Interviews via Twitter, basics of media relations, and more

Social media has made communicating easier, but it has also made celebrity-brand partnerships tougher to execute. What are some things to keep in mind?

Brand partnerships
Social media has made communicating easier, but it has also made celebrity-brand partnerships tougher to execute. What are some things to keep in mind?

“Once a widget has been created, a YouTube video posted, or someone Tweets about a program launch, control shifts from corporate America to the consumer world,” says David Schwab, VP and MD at Octagon First Call. “It affects legal language in deals, too.”

It's important to be clear in the business points about your intended use of the celebrity. It's also a good idea to find celebrities that embrace technology.

“It will make the social media conversation/negotiation a lot easier,” Schwab notes.

Be careful about your territory language, as well. Even if your product is only sold in the US, the Internet travels everywhere, so be sure to cover yourself. “[And] consider payment terms or bonuses based on click-throughs, videos viewed, or tangible results,” he adds.

Interviews on social media
How should clients adjust for social media interview opportunities, such as those conducted via Twitter?

When ABC's George Stephanopoulos recently interviewed Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) through the popular microblogging site Twitter, the world got a new word to add to its lexicon: “Twitterview.”

“This really is [just] an interview where the interviewer is typing the questions out instead of saying them,” explains Jess Todtfeld, president of Media Training Worldwide. He adds that there are pros and cons.

“Some pros are more exposure for your client, the ability to have quotes appear just the way you want them, having more time to respond to questions, and the ability to plug in Web links with more information,” Todtfeld says. “On the other hand, with only 140 characters, the public gets less insightful answers and interviewees might let their guard down.”

He also stresses that such interviews do get picked up by traditional media.

Media relations
What should I keep in mind when pitching a reporter?

It's important to know exactly what the reporter covers, so do your research, says Lauren Stone, media specialist at Porter Novelli. You want to make sure what you are pitching has an organic connection to a reporter's beat.

“Always be clear, concise, and to the point when in conversations with reporters because they are often inundated with hundreds of pitches,” she notes. “They should be able to get a sense for your pitch within the first paragraph.”

You can help them by providing quotes, examples, facts and figures, anecdotes, and third-party validation to illustrate and reinforce key messages, Stone adds.

“Most important, always be transparent [about] who you are pitching on behalf of,” she advises. “Failing to do so could come across as sneaky and has the potential to jeopardize your relationship.”

Send your questions to: toolbox@prweek.com. Please contact Beth Krietsch if you are interested in contributing to PR Toolbox ro to suggest ideas for future columns.

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