Archive for the ‘Biggest P.R. Mistakes’ Category

Five Biggest Satellite Media Tour Mistakes and How to Fix Them

September 13, 2017

Clients invest a significant amount of a public relations budget into a satellite media tour (SMT) and campaign but it can fall apart if they make big mistakes in the planning process. I’ve been producing SMTs for over twenty years so I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly, and have come up with a list of the five biggest satellite media tour mistakes I’ve encountered over the years with tips on how to fix them. These missteps can be easily avoided and turned into successful broadcast media exposure for your brand, product, or service.

Remote Satellite Media Tour (SMT)

#1 – Choosing the Wrong Spokesperson. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen clients make is engaging the services of the “wrong” expert or celebrity spokesperson – usually because they have not vetted them appropriately for the brand or product they are being asked to represent. If the expert or celebrity has no organic connection to the product, then paying them a big piece of your budget to recite message points just because you like the them (or because they have significant name recognition) is a big mistake. The perfect synergy occurs when the spokesperson really likes the brand, believes in the product, and it’s obvious to viewers in their delivery. Always do your due diligence to determine if a celebrity spokesperson makes sense.

#2 – Not Crafting a Message for a Broadcast Style Interview. It’s a common rookie mistake, but I’ve seen savvy publicity specialists do it, too. They take a written press release (or messaging) which is a crafted P.R. piece full of beautiful prose that sings about the product or brand and then fail to make adjustments from the written word to the spoken word. Not only does the message need to be verbally friendly for it to flow organically off the spokesperson’s tongue, but it also has to be structured and formulated in a way to maximize the message for the short time allotted for the broadcast interview (generally two-and-a-half to three minutes).

In addition to the spoken message points, there is often little or no thought given to the visual elements needed to support the story and if these assets exist. Television is a visual medium and producers love great video, photos, and the right product demos to make the interview come alive so it’s not just “talking heads.” Also, with a celebrity spokesperson, stations will want to ask a question or two outside of their spokesperson duties so planning for those questions and incorporating them into the overall timing of the message is imperative. At CMP Media Cafe, we provide complimentary message point scripts for every satellite media tour. Clients and newsrooms love the results.

#3 – Failing to Create a Suggested Script. You’ve prepared an amazing message for your spokesperson but if you don’t provide the stations with a suggested script, you could be courting disaster. Your best opportunity to control the message from the other side of the camera lies in providing a suggested script to the producer. We find that approximately 90% of stations will use our suggested script for SMTs since their schedules are so hectic with day-to-day activities that they value the assistance to structure the segment if it is written in the proper newscast or program style. That’s where CMP Media Cafe excels since we’ve been crafting television segments for over twenty years. The script format includes a suggested anchor lead, suggested questions, suggested anchor tag, along with suggested lower third supers to identify the spokesperson and information on the corporate client who is providing the segment to be FCC compliant.

#4 – Thinking Your Spokesperson Doesn’t Need Media Training. Depending on your spokesperson’s background or expertise, not all media experience is the same. Actors, celebrities, and experts also don’t have experience with the client’s specific messaging so they need to be professionally media trained so that they ace the on-camera interview(s) for the client. And just because they have a show on the air and are “media savy,” does not mean they’re prepared for satellite media tours. Also, nothing will kill your spokesperson’s on-camera credibility more than verbal fossils (i.e. “ah,” “um,” “uh,” “well,” “so,” “you know,” “er,” and “like” ).  They are distracting, weaken the message, and frankly, make the spokesperson sound bad. As with other nervous habits, they’re probably not aware that they do them.

Finally, media training just for the client message is NOT the same as media training for broadcast interviews that will work for newsroom producers and that’s why you need to hire a media trainer who’s had control room experience and understands how to tone down client messaging that won’t cause a station to bail on the interview because it’s “too commercial.” We have a blog post on five questions to ask about media training your spokesperson before your next SMT so you should definitely check it out. You’ll want to protect your investment in the SMT and spokesperson to maximize your on-air success and achieve your brand awareness goals by adding media training as part of your overall budget. Fees vary from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on the media trainer, length of the training, and if you are using a TV studio to get your spokesperson comfortable on the set, speaking to camera, and familiar with fielding questions via the IFB.

#5 – Not Leveraging the SMT Media Splash with Marketing and Social Media Campaigns. Unfortunately, the marketing and publicity departments don’t always synergize their campaigns. I’ve been confused about this disconnect for years since it seems like a no-brainer. Most pros know that consumers need approximately seven exposures to a product before they make a buying decision and that comes from many fronts including TV, radio, online, and print. Planning your satellite media tour to coincide with a brand advertising and marketing campaign is the best way to create media buzz. Then leverage online interviews with social media and you’ve created the perfect storm of media exposure And the best part? Editorial interviews from your SMT provide brand credibility that no amount of advertising can buy but the two working together synergistically make a lasting mark in the minds of consumers.

So that’s my list of the five biggest SMT mistakes. To make sure all your “t’s” are crossed and your “i’s” are dotted on your satellite media tour, just follow our checklist.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2017. CMP Media Cafe. All Rights Reserved.

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Comedians “Trick” TV Show Into Booking Them As ‘Fitness Experts’ and Then Get Sued By Station

August 4, 2017

I don’t know. Forgive me, but I actually think comedians, Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, were quite brilliant and inventive with their publicity strategy to promote their comedy by booking a segment as a “Strongman Duo” named Chop and Steele on “Hello, Wisconsin,” a news program in Eau Claire, last November. In fact, they are a hilarious as they demonstrate a variety of bizarre fitness tips including tennis racket sword fights.

Here’s a clip of the segment:

[Segment on “Hello, Wisconsin” with “Chop & Steele.”]

I’m shocked and confused that the station, WEAU-TV, and producers did not roll with it and weave it into the segment that this comedic team were not fitness experts at all, which was rather obvious, but comedians and you can catch there show at “XYZ Local Venue.”

Nope. It is appalling to me that the owners of this Wisconsin TV station are suing these two comedians and accusing them of pranking the morning news show by pretending to be fitness experts. But, c’mon. There’s more to this story. According to New York Daily News, Nick Prueher shared that “We hated doing promotional appearances on morning shows as ourselves so we thought it would be funny and interesting to see if we could book fake people (or characters) on these morning shows.”

In fact, Prueher thought the segments were more fun than if they just promoted their regular gig, The Found Footage Festival, a touring show of strange and unusual videos, as themselves. Well, the “Strongman Duo” concept was a very successful pitch and they managed to get booked as “Chop and Steele” on seven morning shows.

I think they’re right. This is a terrific (and laugh out loud funny) segment and the producers and station owner should lighten up. They could have made a choice to accept the silly and hilarious segment for what it was — comedy. Instead, they’re making a “stink” about it.

Here’s a YouTube video recently posted by Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher regarding this hot mess of legal doo doo and a plea for help to pay for legal bills for this lawsuit with a Go Fund Me page.  I wish them the very best and agree with them. This is a frivilous lawsuit.

[YouTube Video – Plea for Help Fighting the Lawsuit]

To read more about this story,  read the full story here.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients and offers one-on-on Media Coaching (@VIP_MediaCoach) for clients including experts, authors, corporate executives and cl.

Secrets to Getting Booked on TV Talk Shows – Don’t Make These Mistakes

June 21, 2017

The following is an excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide To Media Training.

There are many reasons why people fail to get booked on top talk shows, lifestyle programs, and news broadcasts. The secrets that I’m about to share with you are the prescription for avoiding that failure. Understanding these three things when pitching media will lift your personal brand from obscurity to success and gain recognition and credibility with the clients and customers you wish to serve.

The Three Biggest Mistakes that Derail Your Media Results.

Let’s start with the problem. The reason you’re not getting that crucial media attention is that, like most people (even the pros who should know better), you’re making not just one, but two or even three big mistakes. And it only takes one to kill your chances of media success:

#1. You Don’t Think Like a Producer. Too many times, you’re looking at your pitch from your perspective, which is “I want a TV interview,” vs. the producer’s perspective, which is “Why would I want to interview you?” The producer is not there to help you achieve your goal, UNLESS you can make it a shared goal. The producer needs a story, and if you pitch one that is newsworthy, you have found that shared goal. When you adopt the producer mindset – when you can offer them something that will meet their own needs – then you will be able to create a pitch with the greatest chance of being broadcast.

#2. You Don’t Have an Angle (or Media Hook) for Your Story. Every story needs an angle or frankly, you don’t have a newsworthy story. You can’t simply pitch the opening of a new business and expect to get coverage just because it’s “new.” There has to be some kind of story angle, some bit of added information to catch the interest or make the opening special (i.e. “Before this veterinary clinic opened, the closest one was 100 miles away, so this is a needed service for the community.”)

#3. Your Story is Too Commercial. If you’re pitching a story that’s all about “you” or all about “your product,” then it’s just not going to fly with a producer. It has to be more universal than just a promotional piece. Even though the goal is to get media exposure for you or your product, unless your product is groundbreaking (like you’ve invented teleportation so you can “Beam me up, Scotty”), then you need to find a way to weave your product, service or brand into the story in a problem/solution story angle formula so that it’s almost incidental. For example, if you’re away from home, but don’t need to answer the door, the Ring Video Doorbell lets you answer the door from anywhere with your smartphone. It’s a great product that solves a problem.

So now that I’ve identified the three biggest mistakes, here are three easy fixes/rules for increasing your results in getting booked on TV:

  • Think like a producer.
  • Your story must have an irresistible angle or media hook (and always deliver the story angle you pitch).
  • Being overly commercial with your pitch will kill the story.

So what constitutes a good story to a producer or reporter? The number one secret to booking a TV interview is simply to pitch them an irresistible story angle. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time (and theirs).

I hope you’ve learned some valuable information from this excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, available on Amazon. In the book, I share lots of behind-the-scenes insider secrets on how to get booked on television shows that even P.R. pros don’t know. Also, if you provide media training services to your clients, this is a great guide to tips on how to ace on-camera interviews.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2017 by Marianne Schwab. Excerpt reprinted with Permission. All Rights Reserved.

Four Things You Must Know Before You Pitch a TV Talk Show or News Program

May 24, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes that P.R. pros make when it comes to pitching TV talk show, lifestyle and news format program is that they don’t think like a television producer or reporter. In fact, this single issue is the key to success when it comes to increasing your results that land your client on the air.

Here is an excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, that outlines the four things you must know before you pitch:

Your interview booking success rate will take a curve upward when you study and understand the differences among the talk shows and news programs you pitch to with your media alert. In addition to everything else that we discussed so far, this is one of the biggest secrets to getting booked on TV and if you skip this step, your efforts will tank. Here are four things you absolutely must know before you pitch to a television producer.

#1. Know the Show You’re Pitching. When I was a producer on daytime talk shows, I think one of the most annoying aspects of my job was when I would receive pitches from publicists (and other professionals who should know better) that had no clue what the show was about. I’d often find that I was getting pitched a Jerry Springer Show sort of segment when I was working on a light celebrity interview and how-to-segment driven show, Live with Regis & Kathie Lee. Some shows showcase doom and gloom, but others opt for fun and fluff so don’t get egg on your face and ruin a valuable relationship with a producer by wasting their time with a pitch that is not suited for their show.

I remember many times during my days as a producer that a publicist managed to get me on the phone and then proceeded with a pitch that was not appropriate for our show format. I’d ask them if they watched the show I produced. They would usually respond with, “No, I work during the day so I cannot watch your show.” I’m sorry, but that’s no excuse since this was when it was already quite easy to record programs. A day job should never have prevented a professional publicist from studying the show they pitched in hopes of getting their client booked as a guest.

There are many reasons to understand the different types of talk shows when you want to pitch your idea to producers. The number one reason is that you don’t want to waste their time if the story angle you’re pitching is not appropriate for their show.

You can go to my website at MediaTrainingGuide.com and get a free bonus containing a downloadable list of current national network and syndicated talk shows, with short descriptions of the shows and links to their websites, to make this easy for you. When you are forging your media plan, you should make a point of watching at least one to two episodes of the shows you feel would be a good fit for you and your message.

#2. Know the Format of the Show You’re Pitching. Talk shows and lifestyle programs come in all shapes and sizes. There are LIVE daily shows, taped shows, tape delayed shows, shows that tape daily, shows that tape two shows a day for three days straight, hour-long shows, half-hour-long shows, celebrity driven shows, issue driven shows, segment driven shows, trailer trash shows, and the list goes on and on.

In addition, you should know the length of the show. Is it thirty minutes, sixty minutes, ninety minutes, or two hours? There are some morning news programs that are four hours long. You should also take a look at the type of stories the show is producing based on the hour of the day. For example, the national morning shows tend to focus more on hard news stories in their first hour and then lighten it up in the second hour. If they have a third hour, they’ll typically make that hour more lifestyle oriented, but those are not steadfast rules so you need to really study each show carefully.

#3. Know the Audience of the Show You’re Pitching. The variety of talk shows in the marketplace is reason enough why you should clearly know the show your pitching – its scope, its nuances, not to mention the ever-changing formats. The shows also have different viewer demographics, and producers are under constant pressure to appeal to their particular audience of viewers, whether they be career professionals watching before commuting to work, stay at home moms, etc. Also, keep in mind that viewers in today’s world include people tuning in on multiple devices such as mobile phones, tablets, iPads, laptops, and desktops. Then segments from the show are often shared via social media.

#4. Know Who To Pitch. After you have all your ducks in a row it finally comes down to knowing who to pitch at a show. In general, your best bet is going to be to get the name of a producer. This is where it gets tricky because it’s getting more and more difficult to find out who’s who, but I have an easy secret. Every Friday, most shows run long credits that include their entire staff. Set your DVR to record the Friday programs and then review it to write down the names of producers. Now, you may have to do a little Googling to figure out email addresses, but you can always send your pitch via snail mail as a start to the mailing address of the show.

Finally, do not mass mail every producer on the show. Start with one and if you don’t get a response or can’t get them on the phone to pitch them, then move on to the next name. Keep pitching until you get an answer. Never give up because sometimes even with a good pitch, it’s just a matter of timing. I used to hold on to good pitches and when the “stars aligned,” we’d book the segment.

I hope you’ve learned a lot from this excerpt from my book, The Insider’s Guide to Media Training, available on Amazon. In the book, I share behind-the-scenes insider secrets on how to get booked on television shows that even P.R. pros don’t know. Also, if you provide media training services to your clients, this is a great guide to tips on how to ace on-camera interviews.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Copyright © 2017 by Marianne Schwab. Excerpt reprinted with Permission.

All Rights Reserved.

P.R. Pros Should Know the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

May 22, 2017

Are you familiar with the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics? I recently participated in a Twitter chat with SPJ and ethics were the topic of the discourse. The current version of the SPJ Code of Ethics was adopted by the 1996 SPJ National Convention, after months of study and debate among the Society’s members. Sigma Delta Chi’s first Code of Ethics was borrowed from the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1926.

The SPJ Code of Ethics is voluntarily embraced by thousands of journalists, regardless of place or platform, and is widely used in newsrooms and classrooms as a guide for ethical behavior. The code is intended not as a set of “rules” but as a resource for ethical decision-making. It is not — nor can it be under the First Amendment — legally enforceable. I personally believe that anyone who works for the media or with the media should review this and have it “tatooed” on their forehead. Well, not literally, of course, but certainly figuratively.

Although the SPJ Code of Ethics is required study for most students of journalism and professionals working in the press, I question whether or not many journalists are living by this code based on what I see on daily on network and cable TV news reports (and online outlets) that lack balance and often use sound bites out of context in a way that screams bias.

Since public relations is the source of many news stories, the SBJ Code of Ethics should be adopted by all P.R. Pros who work with the press to maintain journalistic integrity. For easy reference, we’re sharing the code here and you can download the SPJ Code of Ethics as a PDF Poster and even a Bookmark on their website. This is a great resource to have handy in your office.

The SPJ Code of Ethics

PREAMBLE:  Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society’s principles and standards of practice.

SEEK TRUTH AND REPORT IT:  Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists should:

  • Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
  • Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
  • Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
  • Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
  • Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
  • Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
  • Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
  • Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public.
  • Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.
  • Never plagiarize.
  • Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
  • Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
  • Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
  • Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
  • Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
  • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
  • Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
  • Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

 

ACT INDEPENDENTLY: Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know. Journalists should:

  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  • Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.
  • Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.
  • Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.

 

BE ACCOUNTABLE:  Journalists are accountable to their readers, listeners, viewers and each other. Journalists should:

  • Clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct.
  • Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
  • Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
  • Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.
  • Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.

 

MINIMIZE HARM:  Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect. Journalists should:

  • Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage.
  • Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
  • Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by tragedy or grief.
  • Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort.
  • Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
  • Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about
  • themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention.
  • Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
  • Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
  • Be cautious about identifying juvenile suspects or victims of sex crimes.
  • Be judicious about naming criminal suspects before the formal filing of charges.
  • Balance a criminal suspect’s fair trial rights with the public’s right to be informed.

Here’s to the integrity of all journalistic endeavors.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Headline Hacks Are the Secret to Massive Media Exposure

April 24, 2017

When I was a network television producer, I was inundated with PR pitches every day. In fact, it is not uncommon for producers and assignment desk decision makers to field over 500 emails or more a day so unless you have written a headline for your pitch that grabs their attention immediately, chances are they’ll hit the delete key and your email story pitch will go right to the trash folder.

This has nothing to do with the value of your story, product or client but if you can’t get reporters or producers to open your email pitch (press release or media alert) based on your headline, even a good story will never get noticed by assignment desks, beat reporters, or producers.

Here are five ways to write headlines that will increase your earned media results:

#1. Stop Writing Headlines to Please Your Client – Write to Please Producers. Too many times, publicists think more like a client than they do the media. They’re client pleasers, not media pleasers. They use “Public Relations 101” Rules to Writing Press Releases taught by college professors (who often have no real world experience). Clients LOVE it. Media just finds the pitch boring.

#2. Start Thinking Like a TV News Promo Writer. In a world where the media needs to instantly grab viewers, listeners, and page views, with exciting headlines, you need to study how they promote their newscast and then follow their lead when it comes to your pitch.

#3. Use Deliberate Vagueness to Create Curiosity. There was a commercial airing in California several years ago that was produced like a pseudo 11-o’clock news station promo. It started with the reporter voiceover announcing, “There’s something lurking in your kitchen that’s very dangerous.”  There were images of a kitchen counter loaded with food and a refrigerator door being opened as shots of various foods were panned inside the fridge.  Then the voiceover continued, “It’s in your refrigerator and it could kill you.  Details at 11.”  The ad was an obvious satire on how news stations over sensationalize promos to grab viewers, but the satire is not too far from reality. This also uses another effective technique using a threat that instills fear so you’re compelled to find the answer. It’s effective, but don’t over do it.

#4. Headline Hack Magazines and Websites to Use Their Formulas. Whenever I’m stuck in a line at the grocery store, I love reading the headlines of magazines and tabloids at the checkout for headline structure inspiration. Hey, don’t judge me. They have amazing examples for writing headlines that make you want to know more so you buy the publication. Same thing happens when you’re surfing any online news outlet. Study the best headlines and hack their formulas. You’ll be amazed at the results.

#5. Grab Interest to Read More Using Lists or Mistakes. Lists and mistakes are always a hit with producers. From the “Five Best Beach Destinations” to the “Three Biggest Mistakes Parents Make with Teenagers,” these are headlines that pique interest and compel newsrooms to open the email.

Finally, think of ways to jazz up your headline and, depending your client’s type of business (and whether or not they are publicly traded), you may need to get the legal team on board, but imagine finding a way to craft headlines that dramatically increase your story getting before the eyes of news room gatekeepers and decision makers to explode your earned P.R. results.

The key to success is grabbing the attention with media decision makers using an intriguing headline (subject line) that screams “open me” and then following through with a story that supports the tease since you don’t want to “click bait” a reporter or producer.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

Five Questions To Ask About Media Training Your Spokesperson Before Your Next SMT or RMT

April 14, 2017

Media training your spokesperson for broadcast appearances on TV and radio (including satellite media tours) is often a service that is neglected or performed in-house at publicity agencies.  Before you make an investment in a spokesperson, spend time booking interviews, or engage a company to produce a SMT or RMT, there are five questions you should ask to determine if you need to add specialized media training services to your campaign budget.

#1.  We are paying a high fee for the spokesperson. Why should we spend additional budget to media train them? Even the most experienced spokesperson needs to rehearse and prepare for each on-camera appearance and specific client message. No one “wings it” and nails it. Clients invest a significant amount of budget in spokesperson fees and a public relations campaign (especially ones involving a satellite media tour), but all that can fall apart if the spokesperson’s delivery is not fine tuned for a flawless delivery for their multiple interviews. The investment in media training protects the investment in the SMT and Spokesperson to maximize on-air success.

#2.  Our spokesperson has a lot of media experience and is on television regularly. Why would they need media training? Depending on your spokesperson’s background or expertise, not all media experience is the same. Actors, celebrities, and experts also don’t have experience with the client’s specific messaging so they need to be professionally media trained so that they ace the on-camera interview(s) for the client.

ACTORS (CELEBRITIES): Actors always work from a script and need to be given exact message points, but also need training and rehearsal on how to deliver a client message in a sincere way that doesn’t feel canned or memorized and that viewers will find authentic.  They also need to be trained on how to handle curve balls when interviews don’t go as planned so that they stay on message and avoid creating a P.R. disaster (for them or the client).

CELEBRITIES (NON-ACTORS): Celebrities who are non-actors include reality show stars, chefs, book authors, bloggers, social media sensations, etc. They do not have experience being interviewed on-camera in the SMT format and need media training to master the client message plus handle unexpected questions so that every interview is a home run.

EXPERTS / BOOK AUTHORS (NON-ACTORS): An expert makes a great spokesperson because their professional experience and credibility makes them a book-able guest, but most are not comfortable in front of a camera and are very new to delivering a client message. Media training prepares them to handle every interview with confidence that is important for gaining viewers trust.

Nothing will kill your spokesperson’s on-camera credibility more than verbal fossils (i.e. “ah,” “um,” “uh,” “well,” “so,” “you know,” “er,” and “like” ).   They are distracting, weaken the message, and frankly, make you sound bad. As with other nervous habits, they’re probably not aware that they do them.

They need to learn do’s and don’ts or they could derail their credibility and how to:

  • minimize ahs, ums, and other verbal fossils.
  • avoid wasting precious airtime rambling.
  • deliver a structured message for the three minute interview.
  • segue from questions back to client messaging.
  • how to pivot.
  • handle curve balls.
  • deliver the client message in a way that does not seem too commercial.
  • deliver the message authentically.
  • understand exactly what the client expects.
  • balance the questions and weave in the client message.
  • look at the camera to engage with a reporter that they cannot see.
  • handle technical issues if the IFB drops out or they’re getting audio feedback.
  • manage nervous habits and mannerisms.
  • answer questions and how not to answer questions so that they look good and the client looks good.

#3.  Our celebrity spokesperson doesn’t think they need media training. How do we persuade them to do it? First, it should be in their contract as part of your spokesperson arrangement. Second, it is important for the celebrity’s image to always look their best on-camera so media training is insurance that their personal brand and image is protected. Protecting your brand is equally important.

#4.  Our P.R. agency already provides media training services. Why should we contract services outside of our own agency?   Many P.R. agencies do a great job of preparing spokespersons for certain appearances, but the problem is that the agency media trainer has tunnel vision regarding their client’s messaging and the spokesperson is prepared to deliver the message in a such a way that is over commercial and this can really turn producers off. They’ll cut the client message out of the interview (especially if it’s taped). Also, they don’t media train the talent from a producer’s perspective.

#5.  What is the benefit of having a TV producer media train a spokesperson? Nothing can compare to having an experienced TV producer media train your spokesperson. They’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of hours in control rooms coaching on-air talent through IFBs, diligently watching TV monitors to help the talent make adjustments so that their on-camera delivery comes across flawlessly. You want a producer’s keen eye, innate sensibilities, and experience to fine tune every nuance of your spokesperson’s delivery so that they nail your message and every interview.

If you’re investing a significant budget for a public relations campaign into a satellite media tour, but fail to train your on-camera spokesperson, your brand could be damaged and your investment wasted.

Marianne Schwab is the author of The Insider’s Guide to Media Training and the go-to broadcast media expert to show you how to get booked on TV and ace your on-camera interview. Her producer credits include Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous, Runaway with the Rich & Famous, E! Entertainment Television ON E! Specials, and many more. She has worked in broadcast for over 25 years and is currently the Executive Producer for CMP Media Cafe — a company specializing in broadcast public relations where she provides customized media training services for clients.

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FTC Plans to Crack Down on Celebrity Social Media Posts That Are Not Clear Advertisements

August 8, 2016

The increase of celebrities peddling brand messages on their personal social media accounts that are light on disclosure has not gone unnoticed by the Federal Trade Commission.  In fact, it’s on their radar and they are planning to crack down on this practice that can be very confusing to followers who are not aware that celebrity is being compensated for the product endorsement.

Social media users need to be clear when they’re getting paid to promote something, and hashtags like #ad, #sp, #sponsored –common forms of identification– are not always enough.

The FTC will be putting the responsibility on the advertisers to make sure they comply according to  a deputy in the FTC’s Ad Practices Division, Michael Ostheimer. It’s a move that could make the social media posts seem less authentic, thus reducing their impact.  Read more

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

 

Paid Social Media Content: To Disclose or Not to Disclose Sponsorship? The FTC Weighs In.

May 13, 2016

The FTC says social media influencers should clearly disclose if they’re being paid to endorse a product with language like #sponsored, but the social media world appears to wrestling and even conflicted on how to handle paid endorsements.

KNBC FTC FOLLOWERS

It’s a new form of advertising but it doesn’t look like an ad to the average consumer.  In fact, many shoppers now find the latest fashion trends, beauty products and vacation destinations from social media outlets like Instagram and blogs and while many bloggers are paid to show off things “they love” they are not always disclosing that they were paid for “their love of a product.”

Broadcasters and public relations professionals are well aware of the rules of paid spokesperson disclosures, but social media influencers are navigating new waters when it comes to adding “hashtag sponsored” to their Facebook post, Tweet or Instragram photo.  Reporter Jenna Susko of KNBC in Los Angels filed a report on their own investigation into the increased and borderline epidemic of product bombs hitting the social media newsfeeds and raised concerns that consumers are being manipulated by posters who have a hidden agenda.

KNBC Jenna Susko

Check out their newscast on nbclosangeles.com on how the undisclosed brand sponsorships of popular bloggers on social media accounts are raising concerns for the FTC.

Bottom line, if a post is sponsored, it should disclose it in some way.  A natural way to blend it in to the post is to say you’ve “teamed with XYZ company” and only agree to endorse products that you genuinely like so as not to mislead followers and fans.  Others can dislike the product, but if you authentically like it, it’s an honest statement and honesty is always the best policy.

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe

 

An Important Open Letter to the PR Industry From Jane Wells at CNBC

April 15, 2016

One of the most important rules of PR is to “know” the show or publication you are pitching otherwise you are just wasting your time and the time of producers or reporters with your inappropriate pitch.

When I was a producer for “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” we would get pitches that were clearly geared for “Jerry Springer” (or equally inappropriate) and yet the publicists were clueless to their professional faux pas and after I would politely field their pitch, they would respond with, “Well, I don’t have time watch your show because I work during the day.”

Well, even back then, publicists could tape the show and get a feel for the format.  Now, with so many online and digital media assets, there is no excuse for sloppy and untargeted pitching in my humble (and professional) opinion.

I saw this “Open Letter to the PR Industry” on LinkedIn from Jane Wells at CNBC and she’s lays it on the line so I thought I’d share it.

Jane Wells CNBCReprinted from LinkedIn:

“I receive so many random and useless pitches that I am now emailing back this generic response:

“Hey there,

“I get several pitches a day which have almost nothing to do with CNBC or my areas of coverage. I’m starting to send out this email to let you know when to pitch me a story, and when not to.

“At CNBC I cover defense, aerospace, agriculture, legal marijuana, Las Vegas, and the California economy. I do not cover real estate. I do not cover media. I do not cover technology.

For CNBC.com, I also do a franchise called Strange Success, which focuses on weird companies where the path to success has also been weird, and annual revenues have grown to at least $1 million. And by weird, I don’t mean a pizza business. I mean a business focusing on curing hangovers, life size sex dolls, getting rid of bathroom odor, where the creator of the business has had an odd path to success.

“I do not interview experts or authors. I interview CEOs, and for on-air, the CEO usually has to run a publicly traded company with annual revenues in excess of $500 million. I do not interview moms who are disrupting the playdate business, or 10-year-old whiz kids who’ve created a crazy new app.

“Please keep this in mind, so that we both save ourselves time and energy.

“Thank you.”

Jane Wells
CNBC

So the next time you think that your pitch may be “the exception,” watch the show, listen to the broadcast, read the publication, or take a look at the blog.  Build relationships. Target pitches. Stop wasting time.  Yours and theirs.  Capisce?

Peace and coconuts,

Marianne Schwab, Executive Producer, CMP Media Cafe

Follow us on Twitter:  @CMP_MediaCafe