Media Training – Common Mistakes with Reporters

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.

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How to Leverage Current News Cycle for Publicity

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?

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Consumer Survey – What Motivates People to Buy

In the height of the pandemic, MACIAS PR, published a consumer survey that looked at the waning influence of commercials and online ads. It’s valuable insight that is still relevant today, especially as consumer spending slows during this economic downturn.

The online survey was conducted July 15-16th, 2020 and involved more than 2,000 Americans who answered questions detailing the best approach to get them to buy new products.

The survey found a staggering 70 percent of participants said TV commercials no longer influence them to buy products. In contrast, roughly 45 percent said positive online consumer reviews and positive stories on the news influence them the most when it comes to buying a new product or service.

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How to Apologize When the Media is Listening – Analysis in Forbes

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.

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Founder of MACIAS PR – Mark Macias – Named to the Forbes Business Council

​Forbes Business Council – an invitation-only organization for successful business leaders and entrepreneurs – has announced Mark Macias – founder of MACIAS PR – as a Council member.

A review committee selected Macias based on his depth and diversity of his experience as a journalist, author, entrepreneur and media strategist. The committee evaluates each member’s business track record and leadership, as well as personal and professional achievements.

“We are honored to welcome Mark Macias into the Forbes Business Council,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Business Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

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How Media Mergers are Changing the PR Landscape – Forbes Analysis

By Mark Macias

It seems like there is new speculation everyday when it comes to media mergers. If you’re looking to get your brand in front of these media outlets, you really have to pay attention because it does impact the way publicists sell stories.

I recently wrote a story for Forbes on this topic, which you can read here. If you’re short on time, I’ll give you a quick summary.

This new alignment of media conglomerates has a huge impact on the overall news industry and the way publicists sell stories to reporters.

Back in 2003, I was Executive Producer with NBC at the time of the Telemundo acquisition. Many of my Hispanic colleagues said the new acquisition would create a stronger news force for our community.

We would have the power of NBC behind us — they said — giving us more journalists to pursue stories in our community. Sadly, I predicted it wouldnt work like that and today we can see the results. Emails for the Telemundo news department have been converted to nbcuni.com addresses. And the news desks in New York for NBC and Telemundo are combined into one desk. 

News organizations need to turn a profit. And the larger organizations that have shareholders are even more beholden to the bottom line. Many business owners tell me why the media has a responsibility to do certain stories. And many times, I agree.

But capitalism ranks higher than journalism based on my media experience. If the news story doesn’t generate an audience, it’s unlikely to move forward. 

This is one of the strategies behind our agency. We look for that commercial angle before we pitch any reporter.

If you want to learn more, you can read my Forbes article that gives you more background on this topic. I elaborate on what publicists need to do to stand out in this new world.

And if you’re short on time, you can catch many of our blogs and articles on our podcast, Always Fresh PR. You can listen on your favorite channel by clicking here. If you were subscribed, you could have listened to this story while commuting or doing errands on the go. It’s like me speaking directly in your ears by clicking here.

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.

Why PR is Like Coffee

By: Mark Macias

By Mark Macias

Public relations is like coffee, but it should never be confused for a quick hit like cocaine. I got that crazy thought this morning as I was pouring a cup of coffee.

Coffee – much like public relations – is needed to give your day a boost. Without coffee, you are not as quick on your feet and it’s harder to get through your day. Every growing business needs public relations just like you need your coffee. A healthy dose of PR, like your cup of Joe, gives your business a jolt and if it’s an effective publicity campaign, it makes your workload easier.

Entrepreneurs and business owners should never view PR like a drug that delivers a quick hit to your bottom line. You risk a huge crash if you take this myopic approach.

PR is not medicine. It’s more like a vitamin. We take vitamins in the morning to stay healthy, strong and vital. We turn to medicine when we need a remedy or when our health is failing. All public relations campaigns will be more successful if they are launched while a company has a healthy headwind.

“Give Me a Quick Hit”

I speak with a lot entrepreneurs and I hear a consistent theme from our conversations: They want to see an overnight correlation between publicity and sales. It is possible to directly increase sales from public relations, but an overnight correlation is an unstable foundation, especially for any fledgling operation.

Bill Gates grasped this concept in the early days of Microsoft. He’s been quoted multiple times, saying “If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.”

Another reason why you don’t want to view public relations as medicine is because it gets harder to influence the public when you face negative news. I frequently get unsolicited calls from businesses or nonprofits, asking for advice on how to improve their image following a negative news story. That’s not a publicity campaign. That is a crisis campaign and they begin with different approaches and strategies.

So the next time you’re looking for creative ways to make your work flow more productive, maybe you should grab a cup of Joe and see what it inspires for your next PR campaign.

Follow Always Fresh PR Podcast

If you like what you read, you can also hear some of these topics from Mark Macias in our #alwaysfreshPR podcast. Listen to us on your favorite channel by clicking here.

Mark Macias is a former Executive Producer with WNBC and Senior Producer with WCBS. He’s also the author of the communications book, Beat the Press: Your Guide to Managing the Media. Macias consults small and large businesses on how to get publicity.

Entrepreneur Editorial – How the Pandemic is Shaping PR

Entrepreneur Magazine just published my editorial that takes a deeper look at how the pandemic is shaping PR.

You can click on this link to read more on the story, but if you’re short on time, here’s a quick synopsis to help with your future publicity campaigns.

This thought leadership was inspired after I read a post in a private Facebook group with reporters and publicists where we exchange ideas. Someone asked if PR was dead.

PR has definitely evolved since I entered this industry after my career with NBC and CBS. But this last year has accelerated even more changes in PR.

It’s even harder today to navigate the media landscape. A lot of journalists lost their jobs because of COVID. In addition, the competition for eyeballs is getting tougher as more online news sites pop up. And we can’t dismiss the consumer market, which is getting more fragmented.

All of these headwinds make a targeted media and communications strategy even more critical.

Here’s a closer look at why I wrote that why experienced strategic thinkers will become even more valued, and more scarce in the coming years.

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Why PR Agencies Must Connect the Dots with Every PR Campaign

The best PR firms connect the dots.

Most PR firms like to spray and pray, or blindly send “pitch blasts” to reporters. But these approaches to securing publicity for a client don’t work. Why? Because it’s essentially leaving it up to luck for reporters to write your story. 

It’s like using a shotgun to hit your target, instead of a sniper rifle. That’s why at MACIAS PR, we always uses the right weapon to hit our target.

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Why Strategy is more Important in PR than Media Contacts

By Mark Macias

Potential clients always assume that our media contacts lead to media placements. Just today, I met with a potential client who commented, “you must know a lot of people in the media.”

Yes, we do know a lot of people in the media. In fact, our PR firm is communicating, talking to, pitching and in general discussion with literally hundreds of reporters and producers a week. But guess what – our contacts didn’t lead to the media placements. Our strategy did.

Just like the above photo demonstrates, PR is a game that is won by strategy. You don’t win the game of chess by force or seduction. You win the game of chess through out-thinking, out-maneuvering and out-strategizing your opponent. It’s a critical factor behind the success of MACIAS PR.

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