essential communications – May 27, 2020

Fewer business lunches, happy hours, coffees, trips, conferences. So…what’s on your expense report these days?
I’ve paid for a few annual subscriptions I would normally skip over to just read the free articles. One is Business Insider. There is already great content available to everyone but now that I’m behind the paywall…wow. A lot to gobble up.
An example is a piece they just posted on how to create the perfect pitch deck. It’s written from a start-up point of view where the presenter would be trying to secure funding. But don’t let that stop you. If you have ever had to give a pitch, capabilities presentation or just talk about your company in general, this will challenge you to dig it out and redo it. I know my brain is burning after reading it. (Reminder: it’s a premium article.)
In search of the summer pod. I talked to my friend Stephanie Corso today, of Rogue Water and co-host of the award-winning podcast, Water in Real Life. We were talking about all kinds of fun stuff—personal branding, emotional intelligence and podcasts, to name a few. That last topic is one that intrigued me since I’ve heard conflicting reports about podcasts being up…and down. Since Stephanie has a little experience with this I asked her what she’s seeing.
She said they have seen a 30% increase in downloads since the start of COVID-19 here in the states (so roughly mid-March). That’s an incredible jump so I asked what she attributed this to. Her take—a few things:
=People are investing in themselves and taking the time to listen/watch/read those things they’ve been putting off for a while.
=People are exercising/walking more, and settling into a routine as they do so.
=There’s something routine about this as they look to establish normal work patterns and check-ins.
I would add to this that there is a personal connection you can develop with your hosts. They’re literally in your ears as you’re riding that bike, taking that walk, etc. You almost get to the point where you can’t do your normal routine without it.
Food for thought as you consider new communications channels.
An endless Buffet of wisdom.
“Predicting rain doesn’t count. Building arks does.”
Have you heard of Warren Buffet’s Noah Rule? I hadn’t. And I like to think I read a lot but damn if I didn’t miss a good one. There’s nothing else I can add to this outside of just saying read it.
Media relations + COVID-19. Bridget Hagan shared a couple of key takeaways with me from a recent webinar she sat on from Forbes about how PR professionals can help reporters during this pandemic. I wanted to pass along to you as I think there are some great findings. If you’re interested in the webinar you can see it for yourself here.
What types of stories do they want to see?
-Anything you can support with data (numbers dealing with customers, users, surveys)

-Debatable viewpoints. Want CEOs and executives to go out on a limb, make predictions, ‘swing for the fences” when sharing new ideas.

-Looking forward. Business publications want stories about what the economy and business world will look like. Alex from Forbes gave the example, they don’t want “how to work from home”, they want “what will the office look like in 2021”
What is interesting to them right now?
-Public and private working together to solve a problem in the world of COVID-19. Gave an example of a daycare startup helping essential workers.

-Companies that are being “flexible” during this time and pivoting.

-New trends or topics emerging. Example from Maya is the “new double double shift” from Sheryl Sandberg.

-Don’t just pitch a product, pitch the overall problem and the solution

-Alex from Forbes said when he receives a pitch he almost always files it for later to revisit. He rarely acts on any pitch right away but waits until he needs that resource. You may feel like your pitch isn’t working, but it is just a delay based on his timing.

How should people continue to work?

-They’ve seen an increase in empathy and pleasantries and hopes it sticks.

-Transparency and honesty is a positive. It’s OK to say that a pitch may be missing something or that it may not be the right time for a story, but that you wanted to share anyways for their files.

-Respect boundaries. Be mindful of their time. Do not contact them via email, twitter, website and text. They are trying to get to everything. They are living digital lives and don’t want to be overwhelmed with communications from PR.

-Don’t act like it’s a favor. They want to feel like they are covering a worthy story, not that they are just doing it to be nice. They don’t “create” the news, they report it.

-Manage expectations with clients.

-Don’t ramble. Keep it short and simple. This goes for pitches and interviews. When writing a story or doing a video they just need a 5 second soundbite or quote. Media training is important!

(Let me stress that less point – media training is important!!!)
Thanks for reading,