AAs a former TV news reporter/producer and a current PR/publicity professional, I have been on both sides of the media interview game. I like to think I have a good eye for what makes a good interview source, how to conduct an interesting interview, and how to give a compelling interview. There are a few tricks of the trade that can make you come off like a pro — which will make the reporter’s job easier and most likely translate into a better PR/publicity placement for you. Here are a few basic tips to follow: * When a publicity campaign generates a media response, try to respond as promptly as possible to that initial contact and subsequent requests. Reporters, editors and producers are on constant deadline. If they don’t get what they want from you quickly — they WON’T wait — they WILL move on to another source. * State facts, not fireworks, keeping superlatives to a minimum. Proving your product is indeed the “BEST” is next to impossible. So don’t. Simply state the specific benefits of your product matter of factly. Let the consumer decide which product is best. As long as you have a quality product, something that should be evident by the time you implement a publicity campaign, your product won’t need “BEST EVER” or “NUMBER 1” claims to come out in a positive light. * Speak in sentences, not phrases. Articulate your answers in the following manner: Subject — Verb — Object — Reason Ex: “We (subject) are launching (verb) our new product (object) to give consumers a healthy new option in beverages (reason).” This will help you give answers that are straightforward and easily understood. Beginning sentences with phrases, tends to make your answers seem drawn out, disjointed and most times unresponsive. This is not to say you should never begin a sentence with a phrase. Granted, some media savvy interviewees can pull it off with articulation. But until you get to that level — stick to the fundamentals. * “Echo-answer” the main questions. If a reporter asks: “What’s so great about your new product?” — try to paraphrase and answer: “The great thing about our product is…” That quote/soundbite is much more likely to be used because that answer can stand on its own without needing a “set-up” sentence in the article/story. A reporter can throw that quote in anywhere and it is a logical, understandable statement about the product. * Keep quotes and sound bites concise and articulate. If you must have a “canned response” to a question speak conversationally, not like a robot. A good rule of thumb for answer lengths: Effective TV/radio news broadcast soundbites should be around 4-10 seconds — something you can speak comfortably in about 3 or 4 normal breaths. Anything longer and it may seem to drone on. That’s why they are called sound bites. Regardless, stick to the S-V-O formula and there’s no real way you can get off track and therefore open you up to awkward follow-up questions. * Be a well, not a fountain. By that I mean allow the interviewer to dip in and draw out your responses instead of spewing forth a tirade of unsolicited information. (Don’t worry – most interviewers will “lead” you into discussing the most relevant aspects of your product) You will seem more genuine and less self-serving if you answer the interviewer’s questions succinctly and professionally. This is especially true in “firefighting” publicity — when your product/business/company is being interviewed in the wake of a problem. * Speak to the interviewer, not the medium. Don’t get blinded by the “stage lights”. Whether you are speaking to the editor of a small town weekly newspaper or Oprah, consider the reporter just a single person in your extensive targeted audience. Treat the interview as a one on one conversation with the reporter. That will make you more at ease, allow you to think more clearly and let you be more genuine in your responses.
This interview is an excerpt from Kevin Gianni’s Raw Summit. In this excerpt, Rhio educates us regarding mainstream media, the food industry and how it affects your health. Raw Summit Excerpt with Rhio, author of Hooked on Raw, speaker, radio host, actress, singer raw chef and eco-farmer. Kevin: You’re in the media which is very cool because I’d like to get your opinion on this next question from a media perspective. What is the media looking for when they are looking for health information? Are they just looking to repeat the same old news? I would think that theywould want to bring up new points. Rhio: I had a little 90-second spot that was being syndicated, called “The Fruit and Veggie Lady.” I did a spot once on dairy and the station called my partner up and said that the dairy industry had called him because the station was funded by ads from dairy. They objected to what I was saying about dairy. In media, it depends, like I wouldn’t say I’m not a part of the mainstream media because I’m more a part of the underground media. My partner and I own our own internet radio station. We’re trying to get this information out in an alternative way because it’s so few and far between the opportunities that we can get the information out. One time I was invited to go on a show a called “American Journal” and they had asked me to get people that had healed themselves of serious disease with the raw food diet, so I got them someone who had healed himself of bone cancer, 4th stage. Kevin: Wow! Rhio: They did a wonderful interview with him. He told his whole entire story. When it aired, the bone cancer part was left completely out! Kevin: Are you serious? Rhio: It was not even in there. What they did is…he had lost his bone cancer by fasting and also by going on a raw food diet. It took him about a year to be clear of the cancer. He told the whole story, but in the process of losing the cancer, he had lost over 100 pounds. Guess what they concentrated on? Kevin: The weight loss. Rhio: Right. The more serious, the life threatening issue was left completely out of the piece. Well, this is what mainstream media does to information. Kevin: Who do you think has control over this medical information that most people would like to know about? Rhio: Well, you see the way the media works today it depends on advertising. Who are the advertisers? If you look on TV and radio, who are one of the main advertisers, drug companies. If we get the information out that people have it within their hands, within their ability to create health in their body, and they don’t have to rely on any kind of external medicine for that, if that becomes engrained in people, who’s going to lose? What business is going to go out? Kevin: Yes, it’s obviously a matter of capitalism, right? Rhio: It’s a matter of dollars unfortunately. I think the main thing should be people’s health, but that’s not the way it is. A lot of these drugs that get out on the market and they’re recalled later, after us human, not me, but human guinea pigs used them for couple of years, and all of a sudden they’re recalled. Kevin: Yes. The food industry is doing a lot of things that some people would say are questionable and putting things out either hoping or suspecting that they will work. One of myths is irradiation of foods. What foods are being irradiated? Because I don’t even know if I know for sure. What is it doing? Rhio: Well, the government has approved the irradiation for basically all foods. Now whether the foods are being irradiated or not, it’s hard to say. It supposed to carry a label on it. It’s supposed to clearly say that the food is irradiated and they have a little symbol which is –actually the symbol it’s very appealing and looks like a little flower, so it’s non-threatening. Kevin: It’s not a nuclear reactor? Rhio: No, you would think it was something good, if you looked at it. But the industry is moving to remove that symbol and they want to not let the public know. Food is being irradiated through radioactive gamma sources like Cobalt-60 and Cesium-137. What happens when the food goes through these sources? It creates radiolytic products. Radiolytic products are like formaldehyde and benzene. Benzene is a known carcinogen. Then there’s formic acid and quinone. All of these things are not desirable to be eating. Then by going through irradiation, there’s unique radiolytic products created. Now these haven’t even been named or studied. In other words, the process itself creates certain chemicals that are unknown. Kevin: Wow! Rhio: Also irradiation destroys vitamins and minerals. Between 20% and 80% of the vitamin and minerals are destroyed. The things that I know for sure that are being irradiated are spices and papayas from Hawaii. I just buy Mexican papayas at this point. Kevin: Are they irradiating organic foods as well? Rhio: No. If the food is organic, it cannot be irradiated. Kevin: Good. Rhio: It should not be also genetically engineered which is another problem that we have with the food, which is very, very serious, because they’re taking foods and genetically engineering them to contain bacteria and viruses and genetic material which is not of the product itself. For example, they are putting fish genes, let’s say, in tomatoes. That’s one of the things they did. This is something that nature would never do. Yet, they’re just doing this indiscriminately. Every genetically engineered food that’s out there contains cauliflower mosaic virus, it contains promoters and all kinds of substances that are not in regular foods, ungenetically engineered foods. But yet, the industry and our government itself say that those foods are substantially equivalent to regular foods. But all the private research that has been done shows that that is not the case. Kevin: Yes, it’s pretty scary. Do we even know what some of the health affects in both of these actually are or are we unsure? Rhio: Well, the health effects of irradiation are it destroys vitamins and minerals. Then you’re not getting the complete nutrition from the food. There’s been studies done where it shows that it creates pre- cancerous conditions in children. All of the studies that have been done have been suppressed. But yet, other countries are not irradiating food and they don’t want that food.
Twitter and Facebook are becoming an essential tool for hospitals, clinics, and home health agencies. These flexible on-line tools help with fundraising, building connections with the community, getting new patients, and health education. Getting started Setting up Twitter and Facebook pages is in itself a fairly simple task. The level of complexity is similar to using Outlook or another e-mail program. There is no programming or HTML coding. As with any computer-related tool, it’s a matter of getting comfortable, not of substantial training. Long-term use The real work comes in making full use of these tools, keeping up with comments, and coordinating responses with a larger communications plan. Building the number of followers (Twitter) and fans (Facebook) is an important part of success. Users need a feeling for the different kinds of communication-short messages, invitations, crisis management, brand protection-that are enhanced by these new tools. Who does the work? Larger hospitals often have an established web team that can absorb the additional work of launching social media use. Many are exploring social media through individual staff members-often younger ones-with their own interest in the technology. For almost half of respondents, staff knew what to do, sometimes educating themselves with online tools like webinars, and then turning to consultants for refinements. Occasionally volunteers have stepped in to help. Responsibility for social media resides in a variety of departments: • Information technology • Marketing and communications • Community development • E-business staff What are the time and financial costs related to social media? The amount of time required to support social media use will vary with the size and activity of the organization. A large urban pediatric hospital reports that during a normal week three to five hours are needed. A local clinic or home health association with a smaller community and audience is likely to need less time. What risks, if any, are involved in using social media? The prospect of content put “out there” on Twitter and Facebook can create a certain amount of uneasiness about loss of control over negative comments, especially among leadership unfamiliar with the tools. While social media is new enough that not all risks are known, a key point in using them is that hospitals have the opportunity to respond rapidly to any negative comments, and to engage directly with unhappy patients or families. One consultant advises that, in the age of social media, it is a mistake to assume that a crisis will simply blow over, or that word about some unpleasant incident will not get out. It’s important to be clear with employees about the consequences of using Facebook and other tools inappropriately, for example to criticize a fellow employee, or the organization. Another consultant advises that, at the least, organizations have a guideline or policy that says “All company policies that address inappropriate behavior apply to your conduct online.”
It’s no secret that social media is the future of communication for individuals and business alike. This revolutionary new way of sharing information brings everyday users into the fold as businesses seek to promote their products and communicate their message to a wide audience that is able to interact with it. Recognizing these trends, OPC Health has recently thrown its hat into the social media ring, unveiling both Facebook and Twitter profiles designed to improve its communication with former, current, and potential clients throughout Australia. OPC on Facebook As one of Australia’s largest manufacturers of physio and practitioner equipment, it’s important for OPC to be plugged in to the world’s largest social media network. Facebook is that network, and their highly adaptable “pages” platform allows OPC to share its message in increasingly unique and custom-tailored ways that can only help the brand. First and foremost, Facebook users are able to “like” the page and become a fan of OPC Health. Not only does this promote brand recognition across many Facebook profiles simultaneously, but it allows the company to share information with its fans, users, and prospective clients about its latest products, services, and research. Each person who becomes a “fan” of OPC on Facebook will then receive the company’s updates via their news feed, making it an efficient and far-reaching way for the company to expand its marketing message and build an image as a social media leader. On top of these benefits, OPC fans can post on the company’s Facebook wall and inquire about products — or simply provide glowing testimonials — and organically boost the company’s message and standing in the health community. They can recommend the page to their friends, promoting a viral message that is carefully crafted by OPC online. OPC Health Expands to Twitte Simply being on Facebook is a large step forward for OPC, but the use of Twitter expands the company’s social media reach even further. Where Facebook succeeds in promoting a wealth of interactive features, Twitter succeeds in providing a minimalist enterprise that focuses on one thing: short conversations. That means OPC can use its presence on this social media behemoth to interact directly with those who buy the physio and practitioner equipment that it is known for; OPC can ask customers what they like, what they dislike, and why they might consider switching providers. And it’s all done in the public eye, as the company concurrently promotes its products in tweets that mix in among the short conversations it has its other users and its clients. It’s often said that the best marketing message is short and sweet — and Twitter’s 140 character limit for each tweet ensures that OPC will be making each piece of its marketing strategy short, sweet, and user-interactive. Benefits of the New Strategy OPC Health is an online business, and it can be challenging for that type of business to make an impression with users who frequently interact via support chats and company email. By investing in a significant online social media strategy, OPC is reinforcing its commitment to its customers’ needs and the products it sells. It helps the company become more personal and easier to approach — and that can only be good for business.
Today, media is in our lives no matter where we go. From television, radio, and the news, to magazines, newspapers, and the internet, media plays a big role in the spreading ideas, norms, and styles to people. Media spreads information really quickly to millions of people. Media is around people no matter where they turn, and they face it on a daily basis in some form. So, how is media related to eating disorders? Eating disorders have a big impact on society on a small and on a large scale; meaning both individuals and society as a whole dedicate significant parts of their lives to the struggles of dealing with eating disorders. A lot of money and time go into the troubles of dealing with an eating disorder, as well as into the measures taken in order to treat and prevent them. Eating disorders are very common amongst celebrities, mainly because their profession puts pressure on them to be skinny. The majority of celebrities that we see in the media are all skinny, and most of them are anorexic or bulimic. The fans of these celebrities look at the bodies of their idols and they want to be like them. The problem with this is that anorexic and skinny celebrities do not make good role models for their fans because their skinny figures are not a healthy look to follow. Famous people believe that in order to be successful they must be skinny. This is not true. Celebrities expose their looks and body image to the media where fans can see them and get the wrong idea that their idol’s looks are acceptable when their idols are only trying to lose weight for their own “success”. It is like a cycle; celebrities are skinny in order to impress their fans and companies. They send their fans the wrong idea, thus making their fans lose weight. In the end, everyone has the idea that they must be thin and they must lose weight, thus, being skinny becomes the norm. Media’s Effect on Body Image • In a survey of girls 9 and 10 years old, 40% have tried to lose weight, according to an ongoing study funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. • In a study on fifth graders, 10 year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show “Friends”. • A 1996 study found that the amount of time an adolescent watches soaps, movies and music videos is associated with their degree of body dissatisfaction and desire to be thin. • One study reports that at age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen. • In movies, particularly, but also in television shows and the accompanying commercials, women’s and girls’ appearance is frequently commented on: 58 percent of female characters in movies had comments made about their looks, as did 28 percent in television shows and 26 percent of the female models in the accompanying commercials. Mens’ and boys’ appearance is talked about significantly less often in all three media: a quarter (24%) of male characters in the movies, and 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in television shows and commercials. • One in every three (37%) articles in leading teen girl magazines also included a focus on appearance, and most of the advertisements (50%) used an appeal to beauty to sell their products. • The commercials aimed at female viewers that ran during the television shows most often watched by teen girls also frequently used beauty as a product appeal (56% of commercials). By comparison, this is true of just 3 percent of television commercials aimed at men.
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