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Media training: Being prepared for an online crisis

As mentioned before in our blogs, social media should work hand in hand with your mainstream media strategy.  So when you prepare your media crisis management plan, make sure it includes social media channels.  Organisations that are prepared with a proper plan can come out of crisis situation without damaging or losing its valued reputation.

Here are a few tips to get everyone prepared:

1. Who does what 

It is important that roles and responsibilities are assigned before a crisis hits so information can be shared appropriately. Establishing rules ensures your team won’t do or say something damaging.  Remember to include rules around the use of social media.  All staff, from the Execs right through to junior and casual staff should be across the rules of social media engagement especially when something goes wrong.

2. Response procedure

Although every situation is different, being prepared with potential responses and guidelines will allow you and your team to respond as quickly as possible. This is essential in the event of a crisis situation where responses must be given immediately through social media channels.

3. Identify potential scenarios

Identifying the potential risks your organisation may face will help the team understand the typical type of crisis that might hit. Practicing crisis scenarios will test your team members and make sure they know what to do and how to handle a situation that is thrown their way.

4. Keep it up-to-date

Review your plan regularly, don’t just set it and forget it. Make sure to check in and evaluate the plan on an ongoing basis, and update it as need be. Put a reminder in your diary.

Think of your crisis management plan as an insurance policy.  Hopefully you won’t ever need to use it, but boy will you be grateful you have one if a crisis hits your business.

Media training: perfecting your brand message in an interview 

In our media training workshops, we will often get through an entire practice interview without a single mention of the organisation, or product the interviewee is there to talk about. When you have questions being fired at you it’s easy to forget exactly why you are there.

Even more surprising are the number of people we’ve worked with who have struggled to articulate exactly what their organisation does!

So how do you ensure your brand message comes through? Here are some tips to help with your interview preparation.

  1. Who are you/your company?
    Who you are may relate to your vision and mission. Who do you want to be and how do you plan to leave your mark? These messages embody the core of your being, your values, and your competitive advantages.
  2. What do you do?
    In basic terms, clearly and succinctly articulate what product or service you offer or provide to your clients. This isn’t a sales pitch so stick to the facts.
  3. What benefit do you bring to the audience?
    Tell it as if someone else, an objective third party, was sharing it with a friend or colleague. It’s easier to trust that third-party voice, and it’s the same voice journalists write in, so it may help your story get picked up if your message is well-crafted.
  4. What evidence do you have to support your position?
    This could be in the form of awards, recognition or testimonials from your best clients. Anything you can offer to validate your claims will enhance your credibility.

Once you have the messaging developed, it becomes your bible to inform and influence all content development, from your website to a media kit and the boilerplate of press releases. It will also play into advertising content, if you place paid media. So now there’s a consistent voice across all platforms: earned (editorial), owned (website and social media) and paid (advertising).

 

How Facebook is making Googley eyes at you.

googley eyes
We’re all used to seeing targeted ads on our Facebook newsfeed. When you create a profile as a 40+ female who likes Masterchef and The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills (much classier than the O.C. bunch), it’s not a big leap to see why they’re serving you up ads about losing tummy fat.  And if you’re a bloke drawing breath, Viagra will pop up on a regular basis. (Pun intended.)

But yesterday I realised Facebook now knows what I’m doing OUTSIDE of their pages.

In the morning a friend asked me if I had heard of a small, relatively obscure UK brand of jewellery. A few hours later, after I Googled this “Victoria Emerson” of the purportedly fabulous “wrap-around bracelets”, I opened my Facebook app to find THIS, front and centre of my newsfeed:

bracelet

My first thought was: “Cool, they’re on sale, which is excellent because $199 was a bit bloody steep.” Quickly followed by: “Weird, how could this possibly be a coincidence?”

And it’s not. Facebook is now targeting your web-browser and using information about what you search and view outside of Facebook, to inform what you see INSIDE of Facebook.

Predictably and innocuously they call it “Making Ads Better and Giving People More Control Over The Ads They See”.

The rest of the world calls it Online Behavioral Advertising and you can opt out of it here.

I’m very conflicted about all this. On one hand it’s a little creepy to know Facebook is making Googley eyes at me and my family every time we check out a website.

On the other hand, as a marketer who pays for Facebook’s ability to find my audience, I can see how it will make reach and engagement potentially so much better.

If your business sells products to new homeowners for example, you can now target them based on the real estate, removalist and locksmith websites they’re viewing. You’ll know exactly what they’re interested in and how you can help.

In view of the recent complaints that Facebook is no longer a free business tool, features like this can remove the guesswork and substantially improve your ROI. I’d be willing to bet most marketers would pay for that.

Victoria Nikulin http://www.mediafriendly.com.au/about/

Media Training: Interview Disaster

Oh dear.  This radio interview is a classic example of all the things you shouldn’t do when you talk to a journalist.

1. Agree to an interview when you have not prepared properly.  You should be very clear about the point you would like to make – don’t ‘wing’ it.

2. Agree to an interview whilst driving a car.  You need to be 100% focused on the interview.

3. Have someone in the background trying to prompt you.  In my experience this NEVER helps.

4.  Stop the interview mid way through and complain that the questions being asked were not the questions you were expecting.

5.  Hang up on the journalist.

By way of background the interview features Tom Tilley from Triple J talking to Kathy Ward from Chic Model Management about skinny models.

Triple J Hack Interview

Geoff Huegill apology all a bit wrong …..

As we all know an apology is about so much more than the word ‘sorry’.  It’s about tone of voice.  It’s about body language.  Does the person offering the apology look and sound sorry?

When Geoff Huegill faced the media pack camped outside his home recently to apologise over his arrest for alleged drug possession, one can only imagine how uncomfortable and nervous he must have been.  It was a brave thing to do.

But … watching his apology on the 6pm news I was struck both by the language he used and the smirk on his face.  He described the episode as a ”commotion” and then smiled directly into camera as he delivered his “I’m sorry” speech.

Body language and tone of voice MUST match the words you say – otherwise your audience just won’t buy the message.

Here’s hoping Geoff takes a big dose of humility before his court appearance in a few weeks.  I actually have no doubt he really is sorry.  He shouldn’t be afraid to show that.

As for the big, black get away car …. it might be a good idea to trade it in for something more discreet and inconspicuous.   A humble Mazda would do the trick.

 

Geoff Huegill’s apology

Media Training Tips: Eliminate uums and aahhs.

Australians are champions when it comes to peppering their speech with uums and aahhs.   Younger Aussies, particularly girls have replaced uum with “like”. Others have a tendency to overuse a favourite phrase: “‘to be honest”, ‘like I said before’, ”actually” and ”ectetera” just to name a few.

Old habits die hard and a few uums and aahs in my book don’t really matter – but when a presenter or spokesman uses them in every sentence it’s a habit that can really distract from the message.

While I’m yet to find a magic pill to cure this verbal afflication I really encourage my clients to slow down and before answering a question to take a breath.  Rather than uttering an um, try pausing.  Give your brain a chance to catch up and forumulate an answer.  As well as buying some much needed thinking time, a deliberate pause will provide punctuation in your delivery.  A pause can help to emphasise a word or a point, it can also provide some much needed light and shade in your speech pattern.

The second exercise you can try (and I’ve shamlessly stolen this idea from Mr Media Training, Brad Phillips) is to practice delivering a 30 second speel about anything without an uum, aahh or verbal stumble.  Any inanimate item will do as a topic:  your phone, handbag, a landmark – record yourself and listen to it back.  Remember to pause whenver you are tempted to throw in an uum!   With a little practice and some self awareness there is no doubt anyone can reduce what I call verbal garbage.

 

 

Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff and her slip of the tongue: Media Training Mistakes

Recently Peta Credlin, well known in political circles as Tony Abbott’s Chief of Staff made an unfortunate slip of the tongue when facing the media over a drink driving charge.  I’ve watched this clip a few times just to make sure I didn’t miss something ….

She addresses the waiting media pack with what seems to be a prepared speech.  She acknowledges her mistake, thanks police and the courts and then says ….

“Justice doesn’t have to be done, it has to be seen to be done.”

Watch the clip and see if  you agree with me.

 

I’m sure it was an honest mistake.

Incredibly The Australian fixed up her gaffe and quoted her as saying “Justice doesn’t just have to be done, it has to be seen to be done.”

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/election-2013/drink-drive-charge-dismissed-for-abbott-chief-of-staff-peta-credlin/story-fn9qr68y-1226715975509

But when her boss and other politicians are so harshly judged and scrutinized by the media, I wonder why Ms Credlin”s mistake was not even mentioned and in the case of The Australian, her quote was doctored so that the mistake was rectified.

What do you think?

Mediafriendly debuts on Paul Murray Live SKY News

I made my debut last night on Paul Murray Live – broadcast nightly at 9pm on SKY News.

I enjoyed some “robust” discussion with Gary Hardgrave, Jamilia Rizvi and Mitch Catlin on issues including Tony Abbott’s “sex appeal” slip, PEFO, Holden pay cuts and more.

Here’s the link to the podcast.

PM Live Podcast August 13