Thursday, June 24, 2010

Common Sense Media Advice

DO NOT conduct an interview and say insulting remarks about your boss and expect those remarks not to be published. The more you insult, the more headlines you will generate. If a news outlet knows it has a juicy story, it's going to pre-release the compelling material to other media outlets, so that it will get more buyers or viewers.

This applies to anyone: If you cannot say something nice, don't say it at all.

This applies to people in high-profile positions: If you say something not nice, it's a news story.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Attracting Faith-Based Media

Unless you listen to it, watch it or read it, you might not be aware that there are whole networks and publications created for those devoted to a particular religion. For example, many cities have their own edition of The Jewish Journal, and you may have seen Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.

You don't necessarily need to be pitching a story having to do with the Torah or churches to be featured on this kind of specific media, but you do have to explain to the reporter or producer why your angle fits his or her audience.

In my experience scheduling guests for Christian radio and TV networks, we were looking for parenting, education, health and topical (meaning current events) guests in addition to ministry guests. So you may be missing valuable publicity by not pursuing these outlets.

However, note that producers have a discerning ear. I would not, could not schedule guests who used profanity or coarse language. So cut out of your everyday conversation commonly-heard phrases such as: "Oh my God" or "Good Lord"--these are offensive to the faith-based media.

Once, I felt an author's topic would be helpful and interesting to our audience, but he laced his conversation with the phrases mentioned above. I asked if I could give him advice, and he was gracious about wanting it. I told him those phrases would have our phone lines lit up with negative calls--and he was flabbergasted. He was not aware that he was using those terms.

We ended up having him as in-studio guest, and he concentrated on his content and chose his words carefully. The phone lines did light up--because the listeners wanted a copy of his book.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Text Book Cases

In the 1980's, we studied the Tylenol tampering case to learn how to respond to crisis. Johnson & Johnson and its spin doctors reacted so well, that incident was a pattern for years to come.

In the 1990's, we had Food Lion's run in with ABC and Ford's exploding tires, and we learned more nuances of what to do in crisis response. We also had horrible tragedies such as Columbine and the Oklahoma City Bombing to prepare us for the unthinkable.

Then a new century evolved and we learned from Mayor Rudy Giuliani and others about saying the right thing when the sky is literally falling down around us.

Now, a new text book chapter is being written. The BP oil catastrophe will be analyzed from a crisis response for years to come. The initial take from media critics is that the company is doing some things well in terms of crisis communications and some aspects could use some work. For example, BP has been praised for its handling of social media. But reporters and observers are questioning the corporation's transparency, ability to solve the crisis, and wording on legitimate claims.

If there could be a silver lining to this ugly mess in the Gulf, it is that we all will learn more about responding to the public and the media when disaster strikes.