Five Reasons to Consider  a PR Consultant .. or Can You Afford NOT to?

Five Reasons to Consider a PR Consultant .. or Can You Afford NOT to?

Watch the local TV news any night of the week. You may an uncomfortable corporate executive fumbling through a 10-second sound bite that makes you cringe. “That could be ME,” you think.

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Be prepared for interviews – a PR consultant offers his or her expertise

A Philadelphia investigative reporter did a segment on a company that was being cited by the state for equipment problems. During a sound bite, the reporter questioned the CEO and president why he didn’t know about the problems. The man wondered out loud to the reporter while the camera was rolling why the reporter referred to him as the CEO and president. The reporter replied that he had done his homework. The CEO looked ridiculous for seemingly trying to ‘hide’ the fact that he is indeed the CEO and president and is ultimately responsible for what happens at the company.

This scene is a reason a company – especially a small or medium-sized business – needs a public relations consultant. Large companies have resources to retain in-house PR or communications directors; smaller companies often don’t have that luxury.

  1. A PR consultant who is familiar with your business and who has media experience will guide you through protecting your brand and keeping messaging and responses focused.
  2. A good PR consultant will listen to you and your company’s needs and be able to translate those needs into messages that the customer/consumer/client can relate to.
  3. When you are revamping your web site, ramping-up social media and collateral materials, the PR consultant is a fresh set of eyes to write, edit, interpret and offer expertise on how your content and communications will be perceived outside your company.
  4. Since media can be your friend, the PR consultant can reach out to his or her contacts with an appropriate pitch geared to the media audience and then prepare you to take on that media interview with confidence.
  5. To prepare for times when negative news is focused on your company, the PR consultant will act as your company spokesperson or prepare you or your delegates to speak in a straight-forward manner aimed at tackling the crisis and looking forward to repairing the company image.

Can your company afford to be caught unprepared? The PR consultant is a human insurance policy watching over your image and brand which is what makes you successful.

When You’re Away, Are You Really Gone?

I’m bbaaaackkk. Vacation is a beautiful thing. It clears the mind and refreshes the soul. The question is, how can you maintain that vacation state of mind once you get back to your life and work? I wish I had a great, insightful answer. I’m sure if I did, I’d be depositing a lot of checks and signing book deals.

The best I can offer is: try to add scenes from your vacation to your list of happy places to help you get through the day. Your happy place is where you go when life and work start closing in on you. The back of your neck gets tight. Deadlines abound and you feel as though you never went on vacation. Just stop;IMG_1877 close your eyes and remember something special from your vacation. For me it will be the sight of the clear, blue sea and the feel of the soft, white, warm sand under my feet. Also, my husband taking on the Flowrider and our encounter with Carlos the dolphin will be happy places for me.

Remembering all the happy places throughout your life help you get through the tough times. Think about the serenity, smiles, laughter and beauty that you see in all the places you visit.

It is those thoughts that help me tackle work as I get back to the routine this week. Normally, I will blog on Tuesdays and Fridays. So, I missed Tuesday and blogged today, Wednesday. The sky did not fall; no blood was shed; no lives were lost. I ended up working ten hours today and did get a lot done. Tomorrow is another day. Now, I rest and visit my happy places.

Today’s News is Yesterday’s Video (or Worse)

News is an event or issue happening in your world that affects many people. At least that’s what I thought was news – and what I was taught was news back in the day. I suppose I became old school because I still believe news should be something many people can care about or something that many people should know about. Issues and happenings that are significant in many people’s lives.

Now, it seems news is what happens to someone’s cat – or dog – or happy baby or on a dash-cam. Since news organizations have cut staffs to the bone, there are fewer and fewer stories – especially locally that affect people’s lives. At least on TV news, much of the time is spent telling you about celebrity news, what will be on that TV station tonight (almost always entertainment) and what fantastic video has shown up on You Tube or via some other internet channel.

NBC News today has broadcast dash-cam video from a New Jersey transit bus versus schoolsiegalbuscrashwebpkg_. whatever happened to the immediacy of news? Yes, the video was probably just released but the only reason the video is ‘news’ today is that NBC or any other news organization has found it. You know the saying “it’s like watching a train wreck?” Well, that is what this and all other video like it is all about. We are human, we can’t stop watching train wrecks. That’s why the Kardashians and Lindsey Lohan and any other bad boy/girl celebrity gets so much coverage.

News organizations used to be leaders. The hard-working staffs (still today) work like the dickens to write, produce, record news that the bosses tell them to put together. Many of the news stories are credible and interesting to a vast majority of people. But the tide turned about 20 years ago with the influx of infotainment programming. Now with instant news coverage and the pressure to get the pictures quickly, there is a lot of nonsense in news.

Len Berman used to do a TV sports segment that was hilarious; he showed all kinds of sports video of amazing shots, sports bloopers and such. He always had one crazy shot with people and things colliding and he would exclaim, “And nobody got hurt.” For a morning TV show, that was enough fun and games. It was a break from reality. Now it seems, the news reality is showing the insipid video from some child’s birthday party or something carved directly from You Tube.

KYW Newsradio in Philadelphia still does the news straight. No antics; perhaps a little too much jingle music AND they still have that crazy old-fashioned ticker. On that station, I get the news. Yes, there’s NPR and they do an honorable, creative and credible job, but for several reasons, I don’t listen often.

For now, the OFF button is where I go when the news is all about nothing that affects my life – or the lives around me. I’ll still watch, read and listen, but enough with the baby-cat-bus crash video.

Are You Engaged?

How much time do you spend on your computer? How much of that time is spent looking at web sites, looking for interesting news stories, gossip, other content? For ALL those stories, items, web sites, blogs, that you look at, are you responding in any way? Do you Tweet what you find? Are you posting this content on Facebook? Are you emailing the author?

contentMy unscientific answer is NO – to the last two questions. While you’ll see 22 people ‘liked’ your Facebook status but who cares – really? When it comes to companies, they are trying every way marketers can think of to create content and engage clients, customers and others to find them. Statistics available through Google Analytics, Facebook, a company website can (but not always) show specifics on the audience you are reaching.

The toughest question of all is, how can you turn those people who are stopping by your web site, Facebook business page and Twitter into paying customers? That is the million dollar question. Create good web design, Facebook page, engaging photos and solid writing – and you’ll see more customers. It will take time – months, maybe years – but a stick-to-it work ethic will bring results.