Connecting with the Media via Social Media

While a pitch or press release can work, reporters and producers are now regularly turning to social media for story ideas. So how can you get their attention? As with everything connected to social media, interaction is the name of the game.

– Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook. That’s the first step. Most news websites include Twitter and FB handles in the reporter or anchor’s profile on their site.

– Retweet, comment and connect. Have an opinion on a story they just did? Share. Retweet information they want to spread. Give them a tip, Ex: An accident is closing a road or a power outage at your child’s school. These types of interactions will create trust and have them paying attention to what you are saying.

– Respond. Reporters will often put calls out on Twitter or Facebook for experts or victims for stories they are working on. If you fall into the category, respond. If you know someone who falls into the category, respond.

– Establish yourself as an expert. Once you have their attention and are regularly interacting with them, make sure you are posting and tweeting information that adds to your expertise. If there is a current news story in your industry, you should be commenting on it. Put your opinions out there, especially if it is something other than the norm. If there is a big event going on in your industry, talk about it via social media.

-Blog, blog, blog! Make sure you are tweeting and linking all your blog posts on your social media pages. Blog posts with useful information and tips, show you know what you are talking about. Keep them current and a post can turn into a story.

Many of my clients have connected with the media and been featured in stories through social media, if you play your cards right it can happen to you.

 

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October Events

Hope to see you at these great events in October!

October 14, 2011: Arizona Bio Association Expo 7am – 4pm

Bottomline Media Coaching will have a booth at the Arizona Bio Expo and is giving attendees a chance to see how well they would do in a real media interview. The on-camera interviews will give you a feel for the real deal. You will also get a FREE critique & consultation scheduled after the expo.

October 19th, 2011: CitySide Networking Event By Entreprenista 5pm – 7pm

This is a great FREE event for business women in Phoenix. Bottomline Media Coaching will be there to mix and mingle. We will have a booth are are offering FREE on-camera media style interviews and a FREE critique & consultation scheduled after the event.

What does “Off the Record” mean anyway?

If you haven’t heard the phrase in real life you have certainly heard it on TV or in the movies, but in reality “off the record,” means something different to almost every journalist you ask.

1.) To some it means this conversation will not be a part of the story. It is information that will not be published or broadcast at this time.

2.) To others it means you are a source of information, and while the information will be published or broadcast, your identity will not be disclosed.

Either way it is a risky situation for you.

When talking about scenario one, here is the problem; whatever information you share with the reporter, they now know. An ethical reporter will not broadcast or publish the information retrieved directly from you, because it was an “off the record” conversation/interview. However, the reporter WILL now hunt for other sources. If she can site another source she can still tell the story. In many situations this could still lead back to you hurt you or your company in someway.

When talking about scenario two, the simple fact is that it is becoming more and more difficult to protect unnamed sources. Not only are courts making it more difficult, today’s reporters simply don’t know how to do it. If for some reason there is a lawsuit and the reporters notes are supoenaed, you better hope the reporter knew enough not to use your real name or write down your contact information in any of those notes. And what if the reporter is supoenaed? Is he willing to go to jail to protect your identity? You’d better really trust that reporter.

Now there are many situations and many important stories that would never be told without unnamed sources. However, if you choose to get involved with a story as an unnamed source you had better A.) be extremely passionate about it B.) make sure the reporter is doing everything possible to protect you and C.) be willing to accept the consequences if your identity is compromised.

Another point I want you to remember is that when you are with a reporter, the interview isn’t over just because it turned into a conversation. That reporter maybe friendly, but she is not your friend. Just because the camera is off or the questioning is over, don’t be surprised to find a part of the “conversation” you were having ends up as a part of the story. This happens all the time. Many reporters are very charismatic, good looking people, that being said, they can disarm you easily. Don’t let them. Limit the small talk.

Critique of the Week: The Four Untouchables

When it comes to public opinion there are four groups that I consider untouchables, that is if you do or are accused of doing anything wrong to a member of one of these groups you are pretty much up the creek without a paddle. The groups are: small children, elderly, animals and the disabled.

Check out this recent news story:

There you go he wronged an untouchable, the disabled.
Okay, so they are not going to walk away here without reputation damage and quite frankly, I would not be surprised to see this group go belly up in the near future, but it could have been handled much better.

First thing I want to point out, the reporter says they attempted to contact him to set up interviews, but were turned down. So this guy should have seen this coming. He had an opportunity to set up an interview at a date, time and location of his choosing, one during which he could have been prepared, but he wanted to do it the hard way. Just because you turn down the interview, doesn’t mean they are done with you.

Oh another classic mistake, using your attorney as your media expert. Look how it helped this guy, it made us all laugh harder at his failure to cover up the story. Attorney’s are legal experts and should be on your team during a media crisis, but they are not media experts by any means and can often make things worse.

Honestly, I don’t think this guy would fare very well in an interview, even if it was scheduled. I probably would have recommended he issue a statement, but be it interview or statement his reaction should have been completely the opposite.

First thing I would have him do is apologize and then apologize again. Next he should give a full refund, no matter what the contract says. Finally, he should say what he is going to do to make sure this NEVER happens to another customer, like rewriting of the contracts and reworking of the training program. Then he should apologize AGAIN.

Will his reputation still be hurt, yes. But his business would have a far better chance of surviving than it does now. If you’re getting calls from the media, call Bottomline Media Coaching now 602 904-2758.

You Need A Crisis Communication Plan If…

Business Plan, check, Financial Plan, check, Crisis Communications Plan…. uhhh. Many business people never even think about creating a Crisis Communication Plan until it’s too late. Why? Usually it’s one of 2 reasons, number one; they don’t know what it is, number two; they don’t think they need it.

Don’t think YOU need one? Read on… if any of the following describe you, you need a Crisis Communications Plan NOW.

  1. YOU OWN A BUSINESS/RUN A NONPROFIT If you are the head of a company or organization you will be the target of the media should anything in that business go wrong. You need to be prepared, no matter how small your business is, because incorrect handling of a media crisis puts businesses under.
  2. YOU ARE A PROFESSIONAL Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist, Pastor, Counselor, Teacher, CEO, Massage Therapist, Singer, Actor… and the list goes on. If any of you in these professions does something; morally wrong, illegal, controversial, perceived as wrong, or you are simply accused of anything (with or without merit) your reputation and career can be damaged beyond repair depending on how you respond.
  3. YOU HAVE EMPLOYEES If you have employees, that means you have the potential for a disgruntled employee. Disgruntled employees love to run to the media and all they need is one hungry reporter willing to listen. Need I say more.
  4. YOU HAVE CUSTOMERS/CLIENTS If you have customers or clients, you have the potential for unhappy customers. They are very fond of going to the media to help them find their happiness.
  5. YOU COULD BE SUED If any of the first 4 items describes you, then you probably already know you could be sued. If you are sued the other party doesn’t even have to go to the media. The media may contact them and you all on their own.

Don’t wait until a crisis happens to come up with your game plan. Be prepared, call a professional and get one together now. If your business is in media crisis mode now call (602) 904-2758.