Archive for newspaper
Q: What is the best way for a business to generate and leverage PR opportunities?
A: You need to be prepared ahead of time to tell your story. That means having your company’s key messages and talking points in order well before you receive the phone call or email asking for a comment.
The PR team should help the media do its job by having information about your company and products readily available, and today that means having a current and easily accessible press section of your website that’s stocked with bios, product fact sheets, recent press releases and images. One of the most important elements of a press room is the press contact – not a generic “firstname.lastname@example.org” email address, but a real name, an actual person’s email address and their telephone numbers. That’s typically one of the media’s top complaints about press rooms – there’s no real person to contact when a reporter is on deadline and needs to know someone is available and working to get a response.
Finally, you need to keep your press releases up to date. If the date of your most recent press release was nine months ago, it communicates a lot about what’s going on at your company – or not – whether you like it or not.
That’s a piece of advice from Barry Rascovar, the long-time Baltimore Sun political columnist and deputy editorial page editor, who joined Michael Cross-Barnet, The Sun‘s deputy opinion editor, at the recent PRSA Mid-Atlantic Chesapeake Conference to share insider tips on getting an op-ed considered and published.
Here are just a few insights:
The Sun publishes 12 op-eds a week. They receive more than 100 each week that are “worthy of consideration.” At The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, the competition is considerably higher.
Good writing is as important as an interesting topic. Use clear prose and concise, simple language. The academic community tends to have trouble with this, Cross-Barnet said. Rascovar suggests that writers dig out their copies of Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style” for a refresher on making every word count.
Your submission needs to “grab the editor” with a piece that solves a local problem. Be creative, imaginative, concise and cogent.
Is it “different enough, unusual enough?” Or is it another bland piece that will get tossed into the rejection heap?
So you want to be a journalist? For the New York Times? Well then check out this video (and make sure you have a subscription to the newspaper).
In years past, some clients seeking media training could ask us to focus on prepping just for print interviews, as the likelihood of getting TV exposure was not that great, so why bother with the cameras?
Those days are over, as newspapers are evolving beyond ink and pulp-based sources for providing the news.
This week we assisted with a press conference that attracted five cameras among the media in attendance: all four Baltimore TV stations as well as a local business newspaper, The Daily Record, which assigned its camera-carrying multimedia reporter, Richard Simon, to cover the announcement.
In another recent example, we conducted a series of media training sessions for executives with a social-networking technology company. Starting with local and regional newspapers (partly to refine our message delivery before moving on to the national media and trade press) we included a stop at the Frederick News-Post in Maryland, hometown paper for one of the co-founders.
Sitting in the newsroom, we wrapped up a standard newspaper interview with one of the paper’s business writers for a cover story in the paper’s weekly business insert.
But the next step in the interview process revealed how far newspapers – even a 40,000-circulation daily in Central Maryland – have gone/are headed: they requested an interview for a video version of the story to appear in the multimedia section of the newspaper’s Web site. Our client had gone through Sawmill’s full media training session and was familiar with the nuances of a TV interview, so we were comfortable moving to the on-camera interview.
These real-life examples bring up an issue for executives thinking they can skip the TV-preparation portion of a media training session (and wear whatever they want to the newspaper interview!). Not anymore, as the lines blur and newspapers take on a greater role as multimedia providers of news.