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How to Do a Remote Media Interview: COVID-19 Media Training Tips

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

The number of remote media interviews, online interviews, Zoom interviews, and the like have skyrocketed in the past few weeks. In last week’s video, I asked you, who is doing them well? How is the quality of the videos?

Well, today I am providing you with expert media training strategies to help you look professional, organized, and credible as a source for your media interview.

If lighting, camera angles, technology, and wardrobe stress you out (and rightfully so), this video can help you be a video producer in your own home office or other remote location.

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Covid-19 Crisis Communications Webinar Recording

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

COVID-19 Crisis Communications Tips – Webinar Recording

By Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC 

Crisis experts Bill Coletti and Gerard Braud share their insights and top recommendations on “what’s next” and what to do in this very uncertain phase between shutting down and re-opening for business.

In addition to the webinar recording, please feel free to share the Slide deck with your colleagues.


Hopefully, the insights and recommendations shared will be helpful to you and your teams in this difficult time.  

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

How to Use Social Media for Crisis Communications

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson


Twas the Night Before Christmas With Edits

By Gerard Braud

The poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas, is only 56 lines long. As writing goes, it’s pretty perfect. But we all know there are people where you work, who feel compelled to make edits, no matter how perfect your writing is. Maybe it’s the CEO or CFO, or an engineer, IT guy, accountant, doctor, or even the lawyer. Sure, they just want it to be more accurate and legally correct. But are all of those edits really necessary?

So for those of you who feel compelled to make edits, and to those of you who have been victimized by a red pen, I offer to you this special version of the poem, with edits. ©2018

 

Twas the Night Before Christmas With Edits

 

 Twas the nocturnal period preceding the annual Christian festival, when throughout the domicile

 

No one of consequence was moving, including the rodents

 

Long socks receptacles were suspended near the thermal unit, with safety as a top priority

in expectation that a legendary Christian Bishop, born in the region of modern day Turkey, in or about 280 A.D., who was later Canonized by the Pope, would arrive post-haste

 

The humans below the legal age of majority, were reclined comfortably within their sleeping apparatuses

 

While apparitions of dehydrated fruit, filled their subconscious

 

And the maternal figure donning a headscarf, and I, in a consensual relationship, did likewise

 

Had just reached a state of extended hibernation

 

When in an external grassy zone, a ruckus occurred

 

I spontaneously ejected myself from my sleeping device, to evaluate the situation

 

Away to an opening in the wall I expedited myself

 

With vigor, I forcefully opened a set of protective panels

 

The satellite of the earth unified with the flakes of ice crystals

 

Gave the reflective quality of noon, to objects below

 

When, while visibly curious there appeared

 

A smaller than common vehicle of transport and eight proportional deer, common to subarctic regions

 

With a demure heavy equipment operator, so agile and prompt

 

I surmise instantly that it must be the aforementioned Saint

 

More rapid than birds of prey, the mammals came

 

And he exuded a high-pitched sound, then proclaimed their given names

 

You may Google the historic names if necessary, since corporate policy prohibits us from releasing names without consent… and because some of the names imply behavior that may be deemed as inappropriate or suggestive, and not in keeping with our policies regarding sexual harassment in the workplace

 

To the top of covered shelter protecting the entrance to our domicile

To the top of the vertical structure supporting the inner and outer cladding

 

Now run or travel somewhere in a great hurry, bolt, and/or gallop

 

As foliage void of moisture within a tropical cyclone, having winds exceeding 74 miles per hour

 

When they encountered structures that hindered forward progress, they accelerating upward

 

So up to the structure’s ridgeline the beast maneuvered

 

With the vehicle at capacity with objects of play; and the Bishop inside as well

 

And then like chimes, I heard on the ridgeline

 

The exaggerated movement, and clatter of horny feet

 

As I extracted my head from the framed opening, and was moving in a circular motion

 

Down the vertical channel for combustion gases, came the Saint, with great haste, void of OSHA required protective gear

 

His wardrobe consisted of natural mammal pets with hair still attached, covering his entirety, much to the protest of certain animal rights activist

 

The garments were discolored with combustion residue

 

A sum of replicas were suspended to the rear of his torso

 

And like a merchant of goods, he displayed all of his wares

 

His visual organs – how they reflected the light

His facial indentions exhibited great joy

 

His face just below his eye socket, was reminiscent of blooming thorn-filled plants; his nostril area like ripe, round fruit

 

His pursed lips, they provoked such dry amusement

 

And his unshaven facial hair was similar in color to the crystalized precipitation

 

The extension of a tobacco burning device was clinched within the enamel-coated structures of his jaw

 

And cancer causing carbon particles were visible in a circular shape

 

His facial structure was wider than it was tall

His spherical abdominal region


Vibrated upon guffaw, resembling a food basin at capacity with sweet, semisolid preserve

 

His weight-to-height ratio was disproportionate; while he correctly personified a character portrayed in a seasonal holiday movie classic starring Will Ferrell

 

And there was humor in his antics, despite my presence

 

A non-flirtatious closing one eye, and a rotation of his neck

 

Soon indicated he was friend and not foe and therefore there was no need to seek outside mutual aid

 

He remained silent and demonstrated a commendable work ethic

 

And he filled the long sock receptacles; then made a quick, sudden movement

 

And he placed his index digit beside his nostril trunk

 

And with acknowledgement, he ascended the combustion chamber vent

 

He extradited himself to his transport, then repeated the high-pitched sound

 

And away the individual and his mammals departed through a control ascent in the atmosphere, similar in nature to the seed disbursement mechanism of certain plants

 

But I was able to discern his verbal proclamation as he departed from vision

 

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night… despite the edits.

 

©2018 Diversified Media, LLC dba Gerard Braud Communications

 

 

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

Please Pick Me to be Your Media Trainer

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

 

3 Traps Public Relations Folks Fall Into

spider-web-1031615_19201) Too many people in public relations fail to ask for help when they need it.

There are many sources for expert help and advice. There are great professional organizations like the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRA), and the Southern Public Relations Association (SPRF).

Many members of these associations are willing to pick up the phone for free to answer a simple question. If most don’t know the answer to your question, they’ll gladly refer you to a colleague who is an expert. You could even give them a shout on social media.

2) Public relations folks cause greater problems for themselves by trying to tackle tasks that they are not good at or for which they have no professional passion.

In my own career, my passion for dealing with the media and crisis communications lead me to develop a niche’, rather than opening a full-service PR agency. If I need other aspects of PR, I call other experts who have PR agencies in New Orleans, New York, Toronto or other cities around the world.

Trying to do what you don’t know how to do is noble. Trying, learning, and achieving great things are commendable. But reaching beyond your capabilities often leads to failure, which then leads to you being further undervalued by your employer. Sometimes you get fired when the failure is too big. Often the difference between success and failure is simply asking for professional help.

And based on the personality type, you need to realize that most of your employers do not understand your craft or your profession. They think it is easy. Business leaders think you can work miracles. CEOs expect you to create magic on a shoestring budget. And often you do create magic with no budget and it feels great when you do. But when you do, you reinforce the notion of every CFO that you don’t need a bigger budget to do what you do. In reality, often you need to push back and say, “No, we need an outside expert to help us with that because the value of success is important and a potential failure would be more costly.”

Some of you are blessed to be in organizations with a huge PR team with experts in many areas of social media, internal communications, employee engagement, corporate social responsibility, and media relations. Many of you wear too many hats and do it all by yourself, including marketing, branding, advertising, and customer service.

3) Public relations folks often wear too many hats and do it all by themselves, including marketing, branding, advertising, and customer service.

Before you reach too far and fail, consider picking up the phone and reaching out to a professional colleague to ask for advice, help, and mentorship.

 

Crisis communications and media training expert Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC is based in New Orleans. Organizations on five continents have relied on him to write their crisis communications plans and to train their spokespeople. He is the author of “Don’t Talk to the Media Until…”

More crisis communications articles:

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

The Biggest Lie in Crisis Communications

4 Steps Every Company Needs to Take in Order to Avoid the Default Spokesperson

 Photo

3 Lessons the Melania Trump Coat Can Teach All Public Relations People

Gerard Braud, CSP, Fellow IEC

Melania Trump Jacket Crisis Gerard BraudTalking about crisis communications, media relations and the Trump White House is difficult. Too many people want to look at issues only through the politics of whether they love or hate the Trumps. To appreciate this article and to comment on it, you cannot and must not let your love or hate of the Trumps enter your mind. My observations are about public relations and are neither left, right, nor center. They are PR. Are we good? If you agree, then read on…

If you were on Melania Trump’s team and saw her wearing her Zara designer jacket with the inscription, “I really don’t care. Do u?” while boarding her plane after visiting a controversial refugee center where children are being relocated and separated from their migrant parents, what would your PR instincts tell you to do? Keep in mind, that this could happen with one of your executives or their spouses.

Here are three public relations steps you can take:

1) Explain the optics and offer a Plan B.

The Trump White House is unique in that they either are oblivious to optics or they are comfortable enough with the level of support they receive from their base that they dismiss negative optics. But in this case, my suggested approach in any event with the potential for bad optics is for you to directly approach your leader, in this case, the First Lady (but in your case it could be an executive or a family member of one of your executives) and explain the consequences of their action.

The conversation might be, “Mrs. Trump, we just noticed that on your jacket are written the words, ‘I really don’t care.’ Mrs. Trump, you specifically made this trip to show you care. The writing on your jacket could lead to horrible consequences and criticism if the media, or the public, photograph you wearing that. Do you have another jacket that you can put on or should we stop and purchase one for you?”

When I was a journalist, I was a part of many political motorcades that stopped so the handlers could buy clothing between public appearances. For example, a candidate wearing a coat and tie to speak to a luncheon of CEOs may fail to see the optics of him wearing the same coat and tie to his 3 p.m. meeting with pig farmers on a farm.

Keep in mind, Mrs. Trump was also criticized for wearing high heels when leaving the White House to visit Texas flood victims last year. I saw it happen live and immediately commented on it to my wife. Later, Mrs. Trump showed up in tennis shoes. Ultimately, the staff must be ready to travel with a variety of wardrobe options in the event the executive has failed to think things through.

To be an expert in crisis management and communications, you must pride yourself on preventing the crisis, rather than priding yourself on your response after the crisis has unfolded.

2) Have the nerve to speak up if no one else will.

Often team members are afraid to speak up or are afraid of getting fired if they do speak up. In my opinion, you are not doing your job and you should be fired if you do not speak up. Your job should be to protect the reputation of your brand at all times, even if your brand is technically the image of the First Lady.

If you refuse to speak up, you are weak and do not deserve the job. Seats at the table are not offered to the weak. If you do speak up and get fired, you should celebrate the opportunity to move on and work in a place where your expert opinion is respected, rather than being miserably crushed like a bug.

3) Be willing to quit your job if the executive dismisses your suggestion.

We do not know if anyone on the First Lady’s team attempted to intervene. I’m sure there are a lot of layers of protocol before someone can successfully interject and stop a PR disaster from unfolding. But, if it is your job to speak up, and if you did speak up, and if you were rejected and sent away, then by all means… quit your job.

I’m constantly amazed by PR people who tell me their bosses will not listen to them. Routinely PR people tell me about how their bosses will not allow them to do their jobs properly. Really? You should quit.

The bonus tip:

And even though I promised three tips, here is a bonus fourth tip.

After the event has gone badly and you have to defend your executive, for goodness sake, learn to parse your words. Mrs. Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham issued a statement that read, “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.” Technically, it was a jacket. Technically, the words on the jacket constituted a message, as all words do. And technically, the message wasn’t hidden, but damn if it didn’t appear to be subliminal or oblivious to optics. If you are in charge of communications for the wife of one of the most powerful people on the planet, I would hope you could be a better wordsmith.

In conclusion, some powerful people are oblivious to optics; some don’t care. If you are in the communications profession, your entire purpose should be to care. If you keep getting rejected when you attempt to do what you know is professionally correct, it is the equivalent of asking someone if they would like fries and a large drink with that news release. You are little more than the person taking orders at a fast food restaurant… and your worth is about equal to the $8 an hour wage the burger employee makes.

Stand up. Be strong. Do your job… and do it well.

 

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PR Writing Tips on: What is the best way to begin a news release?

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On Monday we asked to hear your tips on this media relations discussion question. We polled our social media followers and BraudCast viewers to find out, “What is the best way to begin a news release?” It’s now time to share your best practices in our follow-up video.

Some of our viewers explained a few examples of what NOT to do to begin a news release. Others explained some of the tips they learned in their public relations and journalism educations. Should you begin with the most important information first? Or, if the article is going to be published and promoted online, should you write for search engine optimization? How can you tell if your press release will reach and engage your audience or the media outlets? What are some of your tips for writing the “lead?”

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Share Your PR Tips: What’s the best way to begin a news release?

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We want to hear your best practices on this media relations topic. Today we are asking you, our social media followers and BraudCast viewers, “What is the best way to begin a news release?”  Please share your tips with us and it may be shared this Friday in a follow-up video.

Public relations and journalism have been studied for decades. Now we have the analytics to track such PR writing and the results it may produce for your organization. So, are you using search engine optimization in your public relations and corporate communications writing? Or are you operating by the more traditional rules and standards that you learned in college? What press releases have greatly benefited your organization or your business? How do you deliver the good news, versus when your company is in a crisis situation?

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

PR Writing Discussion Question: Best Tip You’ve Ever Received for Writing News Releases


There is a particular art to writing a great news release. Writers must deliver the appropriate amount and type of emotion, as well as deliver the right amount of facts. They must focus on the information that is most valuable to their audiences. With legal teams battling the public relations and corporate communications writers over semantics, news releases are often delivered too late and ineffectively.

In order to engage with corporate communications professionals, and share best practices with our online public relations community, this week’s crisis communications discussion question is, “What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given for writing a news release?” What is that one tip that someone shared with you that you remember each time you write a news release?

We would love to hear your thoughts this week. Comment here and on our social media pages to join the discussion. Your answers may be featured in our follow-up video!

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite-size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

Step 3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the follow-up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

What’s the best piece of public relations advice you were ever given? Sharing follower’s answers

You may have been educated for years on public relations strategies, attending presentations, sitting in classrooms, joining professional PR associations like PRSA or PRSSA, hearing from advisors, professors, instructors, and professional speakers. Maybe you have heard some expert tips from your colleagues, or an influential boss. Maybe you have had some excellent public relations professionals or consultants help you strategize your PR plan for your company, school, hospital, or organization. Crisis communications expert Gerard Braud asked his social media followers, public relations professionals, and media relations experts, “What’s the best piece of public relations advice you were ever given?” Their answers are in and now you and your colleagues can benefit from these excellent answers.

We want you to add to the discussion and comment here and on our social media pages to share some of the best public relations advice you were ever given.

 

This question is one of a series of debates in the media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media industries where you and your colleagues can share observations with each other. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite-size bits of best practices. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

Step 3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the follow-up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.

Asking for your PR opinion: What is your best tip for writing great quotes for news releases?

By Gerard Braud –

 

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As a corporate writer or public relations professional, capturing the attention of your audience and writing effective news releases, let alone great quotes, is not an easy task.  That is why I am asking you to contribute to our weekly communications and PR discussion questions by sharing your best advice with your colleagues. Each week we seek your best public relations practices on the BraudCast. Your discussion question this week is, “What is your best tip for writing great quotes for news releases?”

As a journalist, a writer, a PR team member, how do you ensure you capture the attention of your audiences using quotes? How do you make sure that the quote doesn’t appear fabricated or written for the spokesperson? How do you make sure it sounds authentic, direct, and even heartfelt?

This question is one of a series of discussion questions about media relations, crisis communications, public relations, and social media. Yes, YOU are invited to share your bite size bits of best practices each week. Here is how:

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: You will see a short video that poses a new question every Monday. You then post your best practices and observations on The BraudCast YouTube channel.

3: Once your opinion is shared, you can follow the discussion online so you can compare your best practices to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Follow up Friday Video where you will see a short YouTube video outlining some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our BraudCast video, bringing you world-wide fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, and more.

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge. Please take 2 seconds now to subscribe to The BraudCast.