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Peter's Blog

A few things to know about news conferences

Posted on February 1, 2019 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (0)

A news conference is a media event to which newsmakers invite journalists to hear them speak and, afterwards, ask questions.

There are two main reasons for holding a news conference.

  1. So a newsmaker who gets many questions from reporters can answer them all at once.
  2. So an organization that thinks it has a newsworthy announcement, launch, or product can attract wide-spread media attention.

Typically at a news conference, a spokesperson will make a statement. Once the spokesperson is finished making the statement, he/she may take questions from reporters. Occasionally, there is a statement with no questions permitted.

If there’s no statement made or questions allowed, it’s simply a photo opportunity.

In today’s 24 hour news environment, TV news programs air for hours at a time, and internet outlets around the globe track breaking news instantly. In order to meet this kind of demand, editors have a steadily increasing need for newsworthy footage. News conferences can be a useful way to help satisfy this appetite.

Who holds news conferences? Here are a few examples:
  • Politicians (Prime Ministers, Presidents etc.)
  • Sports teams
  • Celebrities or film studios
  • Commercial organizations
  • Attorneys

A news conference is often announced by sending an advisory or news release to media outlets in advance. Sometimes an impromptu news conference can occur as several reporters gather around a newsmaker. Such a news conference is called a ‘scrum.’

Where can a news conference be held? Just about anywhere.

  • The Press Gallery on Parliament Hill
  • The White House Press Room
  • The scene of a crime
  • Hotel conference rooms

Identifying your audience

Posted on January 21, 2019 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Before implementing any kind of public relations campaign, it is important to know who you are speaking to.

In short, you must identify your target audiences.

These are the people who will be impacted by the key messages you’re planning to communicate. The more information you can gather on each stakeholder group the easier it will be to develop objectives, strategies and tactics for talking to them.

The key to properly defining target audiences is to understand how they are involved and affected by the story you’re telling. What do they know about it? How do they feel about it? Are they a part of it? And how will they react to it?

You might define your target publics based on geography, demographics, psychographics, covert power, position, membership, reputation (i.e. opinion leaders, influencers), or role. These can be used alone or in combination in order to identify audiences.

Identifying your audience is key to deciding which media should be used to communicate with them.

PR is an investment

Posted on January 12, 2019 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

On a number of occasions I have come across people and organizations who view public relations / corporate communications in much the same way as advertising. They expect to see instant results.

When you place an ad you know when and where it will appear. In fact, you will even be able to pick the dates or length of time you would like the ad to run. You'll also know exactly what size it will be.

With public relations, you won't know exactly when and where it will appear (initially) and you won't know how long any resulting article might be.

Public Relations is about investment. Investment of time, building relationships and building trust. Professionals in the communication field help to manage these investments on behalf of their clients.

Reporters need to know that you are a reliable resource. They need story ideas from you that are targeted towards the audience of their particular publication/media outlet. PR professionals work to ensure that these requirements are met through keeping media contacts cross numerous industries.

At times, there will be a lot of back and forth with reporters to work out the details of stories. It might take a few weeks, or even a few months, to nurse the story to eventual publication. There may be a number of angles that need to be covered. Different publications might look at the story from a different viewpoint or be interested in different aspects of the story.

The payoff in all of this is that articles published by local, regional and national media outlets will convey a lot more information about your product, service or organization. Not only will it re-enforce the marketing efforts already undertaken, it will create a buzz and provide credibility that marketing alone simply cannot provide.

Perfecting your brand voice...

Posted on April 23, 2017 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This article provides some great tips on how to perfect your brand voice. For me, the one that jumps out most is "be a storyteller." http://bit.ly/2pT4YAD

So many things can impact the way our messages are received & interpreted

Posted on November 25, 2016 at 11:45 PM Comments comments (0)

This article on the art and science of emotional engagement underscores one of the many filters that impact how our key messages are received and interpreted by audiences. We have so many things to consider when putting together our communication vehicles.

A simple, yet illuminating, description of content marketing

Posted on November 23, 2016 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (0)

By outlining an interaction with a candidate campaigning at a train station, this article captures the essence of content marketing. Check it out and leave your thougths in the comment section below this post.

Is any publicity good publicity?

Posted on September 20, 2016 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

It's not true that any publicity is good publicity. Simply getting into the news isn't good enough. Publicity that is off message can damage a reputation you've been working for years to build. It can take decades to build a reputation and only seconds to tear it down. That's why companies and public figures need to... have a communications strategy.

Blogging, a powerful public relations tool

Posted on August 19, 2016 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Today I recieved news of the passing of a long time friend and former business partner. I've spent a lot of time today reflecting on our friendship and business venture, Strategic Communications Solutions. We had a lot of fun over the years, especially when we were conducting media training or giving seminars. Colin could always roleplay the toughest journalists. If clients could survivie a mock interview with him, they surely would be okay in the real world.

As part of reflecting today, I've been looking back on some of the work we did together and some of Colin's writing. Below is a post that was originally on the Strategic Communications Solutions website about the power of blogging. I think many of the points that Colin makes are still relevant today. A fitting tribute to a friend, colleage, business partner and all-round great communicator.

Blogging, a powerful public relations tool

By Colin Reade

Blogs are growing both in number and influence every day. Like letters, they are personality driven. However, unlike letters, they also generate conversations between groups, generate discussion and invite feedback. The potential for blogging’s influence in the corporate sphere is just beginning.

Without the Internet and blogs, we might never have found out about some of the news stories that have defined the new millennium. The Abu Ghraib scandal broke on blogs; bloggers gave us first hand accounts of Hurricane Katrina as she crashed down on New Orleans; bloggers were first to expose the holes in the Liberal Party of Canada’s election campaign in 2006.

Further enforcing the significance of blogs, a number of bloggers have been hired by mainstream media outlets. For example: Baghdad blogger Salam Pax has been hired by The Guardian to write a column.

Businesses are increasingly moving to blogging and monitoring of blogs to find out about consumer preferences and feedback on their products – replacing traditional surveys.

Detailed surveys can take months to compile, summarize and analyze. Groups of 40 or more persons would be questioned one-on-one in order to measure their thoughts and perceptions. The results were then used to drive marketing and communications strategies.

Today, blogs can provide the same benefit, but are a more efficient and cost effective means of gathering information.

Consider, for a moment, Bob Lutz of General Motors. Over 10,000 respondents have expressed their opinion of GM and GM products on his Fast Lane blog. Just think how long it would have taken to survey these people. GM is able to get the information from their blog in real-time and it’s totally unfiltered!

In addition to being a great way to collect data and feedback, blogs are effective in establishing thought leadership, building deeper communities and creating stronger customer relations.

Who needs public relations?

Posted on March 26, 2016 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Is there a certain size a company needs to be before they can utilize public relations? Is public relations only for established companies? Is public relations just for business? If I'm doing marketing, do I need to do public relations?

These are all good questions. In fact, they're questions that many small and medium size business owners ask themselves.

Let's start by addressing the question of size. This is an instance where size DOESN'T matter. Public relations can benefit an organization of any size. Whether you're a one person company or have a fully staffed office.

If you're in the stages of starting up your business and don't have the budget to hire someone to do your public relations, you can easily manage some basic PR yourself by making contacts with industry media, drafting press releases, getting involved in your community events, etc.

A mid-sized business might consider hiring an agency (perhaps a boutique agency as they tend to be much more affordable) to be their virtual PR department. Such a company might have a point person within their organization to coordinate with the agency.

Whether you're a small or medium sized company, your public relations efforts will build visibility, credibility, and motivate your customer base to interact with you - moving them towards a purchase.

Public relations isn't only for established companies. In fact, it is amazingly successful in helping new companies become noticed, bringing attention to new products, and re-defining brands. Public relations helps to shape the public's opinion/view of your organization, so it can be used by an organization at any stage of it's life cycle. Different strategies can be tailored for each organization's specific goals.

But what if you are your product; you are the brand. Can public relations help you? The answer is yes. Public relations helps people to build visibility for their books, for speaking engagements, establishes them as industry experts, and helps them spread their message.

Speaking of getting the message out, many companies already have marketing departments and wonder if they're doing marketing, should they do any PR. The answer is overwhelmingly YES. Public relations and marketing are two different things. But, they complement eachother well when done together. Public relations raises visibility and awareness of the brand while marketing works to keep the brand, organization or individual in mind. With both marketing and public relations working together, the likelihood of gaining a client or making a sale is dramatically increased.

Image Source: www.jisc.ac.uk

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10 Steps Towards Building Long-term Relationships with Journalists

Posted on March 13, 2016 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

I've touched on the importance of building relationships in previous blog posts and tweets. And as it's an important part of what public relations professionals do, I thought I'd share this infographic from MediaMiser. Take a look at this visualization and see if you agree with the steps listed. Are there any additional ones that work for you? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

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