Adding the Exclamation Point: Soundbite Tips 0

exclamation-pointTelevision news stories tend to follow the same general format.The reporter introduces the topic, cuts to the interview, might add some more narration, jumps into a second sound bite, and then wrap it up with a conclusion. Simply, it looks like this:

  • Intro
  • Sound bite
  • Bridge
  • Sound bite
  • Conclusion

They say that in any visual presentation, the viewer will only remember how the interview subject looks 80% of the time. What you say and how you said it only registers for roughly 20% of the audience.

A friend was interviewed about his legal opinion of the movie Minority Report. In the gap between the interview, and the time it aired on television, he was preempted for breaking news about a forest fire.

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Interview Talking Points in 8-Seconds: Media Interview Tips 0

talking-pointsSkilled communicators know they must prepare themselves and the CEO prior to an interview. For some, the subject is so clear it doesn’t require much effort to stay on message. However, not everyone has such a simple time during the media interview. For those folks, it is best to know what you’re going to say before you say it. You can do this by identifying your three top interview talking points prior to any media interview or event.

Make no mistake: during an interview the questioner will be looking to shake you off the talking point tree. However, having your three most important messages ready allows you to focus and grounds you when you need some time to consider a response.

President Bill Clinton was the master of this. If today’s talking point was Social Security, the president would remain on message. If the question was about the war in Bosnia, Mr. Clinton would work his way back around to his talking point. Continue Reading

Begging for a Placement 0


Earlier I mentioned I think press releases are a last resort. Frankly, most of the time a placement can be made with a phone call or an email. Journalists want good content. And the journalists you personally know will listen when you call with a good pitch.

On the subject of press releases, I once set a standard for communicators to follow intended to increase placements. The office in the past had followed a pattern of writing a press release, distributing it and then moving on to the next press release. The team was very good at writing press releases. The idea of seeing the story in print was far from anyone’s minds.

We had a stellar track record of producing content. We had a poor record of placing content in the media.

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Freelance Snooping: A Cautionary Tale 0

I love working on projects at Starbucks for the atmosphere, the free Wi-Fi, and the snacks. And the baristas don’t seem to mind when I spread out my stuff and take over a corner of the store to serve as my desk.

However, a few events have caused me to wonder if I have picked the perfect place to work.

There was the nose ring trying to snoop on my work by leaning over my computer. And there was the oil-stained trench coat with the laptop a bit too close.

Then I read about this:

I hijacked someone’s Facebook account with Firesheep. It was incredibly easy.

All I had to do was download and install the add-on, open the Firesheep sidebar and click “Start Capturing.” When her account appeared on the list, I double-clicked on it. Once I made sure that I wasn’t logged into the same site myself with my own account, her account appeared in my browser. Citation


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The Humble Press Release: Tool or Disaster? 0

36110445_sFor years, the humble press release helped people attract attention. I’m not a big fan of press releases because most of the time they are self-serving or contain drivel and I think a good pitch will do the trick. However, sometimes you don’t have any choice but to use the tried and true format for announcing your news. You might spruce it up and make it social media friendly, but in the end, it is still the story or idea that is going to make or break the entire pitch.

Also, journalists and bloggers hate press releases, right? They certainly hate the crappy ones. There are tons of great examples of bad press releases out there. However, journalists and bloggers love to get a great story idea. Thousands of press releases will have gone out today and yet only a few of them will climb out of the trash heap and be shared in traditional media and online. A good story will always sell, but a great story will be covered. So how can you make sure your pitch climbs to the top? Continue Reading