public relations strategies

What’s a Good Spokesperson Worth?

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Supervisor at TrizCom PR

At TrizCom PR, we get a lot of mileage out of our client spokespersons. Generally, when we onboard a new client and have them fill out our questionnaire, we’re up front in asking who is allowed to speak on behalf of the company. It may not surprise you to know that this role is usually filled by the owner, CEO or president of the organization. However, industry experts can be found at all levels of the C-suite family.

mic.jpg


One of my clients is a nonprofit organization heavily vested in the health care enrollment process. For those still unaware, open enrollment on the health care exchanges began Nov. 1 and ceases Dec. 15. In the run-up to Nov. 1, my client was sought by major news organizations ranging from The Washington Post to Kaiser Health News.

I discovered something along the way.

The calls, emails and requests for an interview with this individual began to accelerate as time went on. It seemed as if health care reporters nationwide were reading the articles in which he was quoted. Needing sources for their own reporting, they sought him out time and time again. The more he was quoted, the more calls for interviews occurred. It got to the point that I felt like an air traffic controller, trying to line up media interview requests the way that planes are slotted for runway landings.

guy jeff blog.jpg

So what is a good company spokesperson worth? If you classify yourself as an industry expert in the organization you represent, how much ink are you currently getting? What might it mean to your company—and its incremental sales—to have your name mentioned time and time again in media outlets with circulation numbers in the hundreds of thousands?

Organizations should take a good hard look at who represents them. Speaking on behalf of a company as an industry expert can provide you with an implied endorsement that even money can’t necessarily buy.

I should know. I’m still catching up on the last three weeks of coverage my client garnered for his company in the last month.

Still think public relations doesn’t work?

Speed Counts

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Manager at TrizCom PR

Speed counts. What we’re talking about here is a manner and method to working in the public relations world. We already know that we live in a 24/7 news cycle, and if you aren’t adjusting the method of how you work, you could be missing out on a very successful strategy. Call it an opinion if you want, but earning a reputation based on your effort to respond quicker makes you a better PR practitioner.

The clients I represent already know this. That’s because I pride myself on how quickly I can get them an answer when they ask a question. All of the media contacts and journalists I work with know this too. Even if they ask a question or request information that I can’t get back to them in five minutes, they’ll still get a reply from me letting them know that I’m on the case. Missed a phone call? Dial them back as soon as possible. And if you’re not getting your work emails on your smart phone, get smarter. Makes it very easy to type out a quick confirmation of receipt every time.

Over time, the contacts on the other end of your computer screen will notice this effort. Then they’ll come to expect it. And that’s a good thing. When it comes time for your client to renew an annual agency of record contract with your firm, might this be a point in your favor? When a reporter you’ve worked with in the past needs a source or some fresh quotes for a new story, will your previous responsiveness play a part in their decision to reach out to you at the expense of someone else? You don’t have to answer either of these rhetorical questions because you already know the answer.

Speed counts.

While you can create an incredible reputation from being a responsive account manager, you can also destroy that perception by being careless. You can be quick, but always be thorough. Re-read your emails before you send them. Use spellchecker. At the end of the day, working on your responsiveness in the public relations world is just like any other skill. It can be acquired if you put in the effort.

Still don’t believe me? I wrote this blog in 22 minutes.

Is Twitter the Ultimate Newsjacking Tool?

By Jeff Cheatham, Senior Account Manager at TrizCom PR

If you’re like most PR professionals, you have your own Twitter account. Presumably, if for no other reason, to tweet out your most recent media wins to your distant aunt and uncle. But Twitter also has the potential to become a powerful weapon in your arsenal when it comes to keeping up with trending news on behalf of your clients. If done correctly, Twitter can be your ultimate newsjacking tool.

Newsjacking!

Newsjacking. Like carjacking, but different.

Newsjacking. Like carjacking, but different.

Newsjacking? Yes, it’s now a thing, and it was born right out of the 24/7/365 news cycle. What it amounts to is injecting your client and message into a breaking news story, gaining a foothold in the voice and commentary of a developing story.

While you may still spend copious amounts of time polishing a quarterly PR action plan to execute on behalf of your clients, newsjacking offers you the ability to strike fast, strike hard, and rack up worthwhile media wins, often on a weekly basis.

According to one of the foremost experts on newsjacking—he literally wrote the book, “News Jacking”, author David Meerman Scott says, “The traditional PR model—sticking closely to a preset script and campaign timeline—no longer works the way it used to. Public discourse now moves so fast and so dynamically that all it takes is a single afternoon to blast the wheels off someone’s laboriously crafted narrative.”

So prolific. 

Take a look at one of Scott’s bell curve graphics, which displays the art of newsjacking:

Using Twitter to Newsjack

What two Twitter accounts might look like.

What two Twitter accounts might look like.

Here are some helpful suggestions for weaponizing Twitter to aid your own newsjacking efforts. First, if you use your personal Twitter account to keep up with friends and family, you may want to consider establishing a separate Twitter account using your work email address to register. That way, you can begin following only work-related content, delivered in 140 characters or less. Immediately follow the key reporters and industry news sites that cover your market. Repeat this exercise for each client you represent.

Once you’ve established a healthy list of key influencer accounts, check this work Twitter account one to two times daily in the pursuit of a newsjacking opportunity. If you find a suitable breaking news story, update or opinion that you feel your client should be in on, write up a quick pitch and start emailing key media contacts.

Here’s a real world example. I represent Dillon Gage Metals, an international wholesaler of gold, silver, platinum and palladium. In turn, I use Twitter to follow breaking industry news from clearinghouse sites such as Kitco News, The Gold Report and Streetwise. If I happen to note that gold prices have reached a 6-month high, I can then craft a quick pitch, asking reporters if they’d like any commentary from my own esteemed experts. At times, this approach works like a charm.

Let’s not get too hasty, though…

A word of caution, however. Newsjacking can be a tremendous tool to insert your client’s opinions into breaking news or otherwise. But the blade can be sharp on both ends if you’re not careful. Never—and I mean NEVER—send out a tasteless, craven attempt to gain your client some attention just for attention’s sake. The PR firm that attempted to use the tragic 2014 suicide of Robin Williams to advance their causes should still be smarting from the backlash they justifiably received. Be tasteful. Keep it professional. If you’re in doubt, seek a second opinion.

Twitter is my absolute favorite social media platform. Not only does it keep me entertained, but it also keeps me sharp and focused on breaking news opportunities from which my clients can benefit.

Jeff is a senior account executive at TrizCom PR

From national industry leaders and Dallas-Fort Worth’s largest companies to startups and growing enterprises, TrizCom PR provides public relations and social media services to a wide variety of businesses encompassing startup, healthcare, lifestyle brands, B2B, energy, tech, entertainment, food/beverage and beyond. TrizCom PR has a dynamic track record of local, regional, national and international media placements on behalf of its clients that, if monetized, would equal hundreds of millions of dollars. In 2014 and 2015, TrizCom PR has been named in the top 25 of PR Firms by Dallas Business Journal. TrizCom PR is a Certified Woman Owned Business Corporation (NWBOC). For more information on TrizCom PR call 972-247-1369 or visit www.TrizCom.com.

Jeff’s contact information:
O: 972-247-1369
C: 972-961-6171
JeffC@TrizCom.com
L: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreycheatham
T: www.twitter.com/JeffreyCheatham  

Use PR when sales are good

Use PR when sales are good

It’s been said that when the economy or sales are good, don’t bother with public relations. The thinking is that when times are flush, that’s when businesses should either spend money on expensive advertising or don’t spend any money at all because – Hey! – things are great.

Am I the only one who read about the ant and the grasshopper?