Media Training and Preparedness4th Annual National Asian & Pacific Islander HIV Awareness Day Presented by Tanya Hilleary Riverbyte Communications, LLC On 5/8/08
Objectives of this session • Message Development: Keeping it Simple • Explain the art of Media Relations • Effective Media Outreach • Tricks of the Trade • Crisis Communications 101 • Banyan Tree Tools – Walk through
Messaging: Keep It Simple • Messages should be 1-2 sentences– If they require a paragraph or more, keep working! Example: Our hope is our May 19 awareness events focus attention on the rising rates of HIV/AIDS in A&PI communities andreduce related discrimination and stigma.
Message Development • What do people need to know, believe, and care about to become engaged with your organization or issue? • What obstacles or misconceptions do you need to overcome to get people engaged?
Message Development • What needs to happen, or what to people need to do, to meet your organization’s goals or have an impact on your issue? • If people did this, how would things be different?
Making the Connection When your organization appears in a news story, not only do you reach the publication’s audience directly, you also can point your prospects to the piece later, using reprints or Web links. Media coverage means legitimacy.
Making the Connection Target one reporter at a time.Taking the time to read a publication and then crafting a unique pitch to a particular journalist can work wonders. Mention a specific article he/she wrote and then explain why your organization or event would be interesting for the journalist to look at. Make certain to target the subject line of the e-mail to help ensure that it gets opened.
Making the Connection Help the journalist to understand the big picture.Often it's difficult to understand how your organization’s efforts actually fit into a wider trend. You make a journalist's job much easier if you describe the big picture of why your group is interesting. Often this helps you get mentioned in the reporter’s future articles or columns about trends in your space.
Making the Connection Explain how individuals benefit from your program and work with your organization.Reporters hear hundreds of pitches from spokespeople about public awareness events and campaigns. But it’s much more useful to hear about a campaign in action from someone who actually benefits from it. If you can set up interviews with clients or provide written case studies of how you’ve increased awareness of HIV in the community, it will be much easier for journalists to write about your organization.
Making the Connection Don't send e-mail attachments unless asked.These days, it is a rare journalist indeed who opens an unexpected e-mail attachment, even from a recognized company. Yet many PR people still distribute news releases as e-mail attachments. Don't. Send plain text e-mails instead. If you're asked for other information, you can follow up with attachments, but be sure to clearly reference in the e-mail what you’re sending and why, so the journalist will remember asking for it.
Making the Connection Follow up promptly with potential contacts. A reporter says:“Recently I agreed to interview a senior executive at a large non-profit. An eager PR person set it up, and we agreed on date and time. But I never got the promised follow-up information via email, which was supposed to include the telephone number to reach the executive. Duh. Needless to say, the interview didn't happen.” Make certain you follow up as promised.
From the Newsroom • All stories are written as inverted pyramids • Follow-up with reporters on key points • Relationships work; put some goodwill in the bank • Don’t hide if it’s not great news • You need professional help! Tap your consultant as your local resource.
“Earned Media” • Public Relations is called earned media – not paid advertising • Risk is you don’t control final outcome • Spokespeople can control questions asked, and even whether to answer them
Media Outreach: Care and Feeding of News Reporters Be aware of deadlines.Magazine deadlines can be as much as six months before the publication date, television six weeks, daily papers can be one to two weeks if it involves a calendar listing and weeklies may require two to four weeks advanced notice. Consider the timing of your news.Can the story be held for the weekend? The media have more room on weekend broadcasts or in a weekend edition of the paper to include the story. Please note that Sundays are an excellent time to have stories placed - the Sunday, 10 p.m. news maintains one of the highest weekly ratings, and circulation is highest for daily newspapers on Sundays when more readers have the opportunity to examine the paper in greater detail.
Media Outreach Avoid sending releases on Mondays or Fridays.Because (a) reporters are human and they take long weekends too, and (b) many businesses distribute news releases on those days to either garner press coverage or in an attempt to bury it - yours could get lost in the shuffle. Consider the news value of what you are pitching.Will a mass audience really care about what you are announcing? It may be best only for select media. Determine your audience.Are you trying to reach just the local community that you serve? Do you want to reach the entire state to attract visitors to your community? If you are putting together a workshop, for example, do you need to let the entire community know about it?
Media Preparedness • What is your objective? – community image, change behavior, raise funds… • What’s your headline? – envision best outcomes • What to avoid – Achilles heel? • Who is the audience – PR consultant can help ID in your local market. Always talk to the needs of that audience.
Interviews • News interview is a business transaction. • Not here to make a “friend” • Medium is information, not money • The reporter is my customer • You are filling the news hole for that pub
Knowledge is Power • What is the subject of the interview? • What is your organization’s role in the piece? • Are you the focus or a supporting player? • Who else are they interviewing? • What is the interview format? One-on-one? Panel? Live Broadcast? Call in? Edited on tape?
Knowledge is Power • What outlet is it for? • Does it reach your target audience? • What’s the outlet format? Print? Broadcast? • How long will the interview be? • For print pieces, do they need a photo? • For broadcast interviews, will they need to pre-interview the spokesperson?
Tricks of the Trade • Bridging – to core message/transition “Another thing to remember is…” “If you look closely, you’ll find…” “That reminds me of…” • Flipping – back to the reporter (to message) “That’s not my area of expertise, but I think your audience would be interested in knowing…” “Let me answer you by saying…”
Tricks of the Trade • Hooking – “3 things” or “2 mistakes” “Three things people should know about HIV in our community are…” • Flagging – the important point “The important point here is this…” “The real issue here is…” • Cherry Picking – answer the question you want! White House Press Conferences are full of these! • Telescoping – Explode to bigger picture “What that means is…”
“No Comment” or Off The Record • Best to give a reason if you decline to comment “I’m afraid that’s not my area of expertise, but I can put you in touch with someone who can speak to that issue…” • Reporter has legitimate right to ask why you slated the interview. • There is no such thing as Off-the-Record! Really. You can choose not to answer • You have the right to remain silent. Let pregnant pauses lapse (they’ll get filled)
Thinking Through Answers • Critical to think on your feet • Always give headlines first – memorable sound bites work • Use examples, analogies, anecdotes (even clichés and slang – audience will ‘get it’) • Keep it simple – never speculate; don’t try to answer hypothetical questions
Rules for a Successful Interview • Don’t have more than 3 messages. • All messages should support your organization’s main goals • Messages are not soundbites – they are ideas you are trying to communicate • Messages are reinforced by soundbites • Consistent message is critical across all efforts, not just media relations
What to Wear on the Air Men • Solid suits in gray or navy • Cream, blue or other light-colored shirt • Careful with tie – complicated patterns create illusions on TV! Women • Solid, bright colors are best • Avoid all-white or cream and busy prints • No heavy jewelry • Everyday make-up
The *&^%$#@! Factor When in a crisis: • Rely on your core messages and make necessary alterations • Rely on your partners and teammates in the effort- When in a crisis, you’re rarely alone in the communications effort! • Rely on relationships to help you communicate the message effectively
Banyan Tree Project Communications Toolkit Please use the BTP Communications Toolkit as a resource for your media planning and implementation: http://www.banyantreeproject.org/resources.html If you need technical assistance in planning and implementing your May 19th event or other HIV stigma related activities, please contact Dr. Sheoran at firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-292-3400 ext 365
Tanya F. Hilleary, President Riverbyte Communications, LLC email@example.com 703-476-5679