Monthly Archives: April 2012

22 Simple Media Interview Do’s and Don’ts: Part 1

Media interviews more often than not are an opportunity, but only once you’ve fully prepared. When speaking with a member of the media you need to be “on” – engaged and ready to address their questions while still incorporating your own key messages. Whether it’s your company, your product or service, or if it’s you – you’ll need to know what to do and what not to do in order to come out shining in the end.

*This week, True is featuring the “Don’ts” when it comes to media interviews. Check back next week to see Part 2, featuring 11 best practices in our “Do’s” list.

The Don’ts:

1. Use jargon. According to National Assessment of Adult Literacy (NAAL), the average adult in the U.S. reads between the 8th and 9th grade reading levels. Keep it simple otherwise you’ll lose audience interest.

2. Speculate. Facts are reputable, believable, and credible. Speculation is just that, speculation.

3. Say “no comment”. When someone says “no comment” in an interview it actually makes that person look suspicious than it does anything else. Just tell the truth.

4. Say “off the record”. Everything you say and share is on the record, regardless of whether or not you say otherwise. Bottom line is that this phrase no longer really means anything. If you’ve said something to a reporter that you shouldn’t have, simply ask for a little discretion. Be up front and honest and simply ask that the reporter not use the information that you shared (and shouldn’t have). The best way to avoid this situation is to plan what you’re going to share ahead of time and stick to your messages.

5. Criticize the reporter or his/her questions. This simply isn’t becoming and no matter what, will make you look like a bad guy. If a reporter asks a question that isn’t on topic or doesn’t apply, simply transition him or her in the right direction and/or use it as an opportunity to educate the reporter. For example, “Well that’s an interesting perspective, {insert reporter’s name}, but the real issue is…”

6. Be boring. Use fluctuation in your tone, use examples and analogies, keep it interesting and on topic. Ultimately, tell a story.

7. Repeat negative questions. If a reporter asks a negative question, you want to turn that negative into a positive and/or redirect it in a way that you can apply your key message. Stay positive.

8. Do an interview unprepared. Prepare, prepare, prepare and then prepare some more.

9. Let your guard down. A reporter is a reporter is a reporter. That means – if you go out for lunch or a cocktail with a reporter, he or she is still a reporter, not your new best friend.

10. Place blame. Placing blame – unless it’s on yourself – gets you nowhere. An interview is an opportunity to tell your side of the story using facts and figures that support your angle and key messages. Use the time wisely.

11. Ask to see a story before it’s published. Journalists generally write to tell two sides of a story and sharing the article prior to print would demonstrate bias. If you’re concerned about accuracy it’s always okay to request to either see your quotes or have them read back to you. Keep in mind that media coverage is not the same as a paid ad and no one, except the reporter’s editor, has the right to review and/or correct a journalist’s work before it’s published.

A Brief (visual) Guide to Facebook Insights

A lot of marketers disagree on which Facebook Insights are important.  But isn’t it important to understand what the numbers mean before deciding how to evaluate a campaign? Different campaigns require different metrics. Even an extremely broad metric like impressions can have relevance for paid ad campaigns.


The infographic below shows the relationship between each of the social network’s primary metrics. Each one can be broken down further into organic, viral and paid. They can also be sliced by day, week and month (most recent 28 days).This  infographic also shows how each smaller metric is a part of a larger one. Since every Facebook page is different, it’s impossible to make a perfect scale model. Instead, circles sizes show a general relationship in number recorded by each metric for the average page.

*To see the infographic in its entirety, click on the image.

Facebook Insights infographic



If March Madness was a Social Media Tournament…

I’m sure the following question has crossed your mind a thousand times this basketball season: if March Madness was a social media competition, who would win? OK, maybe that isn’t the first question that comes to mind (maybe the second), but just take a minute and think about it.


How often do your resort to Twitter to get an update on a game? How many times do you catch yourself trash-talking with frenemies via Facebook because, for a split second, you think you are channeling the one and only Dick Vitale?  And, how many times do you see hashtags take center stage at the bottom of TV screens and across sponsors’ banners—thank you, Gatorade and ESPN—to motivate fans from the farmlands of the Hoosier State to the stars of the Hollywood Hills to discuss, interact and share?


The answer is a lot, which is why Schwartz Communications, a PR technology and healthcare agency, took the liberty of analyzing the growth and power of social media surrounding March Madness with a formula I think is pretty baller. To determine each school’s Social Media Power Ranking (SMPR), the Schwartz MSL Research Group  took the number of Facebook fans for each NCAA basketball team and added the number of Twitter followers for each team’s basketball Twitter handle and then divided that number by the total number of students attending a given university (as reported by Wikipedia.)


It’s OK; math was never my strong suit either.


From there, Schwartz MSL Research Group determined the social media powerhouse that knows how to make a slam dunk in the digital realm. Drum roll, please… the 2012 March Madness SMPR champion is The University of Kansas. Hey, at least you walk away with something, Jayhawks.


The point of this pep talk is this: with the growth and power of social media, one can’t help but take notice and advantage of our All-American communicators—Twitter and Facebook. These two social media platforms give brands, institutions and fans a chance to take their words to the Big Dance and create a little madness while they’re at it.

March Madness 2012