Navigating COVID-19 with PR’s Top Pros – Tamara Norman



Employees are your number one stakeholder. Companies need to be empathetic and responsive to their employee needs now more than ever. During these times communicators really need to understand what their audiences care about and what’s important to them. This way communicators can adapt their strategy to reach the audiences effectively. Tamara’s suggestions include leveraging media and TV to go the stakeholders directly, be transparent and show what your response is to the new norm.

She also stresses the importance of maintaining diversity and educating the workforce on inclusion, even as we move into a virtual office environment.

Navigating COVID-19 with PR’s Top Pros – Michael Kempner

The actions brands take today will have significant impact on how they perform during the next phase of the COVID economy. Those are among the key findings of a consumer study recently published by MWWPR. In his conversation with Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, Michael shares how brands can show leadership to stakeholders including customers and employees during this challenging time.

 

 

Navigating COVID-19 with PR’s Top Pros – Lisa Ross

Lisa emphasizes the importance of taking action in this moment – especially regarding the dramatic effects of COVID-19 on historically-marginalized communities. She notes the responsibility for brands to be serving and solving, rather than selling. And she notes that, despite low marks for all four institutions studied in Edelman’s Trust Barometer in January, the pandemic offers government, business, nonprofits and the media a chance to rebuild trust with their actions.

Check out Lisa’s most recent research piece.

Navigating COVID-19 with PR’s Top Pros – Jim Joseph

It’s time to rethink your value as a brand. Brands need to seek new ways to offer value that goes beyond products and services. In his discussion with Doug Simon, CEO at D S Simon Media, Jim Joseph also encourages to listen closely to why customers are making the decisions they are–the subject of his new book The Conscious Marketer.

It’s also more important now to make appearances in the media and inform the public on the changes you’re making to ensure public safety and how they’re taking care of their employees during these times.

COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros – Episode 5: Tips for “At Home” TV Interviews

So, you’ve landed your client or senior leader an interview opportunity on a major outlet. You want to make sure they’ll look and sound their best in this era of Skype, Zoom and Cisco Webex interviews. While audiences have quickly gotten used to cable news interviews from home environments, the better the picture and sound quality, the more effective your message. In this issue of COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros, we provide you with tips on:

 

Video Set Up

Position the camera at eye level or slightly above to give you the most complimentary appearance. We’ve found Zoom provides the best video quality and is easiest to use.
Make sure the device and program you use can send the signal in landscape 16 x 9 mode. Note: Using Zoom on an iPhone will not send in full 16 x 9 so that is not ideal.
Frame the shot just slightly above your head to your belly button or slightly above. This allows the station to crop out your name and other information that appears on the bottom of your screen that shouldn’t be broadcast.

 

Lighting and Your Appearance

The best option is to be in a room that is evenly lit.
If you add light, it should be in front of you and above you. If it’s too bright push it further from you.
Avoid a window in the background as it causes a light imbalance during the day and reflections at night.
Avoid shooting against a flat wall. Shooting in corners gives the shot more depth.
Wear solid colors. Their transmission takes up less bandwidth than busy patterns.
If you don’t use make up, wash your face with a non-abrasive soap beforehand and pat it dry. Dab your face with a tissue beforehand to absorb oils.

 

Audio

It’s best to use in ear headsets to limit audio feedback from a speaker and deliver the best audio quality as the microphone is near you.
Wireless ear buds eliminate the visual of wires in front of you.
If you don’t have wireless ear buds, a headphone extension cord will allow you to run the wires behind you for a better visual. Consider using masking tape to tape the wires to your clothing behind you so it won’t fall out during the interview.
Identify a quiet place in your home to broadcast from. Notify others in your home to keep sounds down and not interrupt you.

 

Make Sure You Do This

Look at the camera! It seems easy but we frequently look at the other images on screen instead of the camera. Use a Post-it note or tape to point to, and focus your attention directly on, the camera.
Test everything in advance. Do a practice interview using the spokesperson’s set-up to make sure you check all best practices.
Turn off notifications on whatever device you are using so it doesn’t interrupt the conversation
Have your PR team connect with the spokesperson to provide tips up until the interview starts, if needed

 

Need some help getting ready for an interview? D S Simon Media is providing free tech checks to help make sure spokespeople deliver the best audio and video quality for their next TV interview. Contact Doug Simon, dougs@dssimonmedia.com to schedule.

COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros – Episode 4: What Are Brands Doing?

How are brands getting their stories on television? Does the media interest voiced in surveys match their actual interest when it comes to scheduling interviews with actual spokespeople? How is technology helping to put brand stories on television?

We address those questions in this issue of COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros. We put the “media interest” question to the test in one day of pitching a lifestyle story on creating relaxing spaces in your home to help you relax. The result? 23 earned media interviews were booked in one day of pitching. This “new normal” far outstrips what expected results would have been before the crisis.

 

The demand is there, but how are media tours handled with limits on travel and shelter in place requirements?

Here’s how they work: From anywhere in the world, and from the comfort and safety of their own homes, spokespeople are able to connect with our control room via Skype, Zoom or WebEx and are then connected via satellite to TV stations around the country. Clients are able to tune in via a web stream to provide feedback and engage in the process.

Finally, when brands don’t have a spokesperson available or the budget to own their own story, we are seeing an increased interest in partnering with lifestyle, technology, and wellness experts who share how products and services are helping to make lives easier during this difficult time.

COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros – Episode 3: Radio Survey Results

In the third edition of COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros we share the first results of our radio survey. 25 radio stations responded.
 

According to Nielsen, radio audiences are increasing substantially as more people work from home.
92% of the stations were interested in a coronavirus related story.
88% of the stations were interested in interviewing a brand expert in a general story unrelated to the virus.

Radio is the fastest and lowest cost way to reach millions of people. It’s convenient as the spokesperson and communications team never have to leave home. It’s also crucial to include radio because employees listen to radio and you can easily target specific markets while you are creating your crisis communications plan.

COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros – Episode 2: TV Survey Results

In this edition of COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros we share the first results of our TV station local news survey. 52 stations responded.
 

87% of stations said they would take a story related to the virus from brands or non-profits.
77% would take a health story not related to the virus.
75% would be open to a story on a general topic.

 
Station demand is there for interviews with brand spokespeople and they want the interviews via satellite. Technology is helping brands adapt as spokespeople can Skype in to our control room and be connected with stations across the country limiting unnecessary human contact.

Welcome to the COVID-19 Media Guide for PR Pros

Given the enormous economic uncertainty and the need for brands and non-profits to continue to communicate with the public, we’ve started this guide as a way for you to keep track of what the broadcast media is open to covering.
 
There are two-parts to this equation. First, what are local news outlets open to covering. We’ll be surveying them on a weekly basis and reporting the results back to you. The second aspect needs to be judged on a case by case basis. Simply, is the message you are trying to convey appropriate during this pandemic and will it benefit your organization and the public in general. Clearly, hard sell messages don’t make a lot of sense right now and you need to be educational in tone or communicating how you are making things easier for customers and importantly, your own employees.
 
We welcome your feedback as well as what you are hearing during your media communication.

PR Industry Survey: Is the Satellite Media Tour Comeback Real?

After finding out that there was a 21 percent increase in use of satellite media tours and a 38 percent increase in using in-house spokespeople by both brands and the agencies, we conducted a survey to find out if these trends were unique to D S Simon Media or industry wide.

 

Here is what 70 PR professionals (brand and agency communicators) had to say:

 

Nearly 1/3 are increasing or considering increasing their use of SMTs. Close to 90 percent are either increasing their consideration of SMTs or staying the same. Those findings align with the growth that we have been seeing. In terms of featuring in-house spokespeople in satellite media tours, the industry is evenly split. Whether they are increasing or decreasing featuring in-house spokespeople in their satellite media tours, both of those numbers are 23 percent.

 

The most important finding is that the satellite media tour comeback seems to be real and sustainable.