Media Training – Common Mistakes with Reporters

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.

But it doesn’t work like that with the media. You need to be concise and tight on messaging. If you veer off from the story line, most reporters will tune out. And if you’re speaking with a TV producer or reporter, it’s even more paramount to stick to the script.

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.

Don’t Start the interview Chronologically

It’s our nature to want to tell a story from the beginning, but this approach doesn’t work with reporters. It’s critical to get to the story point quickly during any interview. 

It might not be in our nature to start a story with the end-result, but this approach will keep the interview more focused. If a reporter knows within the first two minutes where the story is going, he’s more likely to follow it.

Reporters want to understand quickly what the story is – or they will get lost. If you start the story chronologically – and it’s a long story – every additional minute of talking is another potential minute at risk of losing the story. 

Focus on the Sell

It’s critical to communicate to reporters why their readers will care about your story, product, concept, idea – or whatever you’re selling. You don’t have to be overt with your sell, but the story sell must be expressed somewhere in the interview.

All reporters are writing for their readers. And that means they need a payoff for their readers. If you don’t communicate the payoff in the interview – also known as the sell – the reporter won’t have a story.

Add Insight to the story

Reporters don’t write about information; they write about angles. The news angle is all about how you frame the story and support it. As a CEO, you have industry knowledge reporters want to hear. Facts and figures are not part of that knowledge.

A common mistake from many CEOs and CTOs is to jump into the facts or data without providing insight or color on what it means. Don’t diminish your expertise or knowledge by quoting industry stats or data points. Instead, tell the reporter what they suggest or reveal.

Take Time to Breathe

Many business leaders know they have a few minutes to tell the story to reporter so they try to compress a 30 minute thought into 10 minutes of run-on sentences. 

I have a general rule that I tell clients. Don’t speak for more than 2 minutes without checking in with the reporter. Ask if he’s following along. Of course, it’s a general rule so there are exceptions. When you’re speaking with an industry reporter who wants to take a deep dive, then the old rule of checking in doesn’t always apply.

Don’t talk about Yourself

Unless you’re getting interviewed for a profile story, stay away from situations where you talk about yourself. Sure, you can provide insight on what you’re hearing from the industry. Or you can give your opinions on the latest trends you’re seeing. But those situations are different from blatantly talking about yourself. 

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Marketing peers named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the Financial PR Firm of the Year. The founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. City & State Magazine named him a PR Political Power Player in 2021.

Which Media Outlet Should you Target? Forbes Analysis

By Mark Macias

I recently wrote an article for Forbes that explored how to identify the best media outlet for your story. It’s a strategy we continually to use for our agency even today.

The media strategy comes from my time working inside the media – as an Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York.

You can read the longer Forbes article here, but if you’re short on time, here’s a quick version on the main points.

Continue reading “Which Media Outlet Should you Target? Forbes Analysis”

Marketing to Gen. Z – A Closer Look at their Post Pandemic Views

How quickly the world of tech and business move. It seems like yesterday we were discussing how Millennials were disrupting the workforce. But there’s a bigger change in business that is right around the corner.

In less than 5 years, Generation Z is projected to overtake Millennials when it comes to buying power. If you’re trying to sell any product or service, you better learn quickly how to target this sophisticated group of consumers.

Unlike previous generations, social media won’t put you over the finish line. And you can forget about TV commercials. So how do you reach and motivate Generation Z? Read on to see what our online survey found.

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New Survey Details How Generation Z Views Work, Wealth, Social Media Post-Pandemic Life

BROOKLYN, N.Y., March 31, 2021 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — The online news portal, Brooklyn Chatter, has released a new survey that suggests Generation Z doesn’t want to work remotely once the pandemic ends, preferring instead to split their time between an office and remote location. And in a more shocking discovery, only 2 percent say they want to continue working remotely full-time after the pandemic ends.

The online survey was conducted by the New York PR agency, MACIAS PR, from March 18 to 29th, and involved 2,240 Americans, ages 18 to 24. Survey participants answered online questions spread across partnered news sites and popular Gen. Z member groups, including Her Campus, Gals in Journalism and the Young Journalist Community.

The survey found more than half – 52 percent – say they want to split their work time between the office and home. Roughly 27 percent of Gen. Z participants say they want to spend all 40-hours at the office.

Continue reading “New Survey Details How Generation Z Views Work, Wealth, Social Media Post-Pandemic Life”

Forbes Analysis – Customer Behavior Trends for 2021

Forbes recently reached out to me and 14 other entrepreneurs, asking for some insight on 2021 customer behavior trends. What are the big trends we anticipate this year?

There were some interesting predictions in the article, which you can read here. If you’re short on time, I’ll break down the trends that I think are most valuable in this article. I’ll start with my advice that I offered Forbes.

Continue reading “Forbes Analysis – Customer Behavior Trends for 2021”

Crisis Advice – Release all the Bad News or Drip, Drip, Drip

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in a tough crisis situation. Every day bad news seems to come up, keeping his sexual harassment allegations in the news cycle.

Cuomo tried to apologize but he broke every mistake I laid out in my Forbes editorial – How to Apologize when the Media is Listening. If you read that article, you can learn how to authentically apologize for your mistakes.

So how do you control negative news once it’s out? And when you know more bad news is coming, how do you release it?

The end-game strategy of crisis communications is to get out of the news as quickly as possible. You don’t want any story to linger because as new developments unfold, it keeps your story in the news cycle.

News is always about advancing a story. During my time as Executive Producer with NBC, we would frequently see a story in the morning’s New York Post or Daily News – and try to figure out how to advance it.

Every day new information comes out, the more chances your negative story remains in the news.

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How to Apologize When the Media is Listening – Forbes Advice

By Mark Macias

Here’s an article that applies to everyone. That’s right – it doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, leader, follower or even a kid. At some point, you will need to apologize.

But what happens when the apology is amplified by the media?

I recently wrote an article for Forbes answering that question. I break down three tips to help anyone make sure their apology goes the right way. You can read my Forbes article here. If you’re short on time, here’s a shorter version of the key points. Continue reading “How to Apologize When the Media is Listening – Forbes Advice”

Looking Forward to 2021 – MACIAS PR

I’d like to wish you and your family laughs, happiness, love and favor during this holiday season. Yes, it’s great to prosper in business but without happiness and love, what’s the purpose of work? And without favor, you really have no business. We all need favor with people and customers to grow our business. We need love to get up in the morning.

I also want to say thank you to our clients for giving us an opportunity to work with you. You have choices and options, yet you chose to work with MACIAS PR.

The nonprofit, NPower, is a great national organization that provides free work tech training to underserved communities. We’ve now worked together 3.5 years. It’s our second year working with the digital health platform, Lifesum. There’s nothing better than working with friends and with both of these organizations, I’m working with friends to build bigger brands.

MACIAS PR also got some new clients in 2020 across fintech, healthcare and politics. MACIAS PR launched three different media campaigns for Congressional candidates in Arizona and Illinois in 2020. I have no doubt all of those candidates are going places in the future. In 2019 and 2020, we worked with a member of Congress. She’s a great woman who I hope will get appointed to a cabinet position in the Biden administration.

There were also some hidden gems along the way that we helped – like the fintech, Flaist, and the digital health platform, Sleeprate. They are both revolutionizing the sleep and banking industry with their AI platforms. 

Putting Business & PR in Perspective

Personally, I’m excited to put 2020 behind me. I lost my father this year to Covid, and gained a son who is becoming the inspiration for my days. He’s the cutest kid. And of course, the office still has our team mascot “Einstein.

He’s in the photo above with me.

But enough of us. If you want to learn how relationships matter in business and PR, please email me. We can discuss a media strategy that works for your business. If PR is not right for you, I’ll tell you what I think.

Be blessed and good luck in the New Year.

Mark Macias

Branding Fundamentals Critical to PR

By Mark Macias

Forbes recently ran an article,  “16 Branding Fundamentals New Businesses Should Remember.” As part of their research, their editors reached out to me asking what branding advice I have for their readers.

I didn’t want to give the obvious, so I thought about my own clients and mistakes I’ve seen them make over the years. Here’s what I told Forbes.

“The CEO is a crucial component for any successful branding campaign. Think Jobs, Musk, Zuckerberg—you know their companies. I’ve worked with a lot of brands that don’t like to use their CEO in the media and I don’t understand it. Any CEO must be receptive to speaking with the media, discussing business trends and thought leadership with reporters. The best publicists know how to leverage the CEO.”

Leverage Your CEO with Branding

A few years, our agency worked with a digital health brand that didn’t want to give us access to their CEO. I understand the CEO is likely busy, but the corporate gate-keepers actually made our job more difficult. How could we identify trends or position the brand as a leader if we weren’t given access to any of this insight?

I tried to share my concerns with their marketing team but they assured me the CEO didn’t want to speak with the media. Making this even more frustrating, their biggest competitor was leveraging their CEO for an IPO.

Don’t make that mistake. If you’re CEO, leverage that title and experience for media coverage. I understand if the CEO is shy, but the top sales guy needs to be over-exposed with the media.

Here’s more tips from other peers if you’d like to review that Forbes article by clicking here.

ABOUT MACIAS PR

Finance Monthly named MACIAS PR the 2017-2020 Strategic PR Firm of the Year, and PR Firm of the Year. Our founder – Mark Macias – is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also a PR contributor with CNBC and Forbes, providing media analysis, insight and crisis advice on timely business topics.

How Much Does PR Cost?

It’s a common question every business owner wants to know. How much does PR cost.

There are many factors that determine how much a public relations campaign will cost. Is the campaign difficult? How many resources will be needed to pitch reporters? How much time is needed to explain the story to reporters. In a way, the PR industry is no different than the accounting industry. The complexity and resources needed determine the cost.

MACIAS PR has created an online tool to help you get a PR estimate quickly. You don’t need to spend hours on the phone, explaining your product. If you’re curious about the cost of PR, just answer a few questions by clicking here.

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