Wednesday, December 5, 2012

MEDIA RELATIONS: Shared Ideas That May Help You


 Have you ever been to a one-day forum filled with speakers – cramming tons of information into each fifteen minute time slot, and remembered enough to put to good use?

National Press Club
I recently finished a day at the National Press Club in Washington, DC attending the “PRNews Media Relations Next Practices Forum.” 

For me personally, it was a chance to gain more practical experience from those who’ve been on this side of the business far longer than I have.  It was also a chance for growth within the communications department I lead at the LPGA.  So I wasn’t alone on this trip.

Topics like Social Media, Metrics Measurement. Media Training and Crisis Management were hashed out, batted around, digested and debated among some of the leaders in the industry.

 I left with six key things:
 
     Blogging is a great thing
You might have websites and twitter accounts and Facebook friends, but if you’re trying to engage more fans, grow exposure for your brand and grow support from the media, start a blog, link it to the website and use it for content specific to media needs.  Put out key storylines, allow your communications folks to blog about interesting behind-the-scenes items.  And always think video.

Media training should be standard practice
I’ve done it, love doing it and will continue to build on it within the LPGA organization.  Everyone in any organization needs to understand what the key “message points” are.  If you have nine, you have none.  If you have one to three… you have something to build around.  “Market speak” doesn’t work… people need to drill down and find out how to tell a story with an interview.  And surprising to most, “dumbing it down” doesn’t hurt credibility, it may actually help it because your message is easier to understand and re-deliver to others.  Media message delivery is never a “one size fits all” proposition, because if you tell people HOW they must say something, they probably won’t sound natural.  And the best line I heard about “crisis management?”….. transparency and timing are key as “they’ll always forgive a screw up, but they’ll never forgive a cover up.”

      Metrics aren’t just numbers, they’re important
Great Speakers - Big Information
When it comes to promoting your successes, sometimes words won’t and can’t tell the whole story.  Who says your boss will give you more money in your budget just because you tell him “things are going well.”  You need numbers behind your victories.  And while I’m now in the business of working to deliver more exposure for a professional sports league, we need tangible evidence that people are taking notice and the media is helping to deliver our message.
 
     Twitter is all about 2-way conversation
I already knew this, but it’s great to have it hammered home.  When talking with the players on the LPGA, I remind them that social media means “being social.”  Every business involved in the “twitter-verse” needs to focus on interactive response and listening to the audience.  And everything put on twitter (from a business perspective) needs to be information of “value.”  It’s fact that more and more people get their quick news today via twitter… so make things quick, make them compelling and make people come back for more.  Making “lists” of key media members on twitter is also important – if the goal is to keep tabs on your coverage and involve them more.
 
      Add a visual component to everything
By nature, we are visual people.  And today, visually speaking, we are bombarded by video messaging.  Blogs need video, websites need video, messages need to be made through video – and nothing needs to be long.  Short and sweet, show the message, see the message, sell the message. 
  
       Give every team member ownership
I’m charged with leading a group of very energetic and talented folks.  That’s a gift.  And when it comes to having a department, it only makes sense that you empower the department one by one, giving them ownership of ideas and the trust to deliver on their individual assignments.  This isn’t rocket science.  Success comes from those around you, not from you. So give them the chance to use their talents and check the metrics that apply to their assignments.


DC... and PR... A Nice Opportunity
I’ll stick to what I’ve said before…. that I’m not – and don’t profess to be – a P.R. guy.  I’m a communications guy who’s spent my entire career delivering messages.  This conference was validation for me in many ways… that at the end of the day, we’re all working to communicate ideas.  How we do it is the key to success for those we work for and the stakeholders attached to any of our businesses. 

I’m glad I stumbled upon this conference.  The trip alone to the National Press Club was a great experience.  The value from six hours listening in on industry leaders was something that I’ll carry into 2013.

Line of the Day: If you want to be relevant in your line of business, then make sure you do something relevant.

Follow me @KraigKann