Public relations

Tap, Tap, Tap … Is This Thing On? Tips to Nail a Radio Interview

We are constantly pitching our clients for radio interviews. All sorts of formats: news pieces, CEO interviews, product announcements, expert commentary, celebrity phoners … the whole gamut. While the concept of capturing a conversation on air seems simple, it is often not.  Just like being a Boy Scout, the key to having a successful radio interview is to BE PREPARED.

Prepare for an abrupt start. Most radio interviews are done by phone, not in studio, and most stations prefer to call you. Some producers call a few minutes before the interview begins, allowing you to listen for few minutes to get a feel for the program’s tone. But others wait until the last possible second, meaning you’re on the air within moments of picking up the phone. When you pick up the phone, be ready to go live on a second’s notice—or on no notice at all. You’ll hear the host over the phone line, so turn your radio off to avoid hearing a distracting delay.

Express passion. Sure, you’re on the radio. But listeners will hear it if you stand, move your hands and smile—so get a telephone headset and gesture away. Try to match or slightly exceed the host’s energy level to avoid sounding flat.

Sit close to the microphone (in-studio). New Radio 1080 KRLD’s David Johnson always tells our clients to “sit uncomfortably close to the microphone.” We can literally hear the distance when the interview airs.

Make the connection (in-studio). We suggest that our clients make eye contact with the host and speak with them as if they are having a great conversation at a party. Be confident, smile. The listener hears confidence. It’s absolutely acceptable to bring a few notes or talking points in studio, but never read them—glance down occasionally if you need to and try not to lose your connection.

Don’t depend on them to make the plug. You’re probably on the radio because you want to promote something—a new book, your website, your company. Although many experienced hosts are adept at “plugging” whatever you want promoted, some aren’t. We send the producer a short bio and key points in advance of the interview which many hosts use verbatim to introduce me on the air.

The truth is in the tape. Few people enjoy listening to tapes of their interviews, but doing so can help you identify and fix problem areas. This is where you hear those dreaded “uhs.”

PR is Not a Luxury in Your Business Budget

Ask almost any small-to-medium sized business owner about advertising and you’re likely to hear, “We have to advertise or we won’t succeed!” Then ask that same owner about budgeting for public relations. “PR? That’s for big companies who need hot-shots to get them out of a jam every once in a while.”


The existing narrative that hiring a public relations agency is a luxury, akin to treating yourself to a spa day, is harmful to businesses seeking trust and engagement among their target audiences. Study after study confirms that a well-crafted and executed public relations campaign is far more accepted that paid advertising attempts.

What a Spa Day Looks Like. Not PR.

What a Spa Day Looks Like. Not PR.

In perhaps one of the most powerful citations, the group inPowered conducted a Nielsen-backed study in 2014 on the topic of the decision-making process in consumers. Its findings indicated that PR is 90 percent more effective than traditional advertising. The reasoning comes down to endorsement. Consumers are aware that ads are a paid quid-pro-quo. But a well-placed and glowing article about a business and what it has to offer in the pages of a respected media outlet reads like a tacit testimonial.

Let’s look at a quick real-world example of advertising vs. public relations:

This billboard ad I saw on my morning commute just told me to go buy a Casper Mattress.

This billboard ad I saw on my morning commute just told me to go buy a Casper Mattress.

Now let’s look at what a well-developed public relations campaign message looks like.

Did   Business Insider   just tell me I should buy a Casper Mattress?

Did Business Insider just tell me I should buy a Casper Mattress?

When you accept the reasoning behind why public relations encourages more trust among your target audience, it’s easy to see why brands clamor for rankings with J.D. Power & Associates. If I say I’m awesome, I’m simply bragging. If J.D. Power & Associates says I’m awesome, that’s actual proof.

One of the most eloquent examples of advertising vs. public relations is outlined in the book, The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR, by Al and Laura Ries. One of their central themes states that advertising is like the wind, but PR is like the sun. Based on one of Aesop’s Fables, the sun and wind enter a challenge to see which has the most influence in trying to get a traveler to remove his coat. You can guess what happens. The harder the wind blew, the tighter the traveler clung to his coat. When the sun shone, the traveler removed it. The lesson for advertisers that the authors provide with this parable is that you can’t force your way into a prospect’s mind.

Advertising often results in resistance. If you disagree, I’ll assume you love to read pop-up ads and watch auto-play videos when you surf the web. If you click through or exit the ads to read the content you intended to do before you were interrupted, it’s likely you’ll see a fine example of public relations work.

Establishing a budget for public relations shouldn’t be seen as a luxury spend for your overall communications budget. Brands are discovering more and more that their customers seek trust, credibility, proof, engagement and a personal connection from the products and services they buy. A public relations campaign checks off each of these five boxes. Traditional advertising doesn’t meet a single one.

If you’re a small-to-medium sized business looking to increase awareness and visibility among your core audiences, it may be time to discard old notions and begin thinking about the utilization of a positive PR campaign of your own.

Because you can’t buy your way into a J.D. Power & Associates ranking.

ReBlog: Top 10 Signs You Shouldn’t Hire a Publicist

At TrizCom PR, organizations ranging from corporations to nonprofits to startups gain a team of savvy PR professions who think creatively and develop truly innovative communication ideas that build buzz and raise brand awareness BUT we are not magicians. While we love challenges and lofty goals, sometimes not even superman could reach expectations.

This is a great article that highlights 10 signs when you shouldn’t hire a publicist or a PR firm. Enjoy.

- Jo Trizila, TrizCom President and CEO

This post orginally appeared on and can be found here:

Top 10 Signs You Shouldn’t Hire a Publicist

PR requires patience, dedication, and practice

By Kris Ruby • 01/17/17 3:16pm

There are a ton of articles floating around about why you should hire a PR firm. I wrote an article on it last year. But what I didn’t delve into is all of the reasons why not to hire a PR firm. Having run a PR company for almost a decade now, I can quickly assess who is going to be a good client fit. If I sense certain red flags, nine times out of 10, I will walk away from the business prior to the start of a new client relationship.

Here’s why: PR is not for everyone. PR is expensive, time consuming, and it requires a lot of work from the client as well as the agency.

If you fit one of the below, I recommend not hiring a publicist.

You want instant, overnight results. If you are someone who likes instant gratification, you will be unhappy with any publicist you hire, unless their rolodex is made of gold. As a PR practitioner, I rarely meet other publicists who pick up the phone, dial an editor at Vogue, and instantly get their clients written about. That kind of myth is a remnant that still exists from the old days of PR. Publicity takes work. No matter how strong the publicist’s relationship with an outlet is, if the story isn’t strong enough, then the reporter isn’t going to cover it.

You don’t want to do any work. This is the biggest issue that I encounter in the PR industry today. People hire a publicist the way they hire an accountant. They think that they can hire a vendor, speak to them a few times a year, and that publicity will magically happen. In reality, PR requires daily engagement from the client side. The clients who are happiest with PR results put the most amount of time into driving the client-agency relationship. They read the news, send stories to their publicists to pitch, and write back to their publicists with thoughtful responses to HARO queries. In short, they put in the time. PR is like a sport. It requires patience, dedication, and practice.

You don’t have the time to provide the necessary thought leadership content. As an industry, PR has shifted. Most clients don’t want press placements anymore; they want digital placements. To do this, a solid amount of time is required from the client side to provide thought leadership tips for content creation. For example, if you are a neurosurgeon and you hire a publicist, it is not their job to ghost tips for you. They simply can’t because they don’t have your knowledge base. Unless you’re looking for low quality work from a content farm, you need to send your PR person what they are asking for. They can’t promote your greatness without the core knowledge that only you possess.

You expect PR to translate into sales. Your PR person is not your Director of Sales. This is the number one reason most agencies get fired: clients are unhappy that the placements didn’t generate  a massive uptick in sales. The role of a publicist is to formulate stories that get the media’s attention and result in a placement. If a publicist is getting you consistent placements, then they are doing what you hired them to do. The problem is when clients start complaining, “I know you got me a three-page spread, but it didn’t translate into new business.” That is the equivalent of saying to your dentist, “I know you filled my cavity, but you didn’t fix the pain in my jaw. The pain in your jaw should be seen by a doctor, not your dentist, and it’s not the dentist’s responsibility. The same goes for sales and PR.

You want to be “famous.” If you want to hire a publicist because you have aspire to be famous, please don’t. Clients who hire publicists because they want to be famous are the worst clients. Saying you want to be famous is like saying you want to be President some day. What qualifies you to be famous? What is interesting about you? What star worthy quality do you have that makes you press worthy? Ego driven PR is not a strategy; it’s a waste of everyone’s time and money. Fame is the end product of many years of work in a specific industry. The publicist’s job is to bring attention to what you makes you special, not to make you special.

You have nothing newsworthy to promote. I get that you have a new business. So does everyone. What makes it different? Why should the media write about it? If you haven’t thought these answers through, you need to. Unless you are looking for a one hit wonder PR campaign, you will be unhappy. Granted, it’s the publicist’s job to come up with these angles, but if you don’t have newsworthy content, the media won’t write about you. If you hire a PR person and have convinced yourself how newsworthy your story truly is, please don’t blame a publicist if they can’t get it placed. Your Mom thinking something is great is not the same thing as a reporter at Forbes thinking something is great.

You think PR will solve inherent business issues. A lot of people hire publicists thinking it will fix a core issue in their business. PR can’t solve these issues. If anything, it can make them worse. For example, if you are a Fortune 500 company and have constant turnover, chances are greater something pertaining to this story will come out while working with a PR person. The reason being that if a PR person secures a story on your company, any journalist worth his salt will start digging around and notice certain discrepancies. It’s best to have everything buttoned up before hiring a PR firm.

You saw a competitor on TV and now you want to be on TV. Believe it or not, this is one of the most commonly listed reasons that prospects come to me. They see someone else doing it, and therefore, they think they should be doing it. If you hire a publicist to get you on TV and they get you a hit, you are expected to drop everything you have for the day, close up shop, and run down to the city to do the hit. If you say no, the chances of the opportunity coming up again are slim to none. Are you really prepared to close your business for the day just because you saw someone else on TV?

You aren’t good with long term commitments. When you hire a PR firm, you have to be in it for the long haul. The average agency retention rate is incredibly low; at the typical agency, every six months clients seek new agency representation. Clients run from agency to agency, thinking the problem was with the publicist. The truth is that you will be happier with your results if you stick with one firm for long enough. Most publicists won’t work on engagements for less than 6 months. If they are pitching long lead editorials, some of the placements may not even come out until after your relationship ends. The first one to three months of any new engagement requires a lot of upfront prep work, the next three months require heavy pitching. I rarely encounter a new client who is ready to go to media from day one. The best PR client I have has stayed with me for 6 years. They understand the business and are in it for the long haul.

You aren’t willing to drop everything for a press hit. When a reporter does answer; they want to speak to a client immediately. If you work in an industry where this just isn’t an option, then PR may not be the best approach. There is no worse feeling than getting a client a hit and not being able to do it. In the PR world, there is nothing more important than getting back to a reporter or producer. If you aren’t ready to drop everything to speak to them, then PR may not be right for you.

Kris Ruby is the CEO of Ruby Media Group, a Public Relations and Social Media Agency. Kris Ruby is a frequent on air TV contributor and speaks on social media, tech trends and crisis communications. For more information, visit or

My First Convention Experience as a Publicist

By Nikki Darling, TrizCom PR

This past spring, TrizCom PR signed Fan Expo Dallas as a new client. Fan Expo Dallas was formerly known as Dallas comic con – the largest convention for lovers of comics, sci-fi, horror, anime, gaming and more in the state of Texas. They were in need of a PR team, and we were there to offer our expertise and team of creative individuals to get the job done and exceed expectations.

My not-so-inner nerd was nothing less than stoked to work on this account. However, I knew it was going to be a learning experience, because I had not previously done PR for a big event or convention. This was going to be a first for me.

The weeks and months leading up to the convention were full of observing and learning from my superiors. I worked with them while they guided me on strategies in order to fulfill the objectives established for the event. I learned a lot about promoting a major event: I learned how different it was from a regular brand management client or PR retainer client. By the end of the convention, my head physically hurt from all of the information I took in – either that or from sleep deprivation.

However, nothing could compare to how exhilarating working the actual convention would be. I basically lived at the convention center that weekend. Seriously, I should have brought a sleeping bag and pillow for how much I was there. But I loved every minute of it.

Our team was responsible for signing in the media, giving them credentials, taking them on tours of the convention center and, of course, arranging for any onsite interviews. Not only did it feel nice to stand behind the check-in table and help dictate protocol, but it was really neat to be able to connect with the members of the media I have been pitching and idolizing for so long. Making those connections was extremely beneficial and having the opportunity to arrange interviews and make their lives easier was an added bonus

Fun fact: I also got to meet Anthony Daniels, the actor that plays C3PO in all Star Wars movies. He was a gem and even had his own mini C3PO to hold up in pictures. We took him around Dallas for different interviews and he was so willing to take a picture with anyone who walked past! 

I ran around that convention center for three days, making sure I always knew what was going on at all times while constantly scouting for media opportunities. Any time a reporter said thanks or had a look of relief come across their face when they secured an interview, I had a little adrenaline rush. I was able to do what I did every day in an office at one of the coolest conventions in Texas while interacting face to face with media. I had many moments where I felt very proud to be a part of my company and very thankful for these kinds of opportunities. Talk about rewarding.

The real fun (and nerves) came the last day of the convention when the internet-famous Chewbacca Mom was making an appearance. We anticipated the morning to be rather slow in terms of media attendance simply because it was the very last day and most of the media had already checked in. However, our previous pitching efforts paid off and, before I knew it, we were hosting four local television crews – ABC, CBS, CW and Fox. They were all there to catch Chewbacca Mom meeting the real Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, for the first time on camera.

Before this weekend, I had not worked directly with camera crews, so working with four was a bit overwhelming at first but quickly became almost second nature. I was able to guide their shots during Chewbacca Mom’s meeting with Peter Mayhew and direct their coverage with knowledge of the event’s programming. Preparation, in this case, was key. Knowing the timing of the event, layout of the space and technical capabilities of the venue allowed me to deliver the need-to-know info quickly to the TV crews. No time was wasted.

Following the Chewbacca event, I made my way backstage where I sat down with Chewbacca Mom, Candace Payne, to prepare her for one-on-one interviews with local media stations. She was the sweetest lady, and I was so glad to meet her.

We led the cameras over to a table behind which stood a step and repeat with Fan Expo Dallas’ logo plastered all over it. There was no way we were going to have four cameras interview someone without the Fan Expo Dallas logo in sight. Our team manned the area, ensuring no fans somehow made their way back or no passerby ruined our shot. We were in the backstage celebrity area of the convention center. So it felt ironic to me that while the news crews were interviewing Chewbacca Mom, celebrities like Lucy Hale (my favorite), the Phelps twins, Jack Gleeson and Rob Schneider all walked past – some even whispering in wonderment that they were seeing Chewbacca Mom in real life.

Chewbacca Mom finished up her interviews, and we led the press into the main convention area for b-roll coverage and interviews with attendees. When all was said and done and the news crews packed up their tech gear, I made my way back to the press room – out of breath the whole time. I sat down behind the check-in table shaking and panting after my 2-hour long adrenaline rush from which we secured four television spots.

My public relations career has been a short one. I graduated from college about a year ago, so almost every opportunity thus far has turned into a learning moment for me. Hosting media, coordinating interviews and securing four television spots for my client was definitely the highlight so far. I even called my mom to tout my accomplishments of the weekend. All in all, the one thing I had to say to everyone who asked was “working that convention was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.” The experience was like nothing else, and the lessons I learned are far beyond any I could have prepared myself for.

Conventions are exhausting, I’ll be honest. But my goodness are they exciting.

Nikki Darling is a graduate of the University of North Texas where she received a B.A. in journalism with a concentration in public relations and a double minor in English and marketing. Her involvement with nonprofits in the community, mixed with her writing and design abilities, contribute greatly to her communication skills in the PR world. She is constantly striving to improve her knowledge of the industry by making the most out of every opportunity.