Archive for May, 2010

What Does a Producer Do?

People often wonder what exactly does a producer do?   The answer is, it depends.  Many people carry the title "producer" in the media, but there are all different kinds and no universal definition. In general, a producer is asked to combine creative and/or technical skills with project management duties.

In my experience, the producer is a "buck stops here" kind of job.  When something goes wrong in the field, on the air or in the studio, it's the producer's job to make it work and the producer's head on the block, if it doesn't. 

To give you an idea of the scope of a producer's role, here's a look at some of what a professional video producer is expected to do. 

A Professional Approach to Web Video – What Does a Video Producer Do? 

Dan Pink on What Motivates You!

Here's an interesting video I found on YouTube about Motivation. It uses animation to illustrate a talk given by author Daniel Pink (promoting his latest book DRIVE, no doubt). 

This could be a good idea for the authors and speakers among us, perhaps as part of a demo, since it essentially converts a speaking excerpt which could be presented as simply a boring talking head video into something much more visually engaging.   I found it very watch-able.

Free Online PR Leads List

Here’s an excellent round-up of resources for finding PR leads online

Top 15 Ways to Get PR Leads for Free Online.

Top 15 Ways to Get PR Leads for Free Online

Helpful Social Media Referral Tool

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm currently spending most of my time focused on services to help local offline businesses get results online through video marketing.  I've worked online for a number of years, but as I look for new ways to get the word out for my clients, it still amazes me how vast the Internet is. 

Here's a social networking tool I found out about from marketing expert John Jantsch.   It's a free facebook app for friends to share online referrals for their favorite local businesses.  It also helps the businesses ask their customers to promote them. 

P.S.   I'm not an affiliate of the site.  I just like to pass along useful things when I discover them.

Don’t Fill the Silence

Reporters are not out to get you. People looking for positive publicity often fear that.  When you pitch a story and they bite, what they want is more information to flesh out the pitched idea and craft it into a story. 

Still, doing a radio or TV interview is not like having a conversation, no matter how cordial and easy-going the interviewer may seem.  It's their job to put you at ease and draw you out. You want to have good energy and be responsive, but have a clear idea of what you want to say and keep your answers heading in that direction.

Remember, in a taped interview, they're going to choose only some of what you say to use as sound bites, yet everything you say could be included in the report. 

Here are two techniques that might get you to reveal more than you want:

The first is silence.  Here's how it works. After you've given your answer, the reporter just looks at you, seemingly waiting.  Most people have a tendency to break the silence by saying something more.  Don't do it.  Once you've delivered your message, you're done.  Wait for another question.

The other technique happens at the end of an interview. A reporter may ask, "Is there something else you would like to say?" or "Is there something I've left out?"  or words to that effect.  My recommendation is to add nothing more. The best response is "I think we've covered it."

If you make a comment, do it to reinforce your main points.  You could say something like, "The bottom line here is… or "What's most important to remember is….," then give a brief summary of what you've already said. 

Be careful not to add new information or go in another direction here.

In the edited interview, that last off-topic comment could become the whole story and the story you intended, with your earlier more thought-out answers,will be lost.

Not Enough Information Interview Tip

I was listening to a radio interview recently in which the guest made a point by recounting a conversation she’s had with her teenage son.  She concluded by saying, “That was T-M-I.”

The host’s next question was, “What do you mean by T-M-I?  That can mean a lot of things.”

Now, the host may have known this shorthand term for “too much information,” but a good interviewer  never assumes that their audience knows.  I’d say most acronyms, other than the most familiar ones like F-Y-I, the CIA or the U-N, should be stated in full the first time, before you start using their abbreviated form.

For example, the E-U has been around quite awhile, but Americans don’t talk about the European Union much. Those letters could stand for different things in different places. If a listener has to mentally pause to think, “What do those letters mean?” for even a moment, they’ve tuned out and you may not get their attention back.

To avoid a communications melt-down, watch out for technical language, unfamiliar abbreviations, slang terms and pop culture references, unless you’re
absolutely certain the audience will immediately “get it.”

Heck, when I was just starting out in TV new, when you said  T-M-I, you were referring to the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant and its near melt-down.  That’s quite a different story from today’s T-M-I.”

Photo credit: Stock.xchng/merlin 1075

Make a Roadmap to Reporters

Everyone knows the best way to get somewhere you've never been is to follow a map.  Approaching the media for publicity is no different. You need to create a plan.

Here's a guest post from Storyteller to the Media Michelle Tennant to help you get pointed in the right direction.

Keeping Your Eye on the Ball When Creating a PR Plan

By Michelle

The biggest mistake people make when
seeking publicity is focusing too much on their own needs and not enough on
their audience.

our first response when we have news to share is to send out a new release in a
shotgun fashion. But if we focus only on our need for publicity, our eyes are
off the target.

It’s like in baseball where coaches
teach players to focus on the ball they are getting ready to hit. Or dance
teachers who tell ballerinas to look at a
focus point when they are twirling.

To get effective publicity for your
product, service or organization, you have to plan for your audience’s needs.

And your first audience is the
media. You need to be familiar with the media and work to meet their needs.

Broadcast or print?

Although we speak of the media as if
they are one entity, there are big differences between the needs of broadcast
and print, local and national and general and specific media.

Print reporters tend to be serious
journalists who want to educate the public about the topics they cover. They
are interested in getting the scoop — in telling readers what is news, what has
not been said before, and putting it into perspective.

Broadcast reporters are more interested
in the entertainment value of the news they present. Since they are competing
with other visual media to attract viewers, they often seek out news that is
controversial, dramatic or compelling. Otherwise viewers will just change the

Television reporters also are drawn
to stories with great visual images while print reporters seek statistics,
analysis and expert commentary to put stories in perspective.

Both print and broadcast journalists
are looking for ways to illustrate larger national trends and stories, and
reaction from the public and experts to breaking news.

You have to decide whether broadcast
or print is the best venue for publicizing your organization, product or
service. But there is a lot more to deciding your target media.

National or local?

In seeking publicity, are you
looking at consumers on a local, regional or national level?

When you are working with local
newspapers or broadcast media, they are first interested in the local angle —
the person making news or their connection to a local
or national

National media often use specific
localized examples illustrate larger trends affecting everyone. A good example
was a piece Good Morning America recently produced using contacts they got
through my firm, Wasabi Publicity Inc.

Good Morning America specializes in
producing great little segments that are entertaining. They were doing a story
on parents who have trouble saying no to their children’s request for money in
the recession.

This particular segment
focused on parenting tips. They
called me
because they needed a family to interview. I was able to connect them with a
family through one my expert clients.

This all came about because I had
sent Good Morning America an email letting them know that I am a resource.
That’s a good illustration of something I always say: it’s not just who you
know, but who knows about you.

General consumer or industry
specific audience?

Ask yourself which media will best
reach my target audience? Do I need to reach general consumers? Then it may be
best to go with TV and radio.

But if yours is a specialized
product or service, your best bet is may be trade publications that deal with
the details of each industry. For instance, my firm recently publicized a new
auto cleaning product through several trade publications.

The point is you should consider
your target audience — the media’s needs and interests — before publicizing
your product or service. That is how to keep your eye on the ball to create an
effective PR plan.


 20-year PR
Veteran and Chief Creative Officer of Wasabi Publicity, Michelle
Tennant Nicholson's seen PR transition from typewriters to Twitter. Called a
five-star publicist by Good Morning America's Mable Chan, Michelle specializes
in international PR working regularly with the likes of Oprah, Larry King, BBC,
The Today Show and all major media. Recently she secured a Dr. Phil
placement for a client within eight hours of signing the
contract. Contact her at PR blog
where she teaches tips from the trade.


Grow Your Business with Web Video

Let’s face it, people can use online search to find just about anything.  When was the last time you reached for the Yellow Pages to look for a local business?   Maybe you don’t even know what the Yellow Page Directory is!(or was?)  When you “let your fingers do the walking” today, as the ad used to say, it’s on a keyboard, mobile phone pad or touch screen.

In fact, many traditional methods for getting the word out just don’t work as well as they used to. After a lifetime of being bombarded with advertising messages, most people are experts at tuning out. (How many of us use our DVR or TiVo to fast forward through the commercials?  I confess I do.)

Recognizing the trend and the need, I plan to redirect my media consulting to emphasize online media marketing.  I’m still happy to help clients with their on-air publicity strategies, but will focus on “new media” approaches, especially online video, to help local businesses get noticed.  With today’s technology, video can be a powerful and cost effective way for them to tell their story to attract leads, clients and sales without “selling.”

The right kind of web video publicity can move them to the top of the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing!  And since research shows 98-percent of people doing a local search will choose a business from the first page of results, that top of the page ranking can boost their bottom line.

I recently found a terrific online video marketing expert, Andy Jones, in the UK.  His company is getting businesses around the world on the first page of Google RIGHT NOW and he GUARANTEES it!

Check out his services and of course, watch the video here

P.S. I’m not an affiliate, just a fan.  Enjoy!

3 Ways To Avoid Being A Media Dud

I generally like to take the positive approach, but sometimes "What Not To Do" is more effective.  If you don't want to squander your "moment" in a hard-won interview on TV or radio, here are three "Don'ts" to keep in mind.  

1. Don't Ramble.  Decide the main message you want to deliver going in. Make sure what you're saying is relevant to the particular media audience watching or listening.  Have three major points worked out in advance and a variety of ways you can phrase them simply and directly. Practice smoothly transitioning from an interviewer's questions to the points you want to make in a conversational tone.

2. Don't Lecture.  Many interviews fall into the, "How did you do it?" or, "How can I do that?" category, so there's an opportunity to do some teaching.  But it's important not to give a dull and boring lecture. Resist the urge to show off your expert education and training by using arcane language, insider jargon or  highly technical details. The best communicators take complex topics and express them in an engaging way that even a 5th grader can understand.

3. Don't Preach.  Most people hate being told what to think or do and will naturally reject anyone trying to force their views on them. It's fine to have strong opinions in an interview and back them up with your expertise, but don't be tied to the outcome.  Present fascinating information, insights and stories that support your points. Then, let it go.  The host, viewers and listeners can make up their own minds.  They'll be more receptive to your ideas if they don't sense you're pushing an agenda. 

I recommend doing some mock interviews to get an outsider's perspective on whether you are rambling, lecturing or preaching.  People consuming media today have lots of choices and very short attention spans so you can lose them fast. You'll become a Media Darling, not a Dub, if your interview is so lively and interesting, the audience has no reason to channel-surf or tune-out.

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