered with the news portal, Brooklyn Chatter, to get a better understanding of how their readers feel about life and work. It was a prescient view of what motivates Generation Z, especially since more recent surveys have revealed similar behavioral patterns.
MACIAS PR conducted the survey from March 18 to 29th, 2021, and involved 2,240 Americans, ages 18 to 24. Participants answered online questions spread across partnered news sites and popular Gen. Z groups, including Her Campus, Gals in Journalism and the Young Journalist Community.
The data found Gen. Z doesn’t want to work remotely and would prefer to split their time between an office and a remote location. And in a more shocking discovery, only 2 percent said they wanted to continue working remotely full-time.
More than half – 52 percent – said they wanted to split their work time between the office and home. Roughly 27 percent of Gen. Z participants said they wanted to spend all 40-hours at the office.
Targeted surveys like this can give companies data-driven insight into the behavior patterns of customers, helping them make more informed decisions. In the case with Brooklyn Chatter, it helped the news portal learn more about what their readers wanted to follow.
Every business owner wants to get their story on their business. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula that reveals how to get news coverage, but there is a blueprint that can increase your chances for media placements.
As Executive Producer with NBC in New York, I approved story ideas from reporters, publicists and producers. Sometimes, stories were approved but later killed for various reasons.
Other times, I killed a story because it lacked visuals or had outdated information. The approval process in news is subjective, just like any other profession involving creativity, opinions and experiences. So if you get a bite from the media, move fast and don’t delay.
So how do you get journalists to cover your business?
You can increase your chances for coverage by identifying what is different, new or unique about your business. It sounds simple but a lot of people forget that news is based on the root “new.” They pitch stories but forget about timeliness. If you don’t have that “new” component, your story is at a disadvantage.
You can figure out what is new about your business by asking some simple questions: Is your business contributing to the local community in a unique way we might not expect? Are you about to accomplish a feat where others have failed? What is different between you and competitors?
Andy Warhol might have been a great artist, but he was also a brilliant publicist at the root. He knew how to sell concepts and create buzz with the media. Even more impressive, Warhol did this at a time before we had the tech platforms that we have today. There was no Instagram or Twitter to share his story.
Much of Warhol’s creativity can be copied and applied to your publicity campaign. I wrote an article for Forbes that breaks down four publicity tactics Warhol used to generate coverage. You can read the Forbes article here. If you’re short on time, you can read the highlights on the next page.
PR helps build your business, but on a personal level, it can also make you a better communicator and sales person.
A few years ago, I worked with the founder of a hedge fund who wasn’t the best communicator with the media. He made a lot of mistakes when speaking with reporters.
But after a few months, I noticed his delivery got better. He also confided in me that his sales pitches got better. Our media training helped him learn how to better communicate with investors.
You can read more about media training here, but here are 5 Ways PR can help you communicate better in person. I originally wrote this article for Entrepreneur Magazine. You can read a shortened version of that article on the next page.
A few years ago, a friend and co-founder of a major retail startup asked me a question over dinner: Why can’t AI be used in PR?
He explained how AI was helping his startup sell products by predicting which products would be best sellers. If AI could help sell shoes and clothes, why couldn’t it work to sell news stories?
That conversation inspired a recent article I wrote for Forbes: Artificial Intelligence in PR: Is it Science Fiction. You can read that story here but if you’re short on time, here are the quick takeaways.
There’s not enough Big Data in PR to Use AI
You need billions of data points for AI to learn, grow and predict over time. But more importantly, you need quality data. If AI uses incomplete or unreliable data, it will never be able to learn and develop.
PR is nowhere near gathering this kind of big data for news coverage. But even if we did have big data on news generation, it wouldn’t have the critical thinking and creative mindset to create new enterprise stories from scratch. More important, this data would likely be outdated every 24 hours, meaning billions of new data points would need to be created from scratch every day.
Journalism is an Art – AI is Science
Micro journalism is one of the reasons why viewers can turn on the local news and see many stations starting with the same two or three news stories. But as the newscasts continue, that’s when micro journalism becomes more apparent.
News selection will begin to mimic its editors over time, and as editors change, so will the news selection. If AI pushed stories in the media, the ideas would all be the same since it’s trying to generate coverage that is most likely to be covered. If it’s that obvious, the story will already be in the news by the time AI suggested it.
Best PR Campaigns Leverage Critical Thinking and Creativity
AI doesn’t have the critical thinking or creativity to create enterprise news angles from scratch. And based on my experience inside the newsrooms, I don’t see that developing in my lifetime. Another reason why I don’t see AI running PR campaigns is that it is difficult to conceptualize abstract ideas into a news story. Even the most experienced publicists have difficulty consistently placing stories across different sectors and media outlets. This craft gets even harder once you start factoring in the different editorial anglings of the local, national and trade mediums.
So if you hear new buzz about AI entering PR, put up your critical thinking and ask the solid questions that machine learning has yet to think of.
About MACIAS PR
MACIAS PR was founded in 2009 by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. The top tech and healthcare PR firm uses strategies that stem from this background inside the media.
I read this confessional last night from a publicist who described the state of the public relations industry. It’s a candid look at how large PR agencies are lowering their standards and putting the dollar above relationships. The writer also lays out an argument for boutique PR agencies, and why they have a larger advantage.
To paraphrase the article, “There’s a lot of desperation. Not only to keep the lights on, but to keep people, to keep employees.
And what are the challenges? She writes, “[B2B tech brands] don’t often have stories. They’re unable to talk about themselves outside of product features and benefits. There’s zero or very little value based messaging. And too many PR firms will take them on as clients. The reason why they take on these clients is to keep the lights on.“
The article got me thinking about MACIAS PR and the value we bring as a boutique PR agency.