A Clear View: The Clearpoint Agency Blog

Lights, Camera, Action: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at a Broadcast Interview

Posted on February 16, 2016

It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and your public relations rep calls to let you know that she’s secured a local TV news segment for you to go on camera and promote your expertise. And the segment is in two days. Your head spins. What do you have to do? Is there a lot of prep work? How long will it take? Where are TV segments even filmed?

We get it. It can be a lot. But when you have a good PR agency, they’ll make the process easy and fun so that you can enjoy your time in the spotlight.

Let’s take a behind-the-scenes look at what you can expect during your time in the limelight.

NBC
 

  •  Your PR agency has already done a lot of the legwork for you. They’ve found the right producer or booker at the station and pitched the idea, and once they secured interest, they made sure that their contact has your accurate name, title, website, and a summary of your main talking points. That way, the TV production team can prepare in advance for how long the segment will be, how it will be shot, and where it fits into the program.
  • Your briefing sheet will be your guide. Your PR agency should send you a briefing sheet with logistical information (arrival time, on-air time, directions, contact phone numbers), your main talking points and key messages, and background details about the reporter or anchor who will be interviewing you.
  • The extra preparation on your appearance pays off. Attention to your overall appearance will pay off on camera and make you feel super confident. Dress conservatively. If you wear anything distracting on TV, people will remember that and not much of what you say. Dress in a simple, under-stated manner, unless you are a fashion designer, artist or trend setter. Avoid wearing white, black or red head to toe. White glows and becomes the most noticeable thing on the TV screen. Black is too harsh and can suck up all the light, and create a blob effect. Reds bleed on camera and are distracting. Television cameras love blue, making that color a good bet for your attire.
  • Practice makes perfect! After you receive the briefing details, your PR rep will schedule a media training meeting or role-playing conference call with you. They’ll prepare you by providing you with potential questions and guiding you through the process of how to give concise, thoughtful answers. Since you only have a few minutes to convey your main points, it’s essential to have a plan for weaving your key messages into the conversation.

 

Christina Gustin KUSI_CP Blog
 

  • The day you’re on air will be a breeze. All you have to do is share your expertise!Since you’ve prepared in advance, the “hard” part is over. On the day of your TV segment, you’ll be instructed to arrive about 45 minutes early. You’ll have time to meet the producer, chat with the reporter who will be interviewing you, and enjoy some downtime to relax and review your talking points one last time. Your PR agency contact will join you to make sure that everything runs smoothly and to coordinate any last-minute details, as well as to provide moral support!
  • It will all be over in the blink of an eye! Most TV appearances last less than two hours from arrival time to the completion of filming. You’ll likely be on-camera anywhere from two to five minutes. In some instances, the TV crew will want to film multiple segments in one day and air them throughout the program, but each will last only a few minutes.
  • Your TV appearance will lend you lasting credibility. Video clips featuring you and your company are great promotional tools. After the segment, the TV station will usually post the clip of it online so that you can share it with your customers, colleagues, family, and friends. Your PR agency can also purchase a video clip so that you have it for your records and can promote it for years to come on your website and with potential customers.

 

KUSI Camp

 

Being on TV can seem nerve wracking, but remember: you’re the expert. Talk to the reporter as if he or she is a friendly client. As long as you practice with your PR team and give concise, informative answers, you’ll be viewed as a reputable source, you’ll come away with a useful marketing tool, and hopefully, you’ll be invited back as a regular guest!

Have any additional questions about broadcast interviews? Leave a comment below and we’ll address your concerns.

This blog was contributed by Amanda Whitlock and updated by Clearpoint Agency staff.

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Clearpoint Agency Earns Three More Awards

Posted on October 27, 2015

Public relations, social media and digital marketing agency has been recognized by PRSA, Health Care Communicators of San Diego County, and PR Daily over its 13-year history

SAN DIEGO – Oct. 27, 2015 Clearpoint Agency, Inc., a public relations and digital marketing firm, received three awards at last week’s San Diego Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Edward L. Bernays Awards. The agency continues its winning streak, having received peer-reviewed Bernays awards for every year in which it has entered the competition. To date, the agency has earned a total of 32 industry awards since opening its offices in 2002.

“Bernays Awards are earned by organizations that performed exemplary public relations work during the past year,” said Amber Albrecht, APR, president of PRSA San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter. “The awards are challenging to win because the judges are not familiar with the nominees and must critique the work completely on its own merits against work completed by PR teams of all sizes and budgets. Year after year, Clearpoint Agency proves its ability to create exemplary communications programs, earning them awards.”

At this year’s Bernays event, the Silver Mark of Excellence award for integrated communications was presented to Clearpoint for the integrated program for AleSmith Brewing Company, an award-winning craft brewery based in San Diego. As the brewery celebrated 20 years and opened a new brewing facility, Clearpoint created messaging, generated public awareness with significant earned national media, assisted with fundraising concepts, created mascot themes, and ensured the entire strategy from media relations to events was integrated and on track. This is the third time Clearpoint has earned the Silver award for integrated communications programs.

The second award Clearpoint earned was a Bronze Mark of Excellence in speech writing for SynteractHCR. The award-winning speech, entitled “Tomorrow’s Treatments Today,” focused on the opportunities and challenges in bringing new drugs and therapies to the patients who need them and was delivered by a President Obama look-alike at the company’s Washington DC reception for clients and media. This is the fifth award Clearpoint has earned for its work with SynteractHCR. Past awards include business-to-business marketing, website writing and rebranding, overall public relations campaign for rebranding, and internal communications.

The third award was a Bronze Mark of Merit for social media campaign strategies for Zodiac Pool Systems, a global leader in pool and spa product manufacturing. Clearpoint took a fresh approach to Zodiac’s social media to present Zodiac as a fun, approachable and knowledgeable brand. Clearpoint created social campaigns including a 12 Days of Christmas campaign based on Zodiac Pool products, and a “Did you Know?” educational series to increase engagement, followers, “likes,” and fans. This is the fifth PRSA award Clearpoint has earned for its work with Zodiac. Clearpoint was previously awarded for research and evaluation, integrated communications, and social media strategy and management for the pool product manufacturer.

“Every year, the PRSA Bernays submission process challenges our team to examine our creativity, strategy and skills as PR professionals in an ever-changing industry,” said Clearpoint Agency President Bonnie Shaw. “To submit your work and have others in your profession say it’s award-worthy is extremely meaningful to our team. We are honored to be recognized by the PRSA year after year.”

The annual Bernays Awards are open to all agencies and organizations in San Diego and Imperial counties and recognize the finest in public relations campaigns, professionals and elements in a range of categories.

See a complete list of Clearpoint’s award-winning projects here: http://clearpointagency.com/index.php/awards/.

About Clearpoint Agency, Inc.
For more than 13 years, Clearpoint Agency has developed award-winning PR, social media and marketing communications programs for B2B and B2C clients in technology, consumer products, financial and professional services, manufacturing and biotech industries. From strategy and content development to media relations and social media, the experts at Clearpoint’s team have the experience to generate buzz for your brand and creatively communicate your message to target audiences.

Website: www.clearpointagency.com                   Twitter: @ClearpointPR                Facebook: ClearpointPRAgency
LinkedIn: Clearpoint Agency       Blog: Clear View

Contact
Julie Willis
760.230.2424
Julie@clearpointagency.com

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Five Tips to Make Your Business Facebook Page a Success

Posted on April 28, 2014

Woman Clicking Like Button. She Likes It!Today it seems like everyone is on Facebook. That’s probably because more than half of the United States population has a profile. Even Grandma writes “happy birthday” on your timeline. The good news is Facebook isn’t just for catching up with grandma or posting pictures of your cat anymore, it is an effective marketing tool for business! According to HubSpot social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC.  So, how does your business get a piece of this marketing pie? Here are five tips to develop your business Facebook page into a successful marketing piece.

1. Always keep an eye on your end goal, otherwise you run the risk of getting caught up in all the Facebook chaos. Set up a list of objectives to accomplish through the use of Facebook. This will prevent straying from the path. Questions to consider when establishing goals are “Why should the company have a Facebook page?” or “What is the company trying to accomplish through social media in general?” For example, some companies invest in social media to increase brand exposure, to increase web traffic, or to gain market insights, according to Social Media Today. Decide what’s important to your company and stick to it. Remember to keep your expectations realistic, too.

2. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Stay dedicated to the plan you have committed to. There are many social networking sites out there, and it’s tempting to join every one so as not to miss out. However, too many companies set up a social media profile, update it once and then forget about it. The profile turns into a “ghost” of your former ambition. It looks careless and inconsistent. Best to have just one or two profiles and do a good job managing those.

3. Stay relevant. This goes back to posting pictures of cats, and other stuff people don’t care about. For example, it’s not effective social media if a pharmaceutical company posts about a celebrity’s tragic outfit. Facebook is an opportunity to present your company as a highly credible and knowledgeable industry source. Post about topics that your audience is going to be interested in and find valuable.

4. Have fun! This is a chance to swap formality with personality. People like to see companies as humans too. This opens up possibilities for great brand and customer relationships, and to build trust between the two. Show your brand’s personality and your company culture with cool images, fun pics of your team, feel-good posts about your community and other human interest posts.

5. Be generous and you will be rewarded. Share the posts you find valuable from other Facebook pages.  By sharing you not only help a customer, partner or influencer reach your audience, but you will benefit from reaching a wider audience because their followers will see your share when you tag the original post with that Facebook’s handle.

This blog was contributed by Samantha Forth, Account Coordinator at Clearpoint Agency.

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The Press Release is Not Dead

Posted on March 06, 2014

The value of press releases has been a topic for debate for a few years now, and we heard it discussed recently on a PRSA Google+ Hangout with several top Los Angeles tech reporters. That inspired us to give our answer: we contend the press release is not dead! Coincidentally, so did all of the LA reporters on the Google+ Hangout.

Here are three reasons why the press release is still a knockout tool in public relations –

Boxing business woman punching towards camera wearing boxing glo1) Helps reporters fact check: Whether or not a reporter interviews a source, they still rely on press releases for the important details. Several of the reporters at the PRSA Google+ Hangout said they use press releases for fact checking. Releases provide pertinent details such as dates, properly attributed quotes, features, pricing and availability in one quick, accessible resource. Is the press release dead? “Absolutely not,” said Natalie Jarvey, tech writer for the Hollywood Reporter. The details are especially important for time sensitive news. “[The press release] has all the information you need,” says Ben Kuo, of SocalTech.com.

Pro tip: Make sure your release has those key data points. Hard facts, quantifiable numbers, and real data is important to give your press release life.

2) Provides SEO and general visibility: Your press release can increase search engine optimization (SEO) and help your company be seen by current customers, potential customers, and the media. Thanks to Internet distribution, these key audiences can see your press release on RSS feeds and news portals, and be inspired to give you a call. We regularly get calls from reporters who saw a client’s latest press release and wanted more information.

Pro tip: Use professional newswires for the best distribution online, know the key times to release news for optimum visibility, and always do custom pitches for coverage.

3) Builds your content marketing toolkit: To continue to rank well in search engines, websites and blogs need regular updates with fresh content. Updating your website’s News section with the latest press release is a great way to keep it refreshed. The same goes for your blog. And press releases really get nine lives when they’re used as posts on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Pro tip: Make sure when updating your website or blog with a press release that you use a platform that can be easily read by search engines. Some methods are easier than others.

The press release IS learning to share: Those are several reasons why the press release is still alive. But it is evolving, as are other news-dissemination tools. The press release is no longer the only viable platform for public disclosure. In March 2013, the US Securities and Exchange Commission announced that Facebook and Twitter were considered valid for corporate disclosures. Some companies strictly use their blog as the place to share company news.

The important thing to remember is the press release tells your story, and it has to be legitimate news backed by real facts. There are still people out there who wrongly believe press releases can use “spin” to make something out of nothing. That is not the case! Sometimes, a press release is just not the right option. For example, if someone important said something nice about your company? Great – put it on social media. Or your age-old software got its 15th update? Unless it’s a major change, put it on your blog and send the update to specific audiences. Your latest news may be best suited for another tactic.

We see great value in press releases and were so pleased to hear several reporters agree with us. We encourage our clients to use press releases to share newsworthy information, and we’re always happy to provide guidance on what is, or isn’t, appropriate for a press release.

Long live the press release!

This blog was contributed by Lexy Haynes,Director of Client Services at Clearpoint Agency.

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The Life of a PR Professional

Posted on October 31, 2013

I was recently asked to create a video to share with Public Relations and Marketing students at SDSU. The goal was to hear from PR professionals about their experiences working in the field. In particular, they had two questions: what I wish someone had told me about PR, and what my favorite part about working in PR is. We thought it’d be a valuable thing to share on our blog too.

Check out the video for my answers here: http://youtu.be/CTiF7EqpF0M, or read highlights below!

Highlights:

What do I wish someone had told me about PR before I entered the field? I had two answers:

  1. Lead with your writing skills. There is a misconception that PR is all about hosting events, networking, and engaging in-person with people. The reality is that the majority of our work in PR is sitting at a computer writing. When you prepare to enter the field of PR, lead with your writing skills and make sure they’re great. Because you’re going to need them.
  2. Be prepared for a never-ending balancing act. In public relations, your day is never the same. We are constantly getting requests, both expected and unexpected, from coworkers and clients, and we have to be able to manage an always-changing list of priorities. You have to be flexible and organized.

My favorite part about PR? My answer is simple, but I think it really is the true essence of what I love about the job:

  1. I love being a problem solver to our clients. Just doing great work that takes care of their needs and helps them do their job better. Whether it’s analyzing survey data, writing a creative press release, or crafting an award nomination that wins, I love creating and delivering a beautiful piece of work that solves my clients’ problems. It’s very gratifying and I get to do it every day.

Senior Account Executive Lexy Haynes

If you ever have questions about the life of a PR pro, feel free to contact me at the office or on Twitter at @ayates. I also highly recommend checking out your local PRSA chapter. In particular, San Diego has a great chapter for new professionals, click here for more info.  (Shout out to our own Antonia G. who is currently serving on the New Pros board.)

This post was contributed by Lexy Haynes, Senior Account Executive at Clearpoint Agency

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10 Pointers on Writing and Distributing Extraordinary Press Releases

Posted on May 06, 2013

At Clearpoint Agency we think daily about writing press releases that not only convey the news, but communicate what our clients and products are all about.  The press release is critical to the entire PR program because it serves as the hub for so many forms of communications – emails to clients, social media, blog topics, website content and more.

Here are 10 tips we recommend if you want to write and distribute press releases that are exceptional!

1. Write a clear and compelling headline – no more than 22 words
Always put the company or product name in the headline. If you are using a newswire service (which we recommend you do – see tip #9) they will require that you identify the company or brand in the headline as well.

Make the headline interesting – search the web for ideas on how others have announced a new client, product or version.  Use your research to make your headline straightforward and interesting to your target audiences.

Typewriter Latest News

2. Optimize your headline
Search engines rely heavily on page titles when determining rankings. Your press release’s headline is probably the single most important factor in press release optimization. Search engines don’t understand a play on words, so your headline should be straightforward and use the same language someone would use to search. Make sure you include your most important keywords/phrases. To be indexed in Google News, your headline should be between 2 and 22 words. Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) often limit titles displayed to about 67 characters, so your most important news should be in the first 67 letters and spaces of your headline.

3. Don’t forget a subheadline
The subheadline is another opportunity for you to tell the audience how important your news is or highlight benefits to key audiences. Just try not to repeat words from the headline or communicate the same exact concept in the subheadline. Give it some thought.

The subheadline can also help with SEO. While the subheadline will not be included in the title tag and therefore has a less significant role in press release SEO, its early placement in the body of the release makes it a great place to incorporate additional keywords not included in your (less than 22-word) headline.

4. The lead is important
When writing the lead paragraph remember the inverted pyramid, which calls for most of the facts of a press release be contained at the beginning. The lead paragraph succinctly includes the who, what, when, where and how of the story. If the reader were only to read the lead of a good press release, they would have a clear idea of your news. You can expound on the details in subsequent paragraphs of the press release.

5. Link early in your release
Hyperlinks are critical to SEO and press release optimization. Links help search engines associate the content of a release to other sites, which helps the release’s ranking. As with using keywords, linking is most effective in the first few paragraphs, where search engine spiders focus the most.

6. Avoid clichés like the plague (pun intended)
Basically a cliché is something that has become too familiar, overly used or commonplace. The use of common expressions instead of more creative, compelling phrases to communicate an idea is the true mark of an amateur writer.

7. Don’t use weak quotes
Really no quote should start with “We are so (fill in the blank with pleased, excited, honored, etc.) Get creative and maximize the power of the quote.  Use quotes to inject opinion and color into the press release.  Include a benefit statement or address the pain that the audience is experiencing and how the news solves the challenge.  Quotes are valuable real estate – don’t waste the opportunity.    You don’t want the CEO or other executives to seem as if they are going on and on.  Keep it tight and conversational. Also, here’s your chance to be promotional and insert some of the company’s key messages and/or services.

8. Add rich media to your releases
Readers love to see links to videos and images so they can learn more about your company and product. Google and the other major search engines love content with rich media (images, video and audio) too. Optimize your images by ensuring they have clear file names that describe the image and even incorporate a keyword (“ProductName.jpg” rather than a file name “Image_1234_v1.jpg”). Include a descriptive caption for any multimedia asset you distribute. Don’t forget to include your logo with your release (some wire services charge extra for this), as it is the image most likely to come up if someone searches directly for your brand name.

9. Use a newswire service if you can afford it
The newswire service will distribute your news to third-party sites, which is very good for SEO, and typically distributes to news rooms and bloggers across the country (depending on the wire and circuits you choose).  And an added bonus: the editors at the newswires who review the press releases before they are distributed over the wire are typically very good at catching mistakes and typos!
Also email your press release to key media contacts along with a CUSTOM pitch that tells them why the news is so important. Don’t “spam” editors, journalist and bloggers with emails that start with “Dear editor.” Instead personalize your note to them and offer a little information they might not get from the press release alone.  Here’s another hint: read a few of the journalists’ articles before you contact them to be sure they would even be interested in the topic of your announcement.

Email the press release to your staff, customers, partners and investors.  It’s astounding how often we think of getting news out to complete strangers before the people who care the most about the news.

10. Hire a PR firm if you don’t have the capability – it’s worth it!
If you are uncertain of your press release writing capabilities or simply unsure what the news angle should be (that’s a hint that it should contain an angle) then hire a PR firm to assist.  The good firms will ask you a lot of questions, and do their homework before they start developing press releases for you. And it’s worth it. PR is more than a press release or getting pickup of your announcements – it’s a long term strategy that will raise your visibility and strengthen your credibility, with the press release as the core.

This post was contributed by Bonnie Shaw, Clearpoint Agency President

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10 Tips to Nail Your Media Interview

Posted on November 22, 2012

In recognition of Clearpoint Agency’s 10 year anniversary, our content will be featuring posts all year long about the number 10. From “10 Social Marketing Tips You May Have Missed” to “10 Reasons to Blog,” we’ll brighten your appreciation for all things 10. Have a tenacious idea? Let us know!

1. Prepare ahead of time: this is the most important step so you can accommodate both the reporter’s and your own goals. Review background on the reporter and previous articles, understand the topic, and know the reporter’s audience. Then identify your objectives, and know the key messages you want to cover. Many times, your PR team can provide this information to you.

2. Be human and approachable: be energetic, smile (even on the phone), and display a confident, yet approachable attitude. And remember to be honest, and by that I mean, provide honest information, but be honestly yourself and don’t be afraid to show your personality.

3. Avoid clichés and overused concepts: in your answers, avoid clichés such as “burning issue” and “tip of the iceberg,” as well as over-used phrases such as “innovative solutions,” and “we have no competition.” Be original and creative. Skip the fluff and get to the truth of what you’re trying to say about your company, products or services.

4. Don’t go off the record: nothing is ever “off the record.” If you don’t want something printed, don’t say it. If a reporter finds something interesting, they will find a way to use it.

5. Be credible and relevant: during the interview, provide information that relates to the reporter’s audience and to your customer’s needs. Use statistics to support your statements when appropriate. In addition, quote an industry guru or third-party report to add credibility to your messages. To make the interview interesting, use simple analogies or comparisons that people will understand easily. For example, “The Internet is like electricity. Customers do not care how it works; they just want to be able to plug into it and use it.”

6. Make friends with brevity: make your points quickly and concisely. At Clearpoint Agency, we always recommend giving the short answer first, then filling in with additional detail if the journalist asks. Remember reporters are interested in the five Ws and one H—who, what, where, when, why and how. So answer accordingly, then go beyond those to address the reader’s question of “What does this mean to me?” Personal and customer experiences can illustrate your main points and help the audience relate to a real world example.

7. Use bridging: bridging is a conversation control method that allows you to move from one subject to another. It incorporates briefly answering a reporter’s question and then following that response with your specific messages that relate.

8. Use flagging: this conversation method is used to highlight your most important messages by calling out and emphasizing their importance. For example, say, “The three most important things to keep in mind are….”

9. Incorporate images: a picture is worth a thousand words. Whether it’s a company photo related to the topic, an appropriate chart or graph, or even a headshot of you, an image will make the content more interesting, so reporters may give you more space or better placement.

10. Rely on your best tool: remember, a good PR agency just might be your best tool to nail media interviews. We know the reporters, the audiences, your key messages, and the best ways to prepare, train and support you.

This post was contributed by Alexia Haynes, Clearpoint Agency Senior Account Executive and Bonnie Shaw, Clearpoint Agency President

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