I don’t claim to have all the answers (by any stretch), but I do regularly deal with journalists, get national and regional media coverage for clients and I did used to be a reporter, so I do have a good idea!
And I’ve made a short video covering some of the basics.
Here are a few tips that can work:
* Make each approach personal and only send your news to journalists who write about those sorts of topics.
* Make sure you have a ‘real’ story backed up with facts, some great quotes and images.
* Follow-up with a call a couple of days after sending your Press Release – you’d be amazed how many get ‘lost’ in Inboxes, get passed to a colleague or go on a ‘To Do’ list – never to see the light of day.
* Don’t treat all media the same. National reporters will want a really strong story and you’ll need to drop everything else and quickly supply any extra information and images they request and set up any interviews before the opportunity passes and to meet deadlines.
* Regional media need lots of information making their story a strong local one, 1-2 people quoted in their area, backed up with facts and hopefully events. And of course quality photos.
Cathy Kelly runs through five key tips to get prepared for a crisis. She also talks practically about how best to look after your team in a crisis situation and how to avoid the mistakes her and her teams made when managing a crisis.
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I’ll be sharing other free resources with you over the coming weeks and months. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel to keep up to date with the latest resources.
Today I’m going to be talking to you about how you manage and prepare for a potential communications crisis. So it could be something along the lines of staff redundancies, it could be a major health outbreak, or it could be a security breach. But effectively it’s something where you want to contain and control some of the messages going out. A lot of this you can prepare in advance believe it or not.
I am a former journalist and I’ve also got around 20 years’ experience of working with, and writing for the media on major media campaigns. But I’ve also worked in house with various organisations including hospitals and different health trusts. I’ve dealt with some of these situations myself and there’s nothing like first-hand experience to know what you’re talking about and to learn from your mistakes and we did make some mistakes.
So the first time I had to deal with a crisis it was something which came out of the blue for one of the major London hospitals we worked for at the time. We were literally were glued to the telephones dealing with media inquiries and giving interviews for around 10 hours. During that time we didn’t eat enough, drink enough or even go to the loo enough. So we learnt by the end of it that, that’s really not how you do it. In terms of managing the situation in terms of communication materials that we gave out and shared with the media, we did a good job. But we didn’t do a good job of looking after ourselves.
So one of the key things is to look after your team in a crisis. To make sure that you have people being runners and feeding them, giving them drinks, letting them having toilet breaks. It sounds really basic, but those things are incredibly important.
The second time I had to deal with a crisis I was on my day off, and I had young kids, and I ended up having a little incident room in my kitchen, in my house. So I was dealing with national journalists and dealing with a measles outbreak. But because I had frequently asked questions already written and prepared in case that happened. Because I had holding statements and because I had details of journalists, it didn’t panic me so much because I had everything to hand. I also had details of other directors and I had their contact details.
So what I would say first is to look at your communication channels and to make sure that you have as much in place as you possibly can. You need to look at internal communication channels, because the first people you should be trying to reach are your staff, because they’re going to be having to deal with this with you, and they’re also going to be reacting to it, and potentially reading about it, or watching it on the news. So you need to find a way, or find different ways of reaching different groups of staff in the best possible way. This may be through email, through your intranet, through cascade systems within your organisation, with managers’ briefings. All sorts of things that you may have in place. So tap into those and have things written in advance if you can to actually make things as quick and easy as possible for you, so you’re just slotting in the details specific to your incident.
The other things you need to think about are the external systems that you have in place. So you’re effectively going to be using things like social media, your website, and the media, in terms of issuing holding statements and possibly press releases about the incident, which has taken place. So you need to make sure that you have all these things set up in advance.
Towards the end of the video I’m going to be sharing a free resource with you. It’s a media crisis template plan, so that you can apply to your own organisation. So look at maybe areas, which you should be addressing and things that you need to focus on. To make sure that you’re as ready as you possibly can be. Because by being ready you really take the heat out of an incident, because when it strikes, it strikes without any warning. That sounds very obvious, but you need to make it as least stressful as possible for you, because it will be pretty frantic. You won’t have time to think about other things.
One of the things I wanted to focus on a little bit was what should actually go into your media contingency plan. So this will be all the telephone contact numbers for all the people that may be useful for you in that situation. So it’ll be people like your communications manager and director, the different directors responsible for perhaps different parts of the organisation. Key people that you need to be able to contact in a crisis.
You also need to think about your key media contacts, who are the media that you have on side that you trust, that you can use to your advantage and to brief in these situations. Also media who you need to reach who perhaps you don’t have those relationships with. Have them all in your plan so that everything’s to hand, it’s easy as possible for you, and is quick to reach the people you need to reach with your messages.
You also need to split the incidents into different types of incidents. So for example here we have a critical media inquiry with a camera on site. So someone’s pitched up, they’ve heard about something that’s happened, perhaps it’s a security breach, or a potential bomb alert. They’ve turned up with a TV crew, so you need to be able to react to them very quickly. You need to know what to do when that happens. So for each incident you have a page in your plan. So if that thing happens you pull out the page, and you run through the process. You’re not having to think on the hoof, you’re not having to make it up as you go along. It’s ready, it’s prepared for you. You’re taking the heat out of the incident.
You also can maybe look at things like a riot or a major disturbance. Perhaps you might have a death on your premises or in one of your stores. It may be a fire or a bomb alert, or even damage to property. So you have emergency checklist, and you work through those checklists. By following a particular checklist you are reacting to it in a way, which you feel comfortable and in a timely fashion.
Former journalist and experienced PR Consultant Cathy Kelly reveals how to get media coverage to build your credibility as an expert.
• Do you want to raise your profile as an expert?
• Does your competition appear in the publications you should be in?
• Do you want to speak at relevant industry events?
If any or all of the above relate to you then you’re in the right place. This video will help to get you the coverage you want. Keep watching because I’ll run through some of the golden rules and towards the end of the video I’ll share a winning template so that you can start putting these tips into practise.
I’m going to be addressing and suggesting ways to solve some of the PR pains you might be experiencing as a business owner, director or manager responsible for communications.
I’m Cathy Kelly and I’m a former journalist and PR consultant with more than 20 years’ experience of writing for and working with the media. A recent campaign with a client resulted in a film on a prime-time terrestrial TV channel and in leading national and international media outlets including The Times, Daily Telegraph, Guardian, Forbes, Al Jazeera and CNBC among others.
I’ll run through some of the golden rules and towards the end of the video I’ll share a winning template for putting your press release together so that you can start putting these tips into practise.- I’ll be sharing more free help and being your virtual PR consultant so subscribe to my channel to make sure you don’t miss anything over the coming weeks and months.
Hi, I’m Cathy from Catherine Kelly PR and I’m going to be talking today about how you can establish yourself as an expert within your field. So do you feel perhaps that your competition are dominating the news within your chosen publications? Or perhaps they’re speaking at industry events where you think you could be taking the podium? Well I’m going to share a few tips with you today in this short video about how you can actually go about redressing the balance and getting yourself into those places which you think you should be at.
My name’s Catherine Kelly and I’ve got more than 20 years’ experience of working with and for the media gaining international and national coverage including on prime time television. And I’m going to be sharing some top tips that’ve been proven to work over and over again.
One of the really good places for you to start, is to build a solid media list. And when I say a media list, I mean, details of media’s contact details but also details of when they go to print, good days of the week to contact them because that’s really important.
It’s no good phoning a journalist on deadline day, they’re not going to want to know. So I usually start by building a relationship with journalists by sending them a press release. And by clicking on the link towards the end of this video, you can download a free press release template which I’ve put together which will guide you through how to put a winning press release together, step by step. You can then issue this press release to the journalists, ideally with a professional quality photograph. And then follow it up with a phone call on a day which isn’t deadline day and when they’ll be happy to talk to you.
You can also offer to do what’s called “A Thought Leadership Piece”, where you’re expanding on a particular topic and giving your view as an expert in that field. Or you could offer to do a regular column or regular piece or even to be a regular speaker if they need somebody to speak on a particular subject area.
Another area that you can look at, is actually speaking at a conference or key event. And you could contact the event organisers and offer to speak on a particular subject area which you feel comfortable talking about.
These are all ways in which you can raise your profile in the way which you want to be seen. And if you want more tips and free materials? I’ll be uploading these on a regular basis. So please subscribe to my YouTube channel and go to catherinekellypr.co.uk where I’ll be sharing lots of free information over the coming weeks and months.