Protecting Your Brand with the Media

By Mark Macias

Every business wants to stand out, but when it comes to the media, you need to be extremely careful with your brand during a communications crisis. If you are reckless with your message, you risk ruining your image.

Or worse, if the media finds a flaw in your story, you could face a potential crisis campaign with negative news on the web forever. I recently wrote a CNBC editorial on why presidential candidate, Donald Trump, put his brand in jeopardy with his latest campaign shuffle.

This isn’t intended to be a political story, but rather an objective analysis on why your messaging is crucial. You can read the full CNBC story by clicking here:

http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/18/donald-trump-jumped-the-shark-with-his-latest-campaign-moves-commentary.html

Keeping your Media Campaign Strong to Reporters

top tech pr firms nyc macias pr public relations

By Mark Macias

Before our team launches any media campaign, we always begin with a creative exercise that brings everyone into a creative mindset. No, it has nothing to do with yoga or chanting. It’s actually a fun game that brings clarity to the idea.

Clarity is crucial for the launch of all creative projects. As the above photo shows, it brings focus to the idea, vision to the development and direction to the work. But clarity is also needed in our communication with the media.

Earlier this week, I was on the phone as a client discussed a complex topic with the reporter. Both are smart people, but clarity was missing from the message. The client went deep into the topic but the reporter was still on the surface. The idea was missing its focus. Luckily, we brought clarity back to the interview and that story will run soon.

When speaking with reporters about complex topics, make sure your mind is focused. If you’re distracted with work or angry at staff, it will likely come across. Take the time to make sure you are in the right mindset, or you risk losing a crucial placement after all of the hard work is done. There’s nothing worse than landing a big interview but losing the story because the message was lost. A little clarity before the call will bring it into focus.

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

Publicity vs Crisis Campaigns – The Different Strategies

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By Mark Macias

Crisis campaigns are always run differently than publicity campaigns. With a publicity campaign – especially for tech startup campaigns, the narrative is established before any reporter is pitched and when the campaign is executed effectively, the message should remain on point.

But with crisis campaigns, the script changes as the negative news develops. This is why one of the best strategies for crisis communications is to always get in front of the story. Don’t wait until a reporter has the story before you begin addressing the problem. Also, don’t avoid the negative news. Instead, address it straight on.

Here’s a recent article I wrote for CNBC that uses a real-life example as a crisis communications case study. In this situation, the person in the middle of the scandal – Charlie Sheen – executed this crisis campaign to near perfection. Click here to read the story.

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

Top PR Consultant Firm of the Year – 2015 Winner

 

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.07.14 AMBy Mark Macias

It feels great when we are able to secure prominent news stories for our clients with the most influential news organizations, but I have to admit, it feels even better when your peers and clients recognize your hard work with an international award that honors your achievements.

Macias PR was just named the “Top PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” for 2015 by Finance Monthly. It’s a prestigious industry recognition that evaluates talent, expertise, creativity, innovation and deliverables for advisory and legal consultants across Europe, Asia and the USA.

A team of researchers from Finance Monthly evaluated key categories to identify and select the top PR firms from around the world.

Their identification and selection process involved a 10-point criterion that included a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the firm’s expertise and deliverables within the financial media. Their researchers also interviewed both clients and journalists in assessing the PR firm’s media strategy, media expertise, innovation and industry expertise.

What does this mean to you as a client or potential client?

This recognition by financial journalists demonstrates why strategy trumps size. We don’t want to be the biggest PR firm in the world. We want to be the best PR firm for you. And in 2016, we will continue to out-work and out-think the global PR firms as we strive to help our clients grow their business on the international stage. We will never throw bodies at campaigns, like the big PR firms promise. Instead, we will throw minds at every problem and come up with the most original strategy tailored for you.

Macias PR was named the 2015 “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

Media Campaign vs. Story Placement

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By Mark Macias

I frequently meet with tech startups who ask me, “why can’t I do PR on my own?” Many of these smart entrepreneurs tell me they already have great contacts in the media, so why should they hire a PR firm?

Many people wrongly believe securing a story in the news or on TV has everything to do with who you know. Yes – a contact will help but it’s more like an assist. It’s not a slam dunk. I’ve written about that misconception extensively in the past, so I won’t go in-depth here, but there is another PR lesson that the picture (above) better explains. During my time as an Executive Producer with NBC, many publicists tried to woo me with drinks or dinner, thinking it would lead to a story on TV. You can be married to the Executive Producer, but if you don’t have a strong narrative or interesting story to tell, your startup or business won’t get publicity.

I’m not a gemologist, but I know a rock doesn’t transform on its own into a beautiful diamond. It takes time, precision, perfect cuts and polishing to present the diamond in a way that we expect. It’s no different with a story idea – or for that matter – contacts. It doesn’t turn on its own into publicity. It takes the refining of an idea that develops it into a news story. It also takes a craft to develop the pitch in a way that gets reporters’ attention. That requires proper execution. You can write the best media pitch, but if you send it to the wrong reporter, you will fail. It gets even more complicated when you are actually designing and executing a full-scale media campaign.

So if you’re considering doing PR on your own, I will tell you, of course you can do it. The better question to ask is how long will it take to succeed and how many hours will it require?

Macias PR was named the 2015 top “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

The DNA of a Top Publicist

The DNA of a Publicist(2)By Mark Macias

Every great athlete has a DNA that gives him an edge regardless of sport. Basketball needs a tall genetic code, football prefers weight and bulk, etc.

It’s no different with publicity. During my time with NBC and CBS, I saw a certain kind of DNA excel in journalism. He was driven, adaptable, curious, secular and even gregarious. While public relations is a different industry, the genetic code is similar.

Just like the above Facebook post demonstrates, if you’re looking for the best publicist, you want to find a person who is agile, fast and impulsive like the grasshopper. News moves quickly and a great publicist understands how to adapt to that changing environment.

But at the same time, a great PR firm also must show perseverance and strength because great media placements don’t happen overnight. A successful media campaign takes time and a lot of lobbying. It also takes a specific kind of creative intelligence to frame a story in a way that the media will find intriguing.

Keep those traits in mind as you look for the “Best PR Firm”. Bigger is not always better. The elephant alone is weak if he relies solely on his powerful weight. The grasshopper is an easy kill unless he keeps moving. But when combined, the two make for a powerful force especially in the world of public relations. And that’s advice that applies to publicity for every industry – tech, financial, service sector – you name it.

Macias PR was named the 2015 top “PR Consultant Firm of the Year – USA” by Finance Monthly. The firm was founded by Mark Macias – a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. Macias is a weekly contributor with CNBC.com and author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias PR has run media campaigns for tech startups, financial groups, service providers, nonprofits and politicians.

Formula for Media Placements

Formula for Media Placements

By Mark Macias

Many people assume there is a secret formula to getting stories on TV or in the newspapers. If that were the case, the formula would have been hacked and posted on the Internet by now.

It’s also not about who you know, which many outsiders assume. Yes – a friend in the media can help you by guiding or framing the story, but if you don’t have a solid idea, they won’t run it on the news – no matter how close you are.

A more successful media strategy is identifying the strongest narrative with an angle that is creative and unique. As an Executive Producer with WNBC in New York, I approved the story ideas from reporters, producers and publicists. I also approved the scripts that came out of our consumer, health and medical units. When I was reviewing these scripts, or trying to identify whether this was a story of interest, I would use these traits to help me guide me.

1) Is it timely?

2) How does this benefit our readers?

3) What is the controversy and does it have a solution?

4) Is there an interactive element we can add?

5) Who else has done this story?

Generally speaking, if you can craft a media campaign around those questions, you will have more success with your media placements. You can also get some guidance by looking closely at the media formula photo we posted above this article.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with NBC and Senior Producer with CBS in New York. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media, which has been featured in the NY Times, Fox Business, NY Post and others. Macias consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Buying Journalists Gifts?

By Mark Macias

It’s a written rule and code of ethics in journalism that you can’t accept gifts in exchange for stories, but that doesn’t stop publicists from trying to secure media coverage through freebies.

When I was with NBC and CBS in New York, I was always invited to “free” press screenings for shows and concerts. Restaurants, lounges and bars also sent me private VIP invitations to their openings. Even our Special Projects unit  received unsolicited gifts from publicists to try out their products.

But is this an effective approach?

Here’s the inside media scoop on gift giving to journalists.

Every newsroom has a table full of toys, makeup, books and other products that are sent to reporters and producers.

I am of the belief that it’s a waste of money to send free samples to reporters because it will inevitably end up in the hands of a person who has no influence on whether that story will run.

As an Executive Producer with WNBC – overseeing the consumer and medical units – I can’t even recall the number of times I went to my work mailbox and saw a package or box with my name on it. Most of the times, I had no use for the make-up or toy or other product that was shipped to me.

But this doesn’t mean you should completely ignore a version of this strategy. You can still offer up a sample for the news organization to try, but be selective with it and most important – make sure you offer it to the right news contact.

And most important, don’t ever project that you are expecting something in return because that is the quickest way to get your story killed.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.

Media Training – The TV Interview

By Mark Macias

You’re prepared for the job interview, but are you ready for the TV interview?

I recently interviewed a high-level executive with a major tech company. It was for a story that would run on the web.

Minutes before he sat in front of the camera, the corporate communications woman handed him a briefing document for the interview.

As the producer, I stayed quiet and listened.

This was a friendly interview and the questions were all softballs, yet this executive made the same mistakes that I continually saw throughout my TV career.

The executive tried to read from a script when he should have been speaking from the heart and mind.

Media Training 101

If you do any TV interview, throw out the script.

Don’t try to memorize sentences because you will forget no matter how much Gingko is in your system.

And if you’re preparing a briefing document for a client, don’t write out long or even short sentences. In fact, don’t write out any sentences. Instead, communicate the thoughts that should be expressed in the interview. Those bullet-points will force your client to understand the issues rather than memorizing sentences.

Media Training 201: Understand the Topic 

In the case with that C-level executive, I was shocked because he knew the content, but his communications person was unfortunately confusing him with sentences that were from her heart and mind – not his.

After 10-minutes of watching this executive stumble over simple words, I asked the cameraman to stop rolling and politely asked the executive to throw his briefing document in the trash.

I reminded him that he knew this topic. He needed to tell me what he knew – not what someone else thought he knew.

Less than 2-minutes after the camera started rolling again, he gave us the best sound any producer or viewer would want to hear because he spoke from his heart, not from memory.

Media Training 301: Speak from the Heart – Not from Memory

If you know the topic intimately and speak from the heart, you won’t mess up when you are under pressure.

It’s when we fight the nervous energy that our anxiety becomes more pronounced and we forget what we are supposed to say. So embrace that emotional energy and remind yourself that the best communicators always communicate on a level where others can feel it. If you feel it, your audience will feel it if channeled in the proper way.

That’s something you won’t get from a script written by another person.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC, Senior Producer with WCBS and Special Projects Producer with NBC. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias now consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity. You can read more on his firm at MaciasPR.