Media spokespeople: Get out of 'CSI' mode!

Without realizing they're doing it, many media spokespeople put themselves in what I call CSI mode. They default to a role that's the equivalent of a suspect being interrogated by the police. And when it comes to conducting media interviews on behalf of your brand, that's not a winning approach...

Stop treating your media interviews like police interrogations

Stop treating your media interviews like police interrogations

You've seen it a million times on shows like CSI, Cold Case, Law & Order and NCIS. They cut away from a commercial and suddenly, you're transported to the interrogation room. It's just a table, a few chairs and a one-way mirror. But this is a room with a lot of baggage. Before anyone says a word, the power dynamic is already well established. There's no doubt about the fact that...

Read More

Persistence

Persistence

I did a talk in January on the importance of doing videos for your business. For years, I've been telling companies and clients this but I refrained from doing it for my own business. The biggest reason is that it's outside my comfort zone. I prefer to be the guy behind the camera. But I asked everyone in that room to create a video and I promised to do one myself. So here it is. If I had to do just one video, this had to be the topic. Persistence. I truly believe that's the main reason I've had any degree of success in building a business over the past 14 years. The link to the video is in my bio. Thanks for watching and please share it with anyone who needs a nudge or a kick in the butt to pursue their goals. 

Read More

Don't trust your spokespeople with a media training tourist

Don't trust your spokespeople with a media training tourist

Being asked to prepare a company's spokespeople to deal with the media is a huge honor and it's a big responsibility. One way or another, as a media trainer, your ability (or inability) to coach these people will impact the quality of their company's media coverage, their brand and, to an extent, their professional legacies. Because there's so much riding on the outcome of your media training program, if you're serious about preparing your executives to deal with the media as effectively as possible, you need to stay away from media training 'tourists'... 

Read More

How (and why) to create a Snapchat geofilter for your next event

How (and why) to create a Snapchat geofilter for your next event

I know what some of you are thinking: "Snapchat is for kids. It's not for businesses. And it's certainly not for our business." It's funny. That's what a lot of marketing types were saying about Facebook back in 2010. Six years later, virtually every company has a presence on Facebook and the platform generated $17 billion in ad revenue last year.

There's a huge and relatively new marketing opportunity on Snapchat right now. They're called 'On-Demand Geofilters'. These filters are essentially location-based ads for brands, businesses, events and individuals. They're cool, the engagement levels with users are high and (for now, at least) they are a very, very cost-effective way of promoting your brand. 

Read More

Stop talking about video. Do it!

Stop talking about video. Do it!

If your organization is still sitting on the sidelines when it comes to creating and sharing video content, you need to understand that you're missing out on one of the single most effective communication platforms available. Don't just take my word for it. Consider this:

  • 74% of all internet traffic will be video in 2017 (Syndacast)
  • Between April and November of 2015, the number of daily video views on Facebook went from 4 billion to 8 billion (TechCrunch - November 2015)
  • Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content (buffersocial)
  • 51% of marketing professionals say video is the type of content with the best ROI (Digital Marketing Blog - April 2015)
Read More

Don't be a media interview passenger

Don't be a media interview passenger

One of the biggest errors spokespeople make is giving the journalist way too much control over the interview process. Yes, the reporter gets to ask the questions. But that doesn't mean you should hand over 100% control of the exchange to them. If you do, I guarantee that you will be disappointed with your media coverage over the long term. Instead of asking you to participate in a media interview, imagine the reporter asked you to go on a car ride. 

Read More

Reporters are not out to get you

Reporters are not out to get you

There are a lot of media coaches out there who like to push the idea that reporters are the bad guys. It’s a training approach founded on fear. It’s also (in my opinion) based on a false premise. It’s counterproductive. And it prevents spokespeople from understanding how they should really be approaching media interviews.  

Read More

Getting the media to pay attention to your association

Getting the media to pay attention to your association

Every year, associations spend millions of dollars trying to convince news outlets to cover their stories. The majority of these pitches suffer the same fate: deletion. With a few small changes, however, you can significantly increase your odds of getting a reporter's attention and providing you with the media coverage you're seeking. 

Read More

Dr. Charles Drake: Medical Miracleworker

Dr. Charles Drake: Medical Miracleworker

This year marks my 20th anniversary of getting into the corporate communications business. But before making the leap into the corporate world, I did work as a journalist for a few months. I was going through some old things recently and found this article, which was the first freelance story I had published after getting my journalism degree. It was published 20 years ago this week in a short-lived newspaper called The Forest City News, based in London, Ontario. It tells the story of a great Canadian who passed away in 1998. And two decades and millions of words later, it's probably my favourite thing I've written to-date... 

Read More

A TV journalist's tips for your first on-camera interview

A TV journalist's tips for your first on-camera interview

This usually goes down in one of two ways: 

  1. The moment is finally here. You've pitched, you've pressed, you've cajoled and there you have it. Your first TV interview. Congratulations! Or...
  2. The moment is finally here. You've been pressured, you've been cajoled and you've contemplated therapy to help you cope with the knots in your gut as you await your first TV interview. 
Read More

Why media relations is a must-have skill for today's municipal leaders

Why media relations is a must-have skill for today's municipal leaders

Municipal leaders, particularly mayors, have been in the headlines in Canada this past few years for a wide variety of reasons - some positive and others, well, not so much. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has to take the prize for the sheer amount of media coverage, but virtually all of that media coverage was negative. Michael Applebaum resigned as ...

Read More

Advice for PR and CorpComms grads

Advice for PR and CorpComms grads

I received a tweet yesterday from @AntoineSarpong in the PR program at Centennial College asking for advice for PR and communications grads. Getting that first job in your chosen profession can be a big source of anxiety. I wanted to reply with something a bit longer than 140 characters. So here, in good old long form, is my advice for the PR and corporate communications grads of 2013: 

Read More

Are Rob Ford's talking points working?

Are Rob Ford's talking points working?

Rob Ford and his brother Doug launched an ambitious media blitz last week to hit back at critics. But how effective was their strategy? I had a chance to chat with Elissa Freeman of Canada.com a few days ago to give her my two cents about Rob Ford's PR strategy (or lack thereof). Other PR folks who weighed in with their opinions were Jodi Echakowitz of Echo Communications and Diana Conconi

You can read the article here. Thanks to Elissa and Canada.com for asking me to participate. 

Read More

Rob Ford beats Obamacare, Fukushima and Lady Gaga for news searches

Rob Ford beats Obamacare, Fukushima and Lady Gaga for news searches

Thanks to the six-month long Crackgate scandal and the ensuing media coverage Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is one of the most recognizable people in the world. Ford has become a running segment on The Daily Show. He's been ridiculed by David Letterman, Jay Leno, the Jimmies (Kimmel and Fallon), Howard Stern and Saturday Night Live. It seems like the whole world is talking about Toronto's mayor. But is there an objective way to see how big the Rob Ford story really is?

Read More