Thursday, August 27, 2009

When to say "no comment"

Should I comment?

A print or broadcast reporter calls asking you to comment on a sensitive story. You’re not sure if you want to get involved, but you know its rarely appropriate to say “No comment.”

Damage control: Find out exactly what the reporter knows so you can make an intelligent decision about whether to comment. Ask the reporter the following questions:

• What is the story about?
• What angle are you taking? (A nice way of saying, “Do you have a preconceived notion about this story?”)
• What’s your deadline?
• Who will be interviewing me?
• Am I critical to the story?
• How much do you know about this topic? (If they don’t know a lot, this is your chance to “educate.”)
• Who else have you spoken to and what did they tell you?
• Did you speak to any of my competitors?
• How long will the interview take?
• Can you tell me what topics you will cover in the interview?
• May I bring an associate along with me to participate?

If you conclude that the story is not about you or your company, and you don’t want to get involved, don’t just say “no comment.” Tell the reporter you don’t care to comment, and explain why. Try to refer the reporter to more appropriate sources

Friday, August 14, 2009

How Newsrooms Choose Stories

There seem to be only two "speeds" in local television newsrooms—too slow and too fast.

On slow news days we're looking for stories which won't drive viewers to push the button on their remotes. But when there's breaking news everything speeds up and almost everyone drops anything else they're working on and concentrates on the big story at hand. Keep this in mind if you call. Ask if they're busy with breaking news or on deadline, and if the answer is yes simply say you'll call back at a better time and hang-up. Believe me, this will be appreciated!

It helps to have an idea of how newsrooms operate so you can get your information to the right people. The most visible people are the reporters you see on the air each day. You might think that speaking to a reporter is the best way to get your story covered, but that's rarely the case. Story decisions are usually made by managers, producers and assignment editors, beginning with an early morning conference call and, after everyone arrives in the newsroom, the morning meeting.

These story decisions don't come off the top of the meeting participants heads. And no, they don't all come from the pages of the local newspaper. Some originate with "wire" stories from the Associated Press, others from ideas generated by members of the news department staff, and others come from press releases received by the news department over the preceding days and weeks.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Simple Steps for Promoting Your Company, Products or Services

Public relations is an essential marketing tool for any company seeking to raise awareness, promote products and services, and boost sales. In contrast to advertising, public relations tells a story, often produces grassroots word-of-mouth “buzz” and can be extremely cost-effective. As a marketing discipline, public relations has a few inherent advantages. For starters, media placements that are generated by a public relations program serve as third-party endorsements for your goods or services. For example, an article in a prominent magazine or daily newspaper that promotes and tacitly recommends Nike sneakers has more credibility with consumers than an advertisement in the same publication about the same product. And while there are no guarantees that you will get the kind of press coverage you wish for, a focused, respectful perseverance will give you your best shot.