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What is the best way to get in touch with a busy reporter?

By Gerard Braud

For public relations professionals and corporate communicators, it can be difficult to grab the attention of the media.  I am asking for your bite-sized bits of best practices for getting in touch with busy reporters. This week and every week we seek your best communications practices on the BraudCast. Please share your comments on our social media and subscribe to the weekly question on the BraudCast YouTube Channel to participate each week.

Click here to watch and subscribe to the BraudCast

Click here to watch and subscribe to the BraudCast

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.

BraudCast Answer: What is your best advice to persuade your executives or CEO to take a media training class?

By Gerard Braud

It can be extremely difficult for public relations and corporate communications teams to convince their CEO or executives that one bad interview can severely harm their reputation or revenue. This week the BraudCast question was, “What is your best advice to persuade your executives or CEO to take a media training class?” PR and communications professionals weighed in around the world to share their best practices. Here is what they had to say, as well as my professional recommendations:

 

CEO media training 3Q braudcast

Click image to watch 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.

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.

BraudCast Question: What is your best advice to persuade your executives or CEO to take a media training class?

By Gerard Braud

CEOs and executives may fear embarrassment in a media training class, they may have a hectic schedule, or can’t justify spending their revenue on a media trainer. Public relations professionals and internal communications professionals often have a difficult time getting their CEO or executives to put media training on their calendar. This week the BraudCast question is, “What is your best advice to persuade your executives or CEO to take a media training class?” Please share your thoughts.

CEO media training 3Q braudcast

Click image to watch 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.

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.

Please Share Your Public Relations Smarts: Here is How

braudcast image

Click image to watch

Because you are so darn smart, it is time to share YOUR smarts. Your bite size bits of best practices are valuable to others just like you. So — ta-dah, drum roll – behold, The BraudCast 2.0 where you are invited to share your best practices in public relations, media relations, social media, crisis communications and employee communications.

Step 1: Subscribe to The BraudCast on YouTube

Step 2: Each Monday we will pose a question and I’d love to know your opinion.

You can post comments on The BraudCast YouTube Channel, on LinkedIn at Gerard Braud, or on Twitter @gbraud.

Step 3: After you post your opinion, follow the discussion online to compare your approach to those of your professional colleagues.

Step 4: Watch the Friday follow-up video. We’ll share a short video with some of the most interesting observations. Yes…your comments may actually show up on our Friday BraudCast video. And of course, for you, that means fame, fortune, a big raise, glory, street parades, etc.

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

Tutorial #17 Using Skype as Part of Your Crisis Communications Plan

Tutorial #17 by Gerard Braud —

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

As more media outlets cut back on the size of their news staff, they are seeking more videos provided by eyewitnesses or experts. This is where you come in… and this creates a huge opportunity for you. I am publishing this series of tutorials to show corporate spokespeople, public information officers (PIOs), emergency managers and public relations professionals that uploading your own videos to the web during your crisis needs to be a part of your crisis communications strategy.  The ultimate goal is for a major media outlet, such as CNN, to view your video and reach out to you to seek your official information.

These days, they will likely ask you to be interviewed via Skype.

If you are unfamiliar with Skype, visit www.skype.com and download the free application for you computer, smart phone and smart tablet.

The app allows you to make regular phone calls to regular telephone numbers, or it allows you to make a call from computer to computer with voice only, or you can set up a video chat from computer to computer.

CNN and the other news outlets want you to know how to set up the video chat.

Start by downloading the app. Next, set up your profile. Much like most social media sites, you can add your contact information and a photo.

CNN producers will then either call you or ask you to call them at an assigned time, during the news program. When it is time to go live, your Skype call is what the audience at home will see.

Take a look at this specific video tutorial to learn more.

The quality of the image on Skype varies, based on the strength of your internet signal. Sometimes the image may freeze while you are live on the air. Sometimes the call will get dropped completely.

The networks know they are taking a risk when they do a Skype call, but if your location and event is news worthy and they have no news crew of their own nearby, they are willing to take the risk.

In one of my previous tutorials I mentioned that a set of ear buds or a USB headset can be useful during your live report. If you use these, you will need to find the audio button on the Skype software and select input and output for the headsets, rather than using the computer or smart device’s external speakers and microphone.

The secret to getting it right is to practice on a clear sunny day, rather than attempting to learn the hard way under the time constraints of a crisis and significant news event. Set up your account, study the account until you know all of the buttons you need to push, then establish a call between you and a colleague so you can practice.

During your practice, you’ll want to incorporate many of the other lessons you’ve learned through these tutorials, including managing audio, lighting and movement, as well as what to say.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program,Social Media iReports.pdf so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

 

Tutorial #15 How to Prepare for a Live Skype Interview with Local or National Media

Tutorial # 15 By Gerard Braud

Click image to watch video

Click image to watch video

In this series of 23 articles and videos, you will learn the skills needed to film and publish an online news report video about your crisis. If your event is newsworthy and your video is shot professionally, it could lead to a live interview with local or national media.  If you are a spokesperson, public information officer (PIO), public relations professional or government agency, you should highly consider this process as a part of your crisis communications and media relations strategy.

If CNN sees your iReport and they like the content, a CNN producer will visit your profile page on CNN.com. They will collect your phone number and e-mail address and contact you, asking you to be a live guest on one of their programs.

Once a SKYPE connection has been established, you must be able to hear the producer talking to you and you must be able to hear the news anchors talking to you. If you are in a quiet location, you can turn up the volume on your smart phone or tablet and likely hear them just fine. But if there is a lot of background noise or blowing wind, you may find it necessary to use ear buds to hear the producers and news anchors.

Some ear buds have a built in microphone, which is optimal. Chances are, if it is too noisy for you to hear them, it may also be too noisy for them to hear you.

One option I select in some of my live reports is to use a USB SKYPE headset with my laptop. These headsets plug into my computer’s USB port. The headsets have earmuffs, that block out external noise so I can hear the news producers and news anchors. It also has a microphone on a flexible arm that gets very close to my mouth. This microphone makes it much easier for them to hear me, without them hearing the background noise.

Watch today’s video tutorial to learn more.

The ear buds come free with most smart devices. The USB headphones can be purchased at any electronics retailer.

As with all of the skills shared in these tutorials, you’ll want to practice on a clear sunny day by having a SKYPE call with a colleague. Don’t wait until the day of your crisis to try to sort out the technical aspects of this. The networks give you only one change to get it right. If you blow it, you are blacklisted and they will call someone who knows what they are doing.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF that outlines the program, Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

Social Media Collides With Mainstream Media: The Changing Landscape of Media Interviews in Good Times & Bad

By Gerard Braud

InterviewsAs social media and smart phones expand their reach, we are seeing a seismic shift that is sending tremors through the mainstream media landscape. This is creating both new challenges, as well as new opportunities for media spokespeople. Capitalizing on the opportunities requires you to adopt new approaches, learn new skills and be open to new realities.

If you are bold enough and brave enough to try something drastically new, then I’d love to meet you at the upcoming World Conference for the International Association of Business Communications in San Francisco. I’ve prepared an all-new special presentation for Monday, June 15 from 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Club Room. It only seats 100 people, so make plans to get their early.

This is not a lecture or a class but a do-and-learn workshop. You should come ready to write in the first hour, as well as to discuss the challenges you and/or your spokespeople have faced in previous media training classes or in previous interviews. If there is a problem, the first hour is dedicated to solving those problems so they never happen again. In fact, I’m ready for you to contact me outlining problems you’ve faced that you’d like to solve. Send an e-mail to me at gerard@braudcommunications.com with the subject line IABC Question.

Our focus in the first hour will include:

  • Discovering why the media landscape is changing
  • Learning the 4 things you must be ready to say in every interview
  • Rethinking your approach to media training

In the second hour you will be up on your feet unlocking the futuristic power of your smartphone, learning how to do remote interviews. Please make sure to bring either your smartphone or your iPad.

While many spokespeople complain about how the media operate, the reality is that you can learn to be an expert every time either you or an executive within your business speaks to the media.

Social media is one of the biggest trends changing the media. Free content is competing with professional content. The reality is news stories are being told by eyewitnesses with a smartphone faster than the story can be told by the mainstream media and faster than a corporation might be willing to tell the story of their own crisis.

As social media grabs more of the media’s audience, the media are watching their profits disappear. That means there are fewer reporters and photographers employed to tell your corporate story in good times and in times of crisis.

Where problems exist in the media we hope you see opportunities.

The greatest opportunity for someone who is a professional business communicator or public relations expert is, on one hand, to improve your own interview skills, and at the same time, learn new skills for doing interviews and creating videos that are as good as or better than the ones being supplied by eyewitnesses.

If you crave a chance to walk away with new skills that you can immediately use as soon as you are back at work, I look forward to meeting you at this workshop.

 

 

Hurricane Season Crisis & Emergency Communications: Why You Should be a CNN iReporter

By Gerard Braud

Click here to watch video

Click here to watch video

The future of crisis and emergency communications in hurricanes, natural disasters and other weather related events,  is in creating CNN iReports. It is a brilliant way to add to your crisis communications and media relations strategy. This strategy is perfect for public information officers (PIOs), emergency managers, and any corporate communications experts. Best of all, what you do for your iReport can be re-purposed and posted to YouTube, shared with The Weather Channel, and in many cases, uploaded through links with your local media outlets.

I started pioneering these reports as an experiment during Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 and then took it up a notch during Hurricane Isaac in 2012. You can do what I have done, provided you are willing to train and practice before the event is upon you. Since many of you will never have the chance to attend one of the live training sessions I teach at emergency management and public relations conferences, I thought you might benefit from this online tutorial.

I’ve created 23 online videos with associated articles on how and why you should be a CNN iReporter. When your organization faces a major crisis or news event that gets significant attention from your local news media, and has the ability be get national news attention, these will be useful.

I have extensive experience as an iReporter. In 2013, CNN selected me as one of their top iReporters, out of more than 11,000 reporters, for my in-depth coverage of Hurricane Isaac near New Orleans on August 28, 2012.

Most iReports are eyewitness accounts of events. They are filed by the average person on the street who sends photos, video and narration directly to CNN, in the very same way that they can send videos to YouTube. What you will learn in these 23 lessons also applies to placing videos on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter and your official website.

Who would you rather have posting photos, videos and narration? Should it be someone speculating about what they see? Would it be better if it came from an official source, with real knowledge of the event? Shouldn’t the media have official information from someone like you?

A CNN iReport is a direct path to one of the world’s premier news networks.

This link will take you to my tutorials on the CNN iReporter website. I hope you take the time to view, study, and share all 23 videos and articles.

This link will take you to the index for all of the articles and videos.

If you, like many others, think this information would be valuable as a workshop at a conference or corporate meeting, please call me at 985-624-9976. You can also download a PDF with a description of the program: Social Media iReports.pdf, so you can share it with your meeting planner or training manager.

 

4 Tips to Avoid the Worst Sentence in a News Release

wall-1312336_1920By Gerard Braud

The worst sentence to begin a news release is, “We are excited to announce…”

If you hire a so-called public relations expert to write your news release and they write this, you should fire them. If you have written this yourself because you’ve seen others do the same thing, please stop.

Nothing says you value yourself more than your audience or customers than the dreaded, “We are excited” sentence.

In the world of customer satisfaction, your goal should be to celebrate the joy and benefits that you bring to your customers.

Here are 4 tips to avoid the worst sentence in the world:

1. Stop writing it.

2. Begin your news release with a customer-focused sentence, such as, “If you need XYZ, your life is about to get easier because of a new product/gadget being introduced today.”

3. Measure your “I”/”we”/”you”/”them” use. Your news release should contain more sentences that focus on the customer than the company.

4. Measure your “how” to “why” use. Stop focusing on how your product works and focus on why it improves the lives of your customers.

There is no doubt that the internal decision makers are excited. But the key to better sales is to make the consumer excited. When the customer gets excited they buy. When they buy then you can really get excited.

 

 

 

Photo credit

6 PR Questions: Are You a Rug or a Flying Carpet?

Gerard Braud * 15By Gerard Braud

In your public relations and communications role, which are you? Are you a rug or a flying carpet?

My dream is for you to soar as a PR expert, being both a thought leader and a brilliant, innovative, practitioner of your craft. My fear is that you let the so-called leaders in your company walk all over you, dictating what you can and can’t do.

Here are 6 questions to help you determine the answer, if you don’t know it already:

#1 Do your corporate leaders comprehend the monetary benefit of what you do OR do they see you as a financial burden?

#2 Do you hear “no” so often that you are feeling defeated and underappreciated? OR do you get summoned on a regular basis to serve as strategic council?

#3 Is it hard to focus on your tasks and know what your goals are because your leaders spontaneously throw new tasks at you? OR Do your leaders give you room to develop a communications plan with strategic goals and editorial calendars?

#4 Are you in constant reactive mode to emerging issues and crisis communications? OR do your leaders encourage preparation by having a crisis communications plan tested with crisis communications drills?

#5 When it is time to do a media interview, do you hold your breath fearing what your leaders may blurt out to a reporter? OR do your leaders willingly participate in media training and actively prepare for an interview?

#6 Do your leaders lump together tasks such as marketing, graphic design, internal communications, public relations and social media? OR do they recognize that unique talents and skills are needed to properly master each task?

If you are agreeing with the negative premises above, then you are a rug. You allow your employer to walk all over you. You are in a low place. You probably hate your job. Chances are you need to hire a headhunter and find a new job.

If you are agreeing with the positive premises above, then you are a flying carpet who can soar in your career. The sky is the limit. Life is good and rewards will follow.

Life is too short to be unhappy. The decision to control your happiness should be in your hands and not the hands of someone else.