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.

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.

 

 

Satellite Media Tours Are Making a Comeback

Satellite media tours are making a comeback with a 21% increase on SMT spending in 2019. The reasons? While it’s harder than ever to get your story on cable or network news, our brand visibility report showed that there’s a greater opportunity to get your experts and spokespeople on local news. The average local TV news station will spend less than 25% of its newscasts on politics in 2020. A second reason, a 38% increase in use of internal spokespeople in satellite media tours as brands and non-profits look to get their leaders on television

Learn more about satellite media tours here.

 

Learn How to Get Your Story on the News



Communicators from leading brands, such as Macy’s and Danone North America, discussed how they earn more media coverage on broadcast outlets nationwide and shared tips on how to manage media coverage during the upcoming election year.

Learn how to choose the right spokesperson for your brand here.

Watch the full discussion here.

 

MODERATOR: 

Doug Simon, CEO, D S Simon Media

PANELISTS: 

Orlando Veras, Director of National Media Relations, Macy’s, Inc.

Michael Neuwirth, Senior Director, External Communications, Danone North America

Jeanne M. Salvatore, President, JMS Consulting and Former Chief Communications Officer of the Insurance Information Institute

 

TRANSCRIPT:

Doug Simon: So how do you figure out and craft what stories you’re going to get out there?

Jeanne Salvatore: If you seize on areas that people don’t understand. So, if there are problems consumer problems and then you have a solution to that that’s very effective way of making news.

Michael Neuwirth: Journalists are always looking for what’s new and so a big established brand. Yes, they might be interested in what’s next for that brand, but they’re also really interested at least in the food space in what’s new and why is that new. What’s interesting. What are you creating that’s not there.

Orlando Veras: Part of the process as I’ve noticed especially with the proliferation of the media online is that there has to be video content that goes with it. There has to be a visual that goes with it. And so sometimes that might drive the pickup. And so, you might want to be able to tell the story first. That way in a visual medium that will then spur the added attention because if it gets cleverly posted on one publication and that’s what your target is then some other people will look at it and that’s how you can then build from it.

Doug Simon: There’s an election next year. You may have heard. So, it seems like that’s causing challenges to get on national TV to get on the cable networks because they’re wall to wall political coverage. We’ve got some stats on that which I’ll share in a moment. How do you navigate that?

Michael Neuwirth: It’s a reality and it’s an every four year reality so it’s not our first time at the rodeo at this table. But you’re absolutely right. It means that we probably we do have to turn our attention to places where we can get our stories told. And if one of the goals is to avoid the election cycle then that is a big limitation. But on the flip side it’s a huge opportunity if you are advocating for an issue.

Doug Simon: We asked local stations how much of their newscast they were going to devote to politics during 2020 and the difference between what we analyzed on the network side versus local was huge. Two thirds of local stations said they’re going to cover spending less than 25 percent of their time on politics. So just to make sure it’s right we checked after one of the recent Democratic debates and found local stations and top five markets spent only five and a half percent of their newscast on politics, when networks are spending thirty eight percent and it’s sort of logical when you think about it because if you’re a political junkie you’re not going to be watching. Good Morning Cincinnati or good morning whatever show because you’re going to watch the cable network aligning with your interests. So how important is going local and going to these local markets where there is significant opportunity?

Jeanne Salvatore: Well I think going local always makes sense because it does allow you to tailor your message very specifically to your audience in a way that you can’t do nationally so it should always be very important. And if it’s a really good interview there’s always the possibility that it could go national. If you’re providing something really interesting.

Orlando Veras: There’s opportunities. I think everyone thinks of primetime news as the thing you want to be on. But in some cases, the story that you have to tell might work best in a noon newscast. Where there’s less of that kind of hard news and more opportunity to do kind of a more lifestyle things. If that’s if that’s your area.

Green Giant Sets a Guinness World Records™ Title for the Largest Serving of Green Bean Casserole

 

Green Giant®, the iconic brand synonymous with delicious and high-quality vegetables for families, broke the GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title on November 20, 2019  for creating the largest serving of green bean casserole that weighed in at 1,009. The largest serving of green bean casserole fed 3,000 New Yorkers through Citymeals on Wheels. The story was picked up by nearly 800 TV stations across the country.
 

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The Beyoncé of the Business World, Brandi Boatner, on How to become a Socially Thoughtful Brand and Face Tomorrow’s Challenges


 

Brandi Boatner, Social and Influencer Communications Lead for Global Markets at IBM corporate communications, spoke with Alexa Ambroseo from D S Simon Media, at the PRSA Tri-State Conference. In her keynote speech, The Bold Type: Bending the Brand Backbone is Risky Business, Boatner talked about how PR practioners can help a brand become socially thoughtful. She also stressed that ‘tomorrow’ is the biggest challenge facing PR professionals in this this day and age.

 

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Brand Visibility 2020 Study


366 journalists were surveyed. The findings could make your brand more influential, visible, and authentic. The results are featured in the Brand Visibility 2020 report. Doug Simon, CEO of D S Simon Media, shares highlights including opportunities during the 2020 election year to get your spokespeople on television. Download a free copy of the report here.

 

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