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MEDIA RELATIONS AS PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR YOUR FIRM OR by vix66821

VIEWS: 16 PAGES: 34

									         MEDIA RELATIONS AS
        PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR
           YOUR FIRM OR
           ORGANIZATION
           By Ronald F. “Rawn” Nelson, S.E.



May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress   1
               Media Relations
       Why should structural engineers be
       concerned about “Public Relations”?

   Structural engineers, as we all know, are
    experts in our field
   But when it comes down to the field of public
    relations –well that is another story
   Structural engineers need to be proactive in
    enhancing their image and goals for safe and
    economic structures

May 16, 2007        SEI Structures Congress     2
                       Media Relations
                       Structural Engineering

   Structural engineering is an extremely
    important profession.
   Structural engineering involves the stability
    and safety of places where people:
               •live            •shop
               •learn           •pray
               •work
                                •are entertained
                                •etc.
               •play

May 16, 2007                 SEI Structures Congress   3
               Media Relations
               Why media relations?
   The media’s influence on peoples’ opinion is
    immense.
   The understanding and support of structural
    engineers and the perception of their
    projects depends to a large extent on what
    the public and policy/decision makers:
      •hear on the radio
      •see on television
      •or read in the printed media

May 16, 2007         SEI Structures Congress       4
               Media Relations
               Why media relations?

   The effort starts by understanding that media
    relations are really public relations
   Good relationships depend on:
      •cooperation

      •openness

      •honesty

      •a willingness to admit problems and
      correct them
May 16, 2007         SEI Structures Congress    5
                Media Relations
               What is media relations?
   There are proactive and reactive media
    relationships:

        Proactive                   Reactive
        •new technology             •reporter inquiries
        •public policy              •clarifying issues
        •awards/honors              for the public
        •seminars with              •crisis
        dynamic
        speakers/topics
May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress             6
                 Media Relations
               What is media relations?
   The five most recognized media are:
      •Newspapers
      •Television
      •Radio
      •Wire Services
      •Magazines



May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress   7
                  Media Relations
               What is media relations?
   Media relations are most effective through
    local and regional outlets (city, county,
    section of a state, etc.).
   Relationships with local reporters are easier
    to develop and maintain
   Good local relationships will lead to larger
    regional or national coverage when required.

May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress      8
                  Media Relations
               What is media relations?

       A media interview is your chance to
        deliver the correct message and to
        project a positive impression of
        structural engineering and engineers.




May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress   9
                 Media Relations
               Understanding the media
                = better spokesperson
       Most structural engineers are not
        comfortable talking with the media.
       Training is available.
       SEAOC has prepared a “Media Relations
        Guidelines” available in PDF format by
        request at kevin@4arc.com
May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress   10
                 Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
       Written media messages such as
        News Releases, Letters to the Editor,
        Opinion Editorials, Public Service
        Announcements and Seeded Stories
        are all vital tools.
       But the live interview is where you
        can make the best impressions.


May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress   11
                  Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
       You need to recognize the different
        needs of the print, radio and
        broadcast reporters.
        •They are professionals, just like you.
        •They have deadlines.
        •They have egos.
        •They are experts in conducting interviews.
        •They are NOT experts in your field.

May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress    12
                Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
       TV Reporters:
         •deadline driven
         •visuals
         •need simple story (less than 120 seconds)
         •audiences are not experts, imagine you
         are talking to a ten year old.
         •reporters are “general assignment”.
         •typical prep-time for TV reporter = 45
         minutes
May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress    13
         Media & Public Relations
               Understanding the media
       In a TV interview:
      •    look at the reporter not the camera.
      •    keep answers under 10 seconds.
      •    you can stop and rephrase your answer
           (except for live TV)
      •    may be asked for “cutaway” shots
      •    remember the interview is not over until
           the reporter leaves

May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress        14
                 Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
       Interview scenarios:
      •    live/taped        •          remote or satellite
      •    edited/unedited •            listener/viewer call in
      •    in studio         •          solo vs. multi-guest
      •    on location       •          ambush
      •    telephone         •          press conference


May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress                15
                  Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
      Look your best:
      •  dress                       •watch your body
         professionally              language
      •  keep a suit coat            •glance in a mirror
         handy                       •scout around for a
      •  avoid white shirts          good site
         and loud patterns

May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress              16
                  Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
   Radio Reporters:
    • sound bite driven      •    rapid-fire discussions
    • interview heavy        •    many stories crammed
                                  into one news segment
  In a radio interview:
   • avoid cell &        • no time for small talk
     speaker phones • state key message at
   • short, sweet and      top of interview
     to-the-point        • have notes and talking
     answers               points in front of you
May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress          17
                  Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
   Print Reporters:
    • generally more    •         looking for secondary
      experienced                 leads
    • have more         •         If not prepared ask for
      consistent “beats”          idea of what they’re
                                  calling for and call
    • think in detail
                                  back in 15 minutes



May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress               18
                  Media Relations
               Understanding the Media
 In    a newspaper interview:
    •   over the phone          •    have on hand statistics,
        or in the office             recent articles or backup
    •   usually longer               on issue
        than TV                 •    ask if you can provide
        interviews                   further resources for
    •   more details                 story – consumers,
                                     clients or other industry
                                     professionals
May 16, 2007               SEI Structures Congress          19
                   Media Relations
                Techniques and Tactics –
               Mastering the media interview:
         prepare a few very carefully prepared,
          concise, and memorable thoughts
         message points are the thoughts you
          want your audience to remember –
          above all else “….if you remember only
          one thing remember this _____”


May 16, 2007             SEI Structures Congress   20
                   Media Relations
                Techniques and Tactics –
               Mastering the media interview:
       in the interview focus on your key
        message
       don’t dilute your message by having to
        many
       target your message to the audience
       your interview is your chance to tell your
        story.

May 16, 2007             SEI Structures Congress     21
                   Media Relations
                Techniques and Tactics –
               Mastering the media interview:
       an interview is not a confessional or a
        simple Q and A session
       you don’t have to tell everything you know
       if the subject is negative, the story will run
        without you
       if you talk, you can correct misinformation,
        promote a positive image and add balance

May 16, 2007             SEI Structures Congress     22
                     Media Relations
              Techniques and Tactics –
             Mastering the media interview:
              If you can’t talk:
                 •   give a reason.
                 • never say “No comment”

                 • try “That’s a privacy issue”, “We’re
                    still investigating” or “Until a decision
                    is made, I cannot speculate”
                 • repeat as often as necessary


May 16, 2007                 SEI Structures Congress        23
               Media Relations
           Techniques and Tactics –
          Mastering the media interview:
       If you can talk:
         • don’t fly blind

         • prepare and practice

         • develop a few main talking points

         • Anticipate questions and responses (one
            main point you intend to make or worst
            case scenario and response)

May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress   24
               Media Relations
           Techniques and Tactics –
          Mastering the media interview:
       Bridging: – gets you where you want to go
         • “Let’s look at that another way…”

         • “The real issue here is…”

         • “That speaks to a bigger point…”

       incorporate your key message into every
        answer
       you can always bridge

May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress       25
               Media Relations
           Techniques and Tactics –
          Mastering the media interview:
       During the interview:
        • everything you say is on the record

        • no joking

        • don’t repeat a negative or concede a
          false premise
        • repeat main points as often as necessary




May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress   26
               Media Relations
           Techniques and Tactics –
          Mastering the media interview:
       During the interview (cont.):
        • remember your audience

        • don’t over answer a question

        • simplify – avoid jargo and technical
          terms



May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress   27
               Media Relations
           Techniques and Tactics –
          Mastering the media interview:
       You can ask the reporter:
        • when the story will run

        • their phone number or e-mail for any
          follow-up
        • who else are they interviewing

        • focus of the story



May 16, 2007          SEI Structures Congress    28
               Media Relations
           Techniques and Tactics –
          Mastering the media interview:
       Don’t ask the reporter:
        • if you can see the story before it runs

        • if they are going to “slam you”

        • if they can make you sound smart

        • if they can read back quotes




May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress      29
               Media Relations
           Techniques and Tactics –
          Mastering the media interview:
       OOPS! If there’s an error:
        • contact the reporter first and be pleasant

        • if major error, ask for correction

        • if that fails, write a letter to the editor




May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress      30
               Media Relations
                    REMEMBER:
       you can impact the tone of a story
       speak in simple terms
       humanize your story
       be engaging and likeable
       be aware of deadlines
       stick to your main points
       you are in control of the interview

May 16, 2007           SEI Structures Congress   31
                 Media Relations
                      Conclusion

        structural engineers may never become
         media relations “experts”
        but a better understanding of and active
         participation in the process will help the
         media and the public have a better
         understanding of structural engineering



May 16, 2007            SEI Structures Congress       32
               Media Relations
               Conclusion (cont.)

    media relations and public relations are not
     what structural engineers were trained to do
    but these relations are important in
     successful ventures
    media and public relations should be
     considered as an “extension to marketing”
     for a firm or organization


May 16, 2007         SEI Structures Congress    33
               Media Relations
                Conclusion (cont.)

    if done properly:

         WE CAN ENHANCE THE
        IMAGE OF STRUCTURAL
             ENGINEERING

May 16, 2007             SEI Structures Congress   34

								
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