Maria Perez

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    Why People Are Jerks on Social Media – and What Brands Can Do About It

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017, 3:24 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    WARNING: This blog post is rated R for mature language. Wink

    It’s almost impossible to interact on social media without seeing nasty arguments or scathing comments between people who, in real life, are probably nice. So why do social networks often breed negativity?

    At a recent Social Media Week panel, Len Kendall and Nicole Rehling of Carrot – The VICE Digital Agency, explored the psychological causes of negative conversations on social media, and what brands, publishers and agencies can do about it.

    To view the full presentation, you can get a digital pass here: SMW Insider. The pass will also let you view other fantastic panels from SMW events in New York, Los Angeles, London and Chicago.

    Here's a quick recap of this panel:

    Why People Act Like Jerks on Social Media

    This video from Key & Peele is a good (and hilarious) example of miscommunication, which is one really simple reason for why people get nasty online:

    Everyone has seen a family member or a friend be kind of a jerk on social media. Maybe you were even that person recently. So let’s dive in and understand why:

    1. The lack of disconnect from societal repercussions.

    “Online conversations are nothing like what we experience in our life,” said Rehling. “We are removed from the impact of our poor judgment or the mistakes we might make.”

    If harsh words are directed at you on social media, you’re literally a couple of clicks away from ceasing that person’s connection to you. As a result, people show less restraint and spew negativity much more often.

    2. The self-esteem paradox.

    On social media, many of us cultivate our networks in such a way that constantly have people telling us how awesome we are – and eventually we begin to believe it. Not only might we start to believe we are better than we are, but we might start to believe we are better than a lot of people around us.

    “When you have this sense of ego that develops because of all this constant attention and praise, it makes it really easy to criticize other people who you perceive to be less interesting or smart or attractive than you, especially when those people are not getting all the internet praise you are,” said Kendall.

    Internet praise is becoming a sort of social validation, he said: If someone isn’t getting as much as you are, they must be inferior to you.

    3. Mob mentality.

    Before social was really popular, you had a small handful of people who could take your brand down – maybe a journalist or a comedian. If a brand did something stupid, a someone would make a joke about it, and then people would talk about it at a bar, and that was the end of the cycle.

    Today, everyone can react to everything.

    In 2015, KFC posted on Facebook about the new Colonel Sanders. More than 900 people took the time out of their day to comment on whether or not they liked the new Colonel Sanders.

    “It’s silly, but it’s proof that we are being force-fed debates,” said Kendall. “And again, it’s an easy way for us to be right, and sometimes it makes us kind of be jerks.”

    4. Pushing others down lifts some people up.

    “Unfortunately, social media has made it really easy and efficient to be a bully,” said Kendall.

    We watch shows like “Real Housewives” and gossip about coworkers because, a lot of times, we can show ourselves that somebody else is worse off or has a worse life, and it makes us forget about our own problems. But while you might feel better for yourself for a short amount of time, that feeling is temporary. People who get pleasure from this behavior have to do it over and over again.

    5. Broken patterns.

    With platforms like Facebook and Instagram adopting algorithms that serve us content we’re predicted to like, content that falls outside of those norms becomes much more obvious to us, and enables a defense mechanism to react and use negativity as a form of getting our point across faster: “This is not my belief, this is not my opinion, and I want you to know it.”

    Navigating the Waters

    The foundation of any kind of social or PR plan is to make sure you’re studying existing conversations around the content you’re either building or publishing.

    Rehling cited a Carrot project in which they partnered with Cartoon Network to build a Powerpuff Girls avatar generator to commemorate the relaunch of the series.

    “It was widely successful, but as we were discussing the user interface and the user experience, we did some pretty extensive research on other avatar makers that have been built,” said Rehling. “We looked at their response in the social environment and what things were said about them, and paired that with a lot of the conversations that were happening around that time on gender norms and gender stereotypes. We actually provided Cartoon Network with a recommendation to not include a gender selection in the user interface experience.”

    At the time, it felt like a small decision. However, once it launched, the press picked up on the decision and touted Cartoon Network for taking a forward-thinking measure.

    And there’s really no excuse to not do that every time, said Kendall.

    “There are now 10+ years of social data, and anything that you want to put out there, you can pretty much go back in time and find something else that someone created that might be similar to what you want to do. There’s plenty of room to study conversations in the past and learn from what worked and didn’t work.”

    Know When to STFU

    Sometimes, replying to something negative can draw undue attention to it and actually cause the problem to be bigger, said Rehling.

    Brands should also be careful when inserting themselves into trending conversations, added Kendall.

    One example is AT&T. On the anniversary of Sept. 11, the brand decided to post this picture, which they meant to be a commemoration. However, people saw this as opportunistic and inappropriate. AT&T publicly apologized and took the post down.


    Sept. 11 is one of those topics that brands don’t really have a place commenting on, said Kendall.

    “AT&T has done a lot of great work, but this is a misstep,” he added. “They shouldn’t have this controversial subject because there was really no way of winning.”

    Looking Into the (Near) Future

    Kendall and Rehling cited three trends that all marketing pros should be looking to in the near future:

    1. A return to one-way conversations.

    With Snapchat and Facebook Live, there is a trend of moving back to broadcast conversations or talking-head scenarios, said Rehling. And while this does discourage trolling and limits people’s ability to provide negative feedback, it also means the content is less discoverable. It’s a one-way conversation.

    2. Closed communities on the rise.

    In terms of more traditional forms of communication, closed communication – like messaging – is growing. For brands, the upside is that people might vent about your brand privately in a messaging platform, as opposed to publicly on Twitter. The downside, of course, is that it’s harder for brands to participate in messaging platforms.

    3. Virtual reality: the unknown frontier.

    Kendall sees VR impacting brands with customer service in particular.

    “It’s really hard to make someone happy when you’re trying to solve their problem over Facebook or Twitter or email,” said Kendall. “There’s so much context that isn’t there. But if you imagine virtual customer-assistance people who are helping you to solve your problem, and you can see them and they can empathize more easily with you, this is actually a really promising thing.”

    Virtual reality, he added, will help brands solve problems more easily and de-escalate any other issues that pop up.

    View more SMW panels with the SMW Digital Pass here:

    The Secret Sauce: 9 Tips for a Successful Social Media Strategy

    Friday, March 10, 2017, 9:52 AM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    How do you satisfy your core audience while still giving them a variety of what’s trending or relevant?

    That was the question posed to a panel of social media experts representing three Hearst titles -- Esquire, Marie Claire, and Elle – during a Social Media Week New York panel earlier this month.

    The panel, titled “How Hearst’s Prestige Brands Are “Doing the Internet,” featured:

    • Ben Boskovich, social media editor, Esquire
    • Elizabeth Brady, associate director of social strategy, Hearst Digital Media
    • Rosa Heyman, social media editor, Marie Claire
    • Gena Kaufman, social media director, Elle
    • Kate Lewis, VP of content operations and editorial director, Hearst Digital

    To view the full presentation, you can get a digital pass here: SMW Insider. The pass will also let you view other fantastic panels from SMW events in New York, Los Angeles, London and Chicago.

    Here's a quick recap of nine strategies mentioned during this panel to help you achieve social media success for your brand:

    Social Strategy Teams

    There are 22 brands at Hearst, each with a dedicated site team, and each of those teams has a dedicated social editor. There is also a brand-agnostic Social Strategy team that counsels the social editors, helping them manage their relationships with the social networks.

    The Social Strategy team is a centralized resource that helps make adaptation a little easier for the editors. Adaptation is crucial because social changes every 3-6 months, if not more frequently.

    “It’s such an accelerated evolution cycle for a social editor to grapple with and succeed in,” said Brady, “especially when they’re the ones in the weeds doing the day-to-day posting, pushing content out, and then also paying attention to everything that’s going on in the ecosystem.”

    The Social Strategy team has developed a suite of reports they share with the teams to teach them about their audiences. Editors get alerts every day so they know which stories are getting viral traction and which ones aren’t. They also have other centralized resources, like a social media Wiki for the entire staff.

    Through these reports and resources, teams are kept up-to-date on when Facebook rolls out a new algorithm update, or when Instagram announces a new feature, like multi-photo posts. If a site has a video that’s going viral on Facebook, everyone knows about it immediately and can discuss how to capitalize on it.

    The Social Strategy team also provides granular statistics for the brands.

    “Elle might come to us with a question on what types of beauty content are doing the best on Facebook and which types might not be worth posting,” said Brady. “We’ll dive into the data and we’ll say, ‘Food videos are working for you, but really only if they have cheese.’ Other times, it’s a little bit of detective work. We’ll notice an old post is getting a lot of engagement on Chartbeat, so we’ll investigate where that’s coming from and spread the intel from there. It helps teams understand how to prioritize things and benchmark.”

    The ‘Secret Sauce’

    Hearst has 126 million followers across social networks, up 39% from last year. In 2016, there were more than 50 million engagements on Facebook posts, and Facebook shares increased by 33%.

    The “secret sauce” to this impressive following is that Hearst social editors spend their time using social as a tool for listening, which Boskovich calls the backbone of the social editor’s job.

    “As social editors, we have a huge benefit in living and breathing in each of the social networks every single day, and that helps us bring information back to our editors,” explained Boskovich. “We know, for instance, that our Twitter audience has a more elevated, probably more educated, interest, so they’re going to want more tweets about the 10,000-word features that we’re writing. The Facebook audience, on the other hand, is more interested in snackable news and videos. I learned that just by it being a part of my life 24/7. I tell my editors, ‘Hey, that’s probably not going to go on Facebook, but I’ll send out four tweets about it because it’ll even out in the long run.”

    Kaufman agrees that this is an integral part of their strategy: “We do that every day, and especially when a big event is coming up, like the Oscars. I’ll look at last year and put together a report on what our top social content was, and send that around to all the editors and say, ‘Hey, this is a way to cover this event that works.’”

    Brady also does a lot of reporting on live events and can attest to the importance of listening to your audience.

    “On social, it’s best practice to be speedy, to be creative, to be authentic, but there is another pillar: Just pay attention. Listen, have that observational attitude with your followers, and dig in, because there’s always something new to uncover – like a weird fandom – that your audience will be interested in. You can really tap into that and replicate successes.”

    Of course, she adds, you always have to be ready to do something different in a month, “because it’s not going to last.”

    Ditch the Clickbait

    While using clickbait headlines might seem like an easy way to get readers to click through to articles, it doesn’t always translate into engagement.

    The Elle team was originally reluctant to ditch the clickbait, worrying that if they shared too much information in their Facebook posts, readers wouldn’t be driven to the website. However, Brady and her Social Strategy team pushed Kaufman’s team to focus less on posts that drive clicks and more on engagement, posting photos and videos that will drive comments, likes and shares. They also tried to package their stories to be more shareable and less clickbait-y.

    “We were hesitant to do that because you don’t see an immediate result,” said Kaufman, “but now that we’ve focused on doing that, not only has our engagement grown, but so has our social traffic.”

    Social networks’ algorithms also make a case for ditching the clickbait.

    With networks increasingly controlled by algorithms that might not necessarily reflect what is happening, shares – not clicks – are more important than ever.

    “If you don’t have people sharing and interacting with your content, there’s a pretty good chance no one is going to see it at all,” explained Brady. “We have to be much more strategic about what we’re putting up because we need it to get surfaced, whether it’s on Facebook or Instagram. We’re always looking for a higher threshold of engagement.”

    To do this, the teams basically give the story away on their social networks.

    “We’re totally fine with the social editors giving it all away, whether it’s a photo or a link. If somebody just had a crazy makeover or there’s a new photo of someone, show it in the thumbnail, tell us what happened. It’s not about gaming the algorithm or nuancing something to try to trick someone to clicking in. Make it its own entity. Make it shareable so your audience is going to help you distribute it throughout. You’re almost deputizing your audience to be ambassadors for you.”

    “Which is why clickbait just doesn’t work,” added Heyman, “because who’s going to share that?”

    Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

    The teams work really closely together at Hearst, and while there’s a healthy dose of competition, there’s also a lot of sharing between the teams.

    “When one brand finds something that works, we can all borrow it,” said Heyman. “Elle was seeing a lot of success boosting their engagement on Facebook by commenting on posts that were already doing well with additional reading links. Let’s say Selena Gomez and The Weeknd are dating and they posted about each other on Instagram. Elle has a timeline of their relationship, and by posting the timeline link in the comments section and engaging with the readers in a conversation that’s already ongoing, it can help boost engagement.”

    Kaufman agreed, adding that the related-links strategy – also called “swarming” -- is something she learned from another Hearst brand, Cosmo.

    “Cosmo is a brand at Hearst that does it really well,” said Kaufman. “When there’s a big topic, everyone rushes to cover the first news story. Since everyone does it, the traffic gets split among them. What we really try to do now is think, ‘We already did the quick news story. What can we do in the next hour? What’s the additional story we can do tomorrow? What’s the story we can do next week?’ We’re really taking one topic that’s working and finding different ways to keep the coverage going that feels more specific to Elle and our audience, rather than just announcing news.”

    Esquire’s Boskovich shared another strategy he’s learned from the women’s brands at Hearst: Facebook Live.

    “We’ve been doing a ton of Facebook Live videos,” he said. “On the videos, we talk about and reference stories. For example, every Thursday we have style lessons with myself and our senior style editor, Jonathan Evans. We talk about celebrity style and teach readers lessons from mistakes or accomplishments these men have made with their clothing. So while we referenced articles we’ve written during the broadcast, we weren’t posting them in the comments so our readers could click on it as they’re watching, so we started doing that. It’s a way for Facebook Live to generate some traffic.”

    Embrace Native Content

    Social best practices change quickly. What worked last year doesn’t necessarily work now. For example, native content – videos, photos or some other type of asset that is put on social first -- has become much bigger than it was.

    “In years past, if a video or photo took off, it might have been a little more serendipitous,” said Brady. “Now it’s really strategic. We’re thinking more and more. For most of our brands, 30-50% or more of their daily Facebook inventory is native content, which is a huge pivot compared to a year or two ago.”

    “There’s something freeing about that as an editor,” added Lewis, “because if you’re a content creator, what you really want is to make someone read your content. The advantage now is you begin to see social platforms just as a place for consumption vs. a place where you’re trying to ‘game the system’ to get something to happen.”

    Use Social to Drive Traffic

    One strategy Boskovich has found successful in driving website clicks from social is to take the traditional path of social-to-site and flip it backwards:

    “We have our political commentary via Charles P. Pierce, who is a powerhouse, but also this enigma on the internet. Most of his traffic was coming directly from people who not only bookmark his blog but sit on it all day and refresh it and wait for a new post to come up, which is super-primitive. So when it came time to amplify his social presence, we took a backwards approach and took the comments off of his blog and at the end of the post, we started directing people to a new Facebook page we had built for him.”

    That Facebook page is now one of the fastest-growing “toddler” pages (aka subpages or satellite pages) at Hearst Digital Media.

    “It was a way to capitalize on an already super-loyal captive audience and send them backwards to social,” explained Boskovich. “And now we have a huge social audience on his Facebook page that are loyal and go back to the site.”

    Brady said Hearst has experimented quite a bit with toddler pages at Hearst, but shared two caveats for those considering using them:

    First, you need to have a lot of native content – video, etc. -- to help spike growth of the page. If you don’t have the content, “you’re really going to be struggling,” said Brady. “It can’t just be a links page.”

    You also want to make sure you’re attracting new people who might not already be connected with the flagship.

    “If you’re going to be funneling a lot of effort into this secondary page, you really want to make sure those people aren’t likely to already be liking your main page, or you might as well put that effort on your main page and grow that one,” explained Brady. “You really want the audiences to be different, but tracing back to your same source.”

    Standing out With Video

    Video is another strategy at Elle that has paid off.

    “Video was a really small portion of my job when we started, and now it’s everything,” said Kaufman, whose team has increased their Facebook video views by 2,000% in the last year.

    To achieve that impressive increase, they’ve diversified their sources – and adjusted their thinking:

    “We have a video team that shoots and produces original video, which really helped grow one of our toddler pages. We do as much video as we can. We even turned our Street Style photographer into a videographer, instead of just having snaps of people at Fashion Week in their outfits. He’s putting a GoPro on his camera so that we can get these videos of what it’s like to be on the Street Style scene at Fashion Week, which has been a really cool new way to cover that and another source of more video all the time.”

    At first, it was hard for the teams, who were used to thinking of stories in words and pictures, to embrace video.

    “There’s a real temptation for us to structure videos exactly the way we do stories: here’s what happened, beginning, middle and end,” said Kaufman. “We still do that with news stories that turn into videos, and that works, but we’re really trying to think about videos as telling their own story in their own way or supplementing stories on the website.”

    One thing the Elle team has done successfully is to use short Getty video clips to push traffic to their articles.

    “The Oscars just happened, so say we want to do a story on Emma Stone. We’ll grab a little video of her and post it on FB with a caption that describes what the story is,” explained Kaufman. “So in a sea of identical headlines, the video stands out and ultimately gets more people to click into your story than just having the same photo everyone else has.”

    Esquire’s Boskovich has also experimented with video to great results. Esquire editors were originally opposed to seeing their 1,000-word story become a one-and-a-half-minute video, but they saw how it helped give readers a snackable version of the story, which translated into more eyeballs on the article.

    Another benefit of using videos on social is that it can be a good way to experiment with and test out new topics:

    “We posted a video for Justin Trudeau’s birthday on ‘15 times Justin Trudeau made you fall in love with him,’ and it took off,” said Heyman. “It was crazy. We’ve never covered Justin Trudeau before and our audience was obsessed with him.”

    The response to the video led Marie Claire to start covering Justin Trudeau more.

    “Now we cover his every single move,” said Heyman,” and it does really well for us. It was cool to see that. It wasn’t something that we planned on devoting resources to or writing a story about.”

    Battle of the Brands

    One of the challenges of a company like Hearst that has various brands under its umbrella is how to differentiate the brands for their audiences. It’s especially tricky with women’s brands, whose audiences are largely interested in the same topics.

    “There are so many great women’s brands at Hearst, and the audiences are largely interested in the same topics, but I do think they have really distinct voices and distinct audiences, so we try to think of it as covering the same topics in a more specific way,” said Kaufman.

    For example, the Harper’s Bazaar reader is a little more artsy and high end than the Elle reader. So if Harper’s is doing a story on “10 investment bags to buy” that the Elle reader would not necessarily be able to afford, Elle might cover it as: “This is the cheapest place you can buy a Louis Vuitton bag right now.”

    “We try to cover it in a way that it’s the same topic, but a slightly different angle,” said Kaufman.

    Boskovich agreed, adding that readers go to specific brands for their voice: “Our competitors are writing the same things as we are. If we don’t give them a reason to care about what Esquire has to say and why that’s unique, they can go anywhere and get that.”

    Figure out what the audience is interested in and how to talk about it so readers feel like they’ve been given something special and that emotionally connects to them in some way.

    Let the Platform Lead You

    When it comes to growing, Brady suggests letting the platforms lead you a little bit.

    With new features emerging every day, be ready to experiment and dive in and try new things, like 360 video and vertical video. People will pay attention to you and will be really excited to see you offering something fresh, new and visually compelling.

    Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015, 12:56 PM [General]
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    It’s my favorite time of year -- time for all the “best of 2015” lists. We had a lot of fantastic content on ProfNet Connect this year, but we know you’ve been busy and might have missed a few posts here and there. So, to recap the year, here are the top 10 blog posts of 2015:

    Pitching to National Morning and Daytime TV Talk Shows.
    The Publicity Club of New York held a fantastic panel luncheon featuring some of the most prominent journalists in daytime television: Debbie Kosofsky, senior producer (food), "Today"; Melissa Lonner, senior talent executive, “The Meredith Vieira Show”; Jesse Rodriguez, senior producer, “Morning Joe”; Carl Leibowitz, booking producer, “Wake Up With Al”; and Sarah Kunin, senior producer, “Good Morning America." Here are some highlights from the luncheon:

    How to Turn a Reporter off With Just Five Words. If you were on Twitter in mid-August, you might have seen tweets with the hashtag #sourcefromhellin5words. The brainchild of Linda Formichelli, co-founder of The Renegade Writer and, the hashtag gave writers the opportunity to share five-word phrases that make them never want to interview a source again. We put together a roundup of some of the top phrases shared by writers:

    Using Social Media to Land Writing Gigs and Make Money. As writers become more familiar with multimedia storytelling, social media has developed into a powerful tool to gather an audience and promote content -- that is, if you know how to use it. At the ASJA Writers Conference, five journalists shared their experiences with social media and how they use it to their advantage:

    A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Google News Lab. Realizing that ways of creating and sharing news changes constantly, Google released News Lab, an online network that aims to connect journalists with programs, data and other resources to aid in their reporting. We sat down with Daniel Sieberg, head of media outreach with Google News Lab, to find out more:

    Pitching to National and Local Morning Talk Shows. The final Publicity Club of New York panel luncheon of 2015 featured some of the top producers in national and local morning talk television: Siobhan Schanda, supervising talent producer, “The Wendy Williams Show"; Jessica Cohen, senior producer, “Good Day New York”; Scott Easton, producer, “Live with Kelly & Michael”; and Marcia Parris, senior producer, “PIX Morning News.” You can read highlights from the luncheon here:

    A Conversation With CNBC’s Kerima Greene. What does it take to get your brand, story or executive on TV? Is it magic, luck or actual hard work, and does it have to be tied to a big trend or news of the day? Today on ProfNet Connect, Elizabeth Yekhtikian of InkHouse shared her conversation with Kerima Greene, Senior Talent & News Producer for CNBC's “Power Lunch”:

    Meet the Media: Medical/Health Reporters. The Healthcare Public Relations and Marketing Society of Greater New York held a panel discussion with medical/health care reporters and producers from WNYC, Medpage Today, CBS Evening News, Wall Street Journal and more. The panelists discussed the beats they cover, how they choose certain stories, the best ways to work with them, and much more:

    There’s No Place Like Newsrooms for the Holidays. Contrary to popular belief, all the media wants for Christmas is a public relations pitch. That may be a bit of an overstatement, but reporters, editors and producers staffing the newsroom for the holidays generally welcome a good lead on a unique story idea. That's particularly true as hard news often slows to a trickle despite all the hustle and bustle of the season. Here are a few tips for a successful holiday pitch strategy:

    8 Writing Tools for Faster, Professional Content. Today’s content cycle moves at breakneck speed, and a writer’s mind is never at rest. Fortunately, there are tools available that make the writing process easier every step of the way, from jotting down notes and editing, to finding sources and multimedia. Here are some of our favorites:

    Journalist Spotlight. There are a lot of articles out there on what PR professionals should and shouldn't do when pitching the media. Each month, via our Journalist Spotlight series, we find out straight from the journalists themselves. This year, we caught up with Sean Powers of Georgia Public Broadcasting, Mike Fitzgerald of the Belleville News-Democrat, Laurie Mason Schroeder of The Morning Call, Thomson Reuters’ Melissa Sachs, George Putic of Voice of America, and more. Check out all of this year’s Journalist Spotlight posts here:

    Want to see more? Check out the Blogs section of ProfNet Connect to view all of the blog posts from this year, and keep an eye out for some great ones coming in 2015. Happy new year to all!

    Whether you're a reporter, blogger, author or other content creator, ProfNet can help you with your search for expert sources. The best part? It’s easy and free! Send a query to tens of thousands of experts and PR professionals in the ProfNet network.

    How to Pitch and Perform on Network News

    Monday, December 7, 2015, 12:47 PM [General]
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    Becoming a panelist on TV is not easy, but there are strategies you can use to increase your chances of reaching the right producers – and to showcase your skills and be featured again.

    Here are eight quick tips for getting on TV, courtesy of Stephanie Tsoflias Siegel, founder of Reel Media Group:

    1) “Don’t suck!” Having a good on-camera presence doesn’t come naturally to everyone and you have one shot, says Tsoflias Siegel. Practice your skills and learn as much as you can about what producers are looking for.

    2) Set up a Google Alerts using keywords that will show up in stories you can speak to. For example, if you’re a pain specialist, set up an alert with words like “pain,” “medicine,” and “chronic.” This way, you’ll get an alert when relevant stories pop up in Google News and you can pitch yourself in a timely fashion.

    3) Have knowledge to talk about timely, topical stories. Make sure you stay on top of the news and what is going on in your industry.

    4) Embrace the power of social media. Most, if not all, producers are on social media. If you haven’t yet embraced the most popular platforms, now is the time to start.

    5) Know the balance of fact and opinion, and utilize both on-air.

    6) Make friends with TV folks. Attend industry networking events. Connections go a long way.

    7) Learn how to speak in powerful soundbites, and know when to pause for follow-up questions.

    8) Give producers the problem and a solution.

    Tsoflias Siegel will join other panelists -- including producers from CBS, political pundits, media bookers, and more -- at a workshop being hosted by the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Jan. 8, on “How to Pitch and Perform on Network News.” The panel of industry influencers will share do’s and don’ts on pitching story ideas, performing on TV, and how to reach them. After the panel discussion, participants will answer mock interview questions and will shoot a two-minute demo tape.

    ProfNet users are being offered a registration discount of $75. Just use “ProfNet” as your coupon code when registering. Full event info here:

    Whether you are an expert who wants to be featured as a guest, or a TV producer (or other media professional) looking for guests, ProfNet can help you. Find out more at or send a request for experts here: Send a query.

    Expert Roundup: 2016 Presidential Election (Continued)

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 1:23 PM [General]
    0 (0 Ratings)

    Following area additional experts who are available to discuss various election-related issues. You can view the original roundup here:

    You can also submit a query to the hundreds of thousands of experts in our network – it’s easy and free! Just fill out the query form to get started:

    Will McInnes
    “It’s no secret that social is changing almost every landscape, including politics. It’s also not surprising that, traditionally, presidential candidates might not know how to draft a tweet, yet they do understand the power social yields and surround themselves with people proficient at creating and sustaining social campaigns. For 2016, social will be critical for reaching various demographics – just take a look at how each candidate chose to announce their candidacy and it’s clear that the battleground for the popular vote in the 2016 presidential race will take place largely via social. This week’s first GOP debate is the first indicator of who’s leading the race – on social.”
    McInnes can speak to trends in the industry that will impact the race. Brandwatch has up-to-the-minute data on which candidates are winning in the battle for buzz and which topics are getting the most social traction.
    Contact: Marissa Toselli,

    Matthew Gerber, Ph.D.
    Associate Professor of Communication
    Director of Glenn R. Capp Debate Forum
    Baylor University
    “A good public debater should have strong presence. Presence is a little hard to define, but it entails confidence and the ability to communicate one’s expertise and qualifications to the audience. It is often not the candidate with the most political experience that ultimately wins the election. It is the candidate who has the ability to persuade the audience that they he or she is the most qualified for the job, even if he or she lacks significant political experience. At least part of that persuasive ability rests in the candidate’s presence and rhetorical skill.”
    Gerber, who directs Baylor University’s nationally recognized debate program, is a seasoned debate coach and judge who can provide expert commentary on the U.S. presidential debates. As a college debater, he qualified for the National Debate Tournament three times. He’s judged hundreds of college, high school and public debates during his career. His research areas include argumentation and debate, rhetorical criticism and, specifically, the rhetoric of American foreign policy. Baylor’s debate program has been represented at the National Debate Tournament more than 50 times since 1947, including three national championships and nine Final Four appearances.
    Contact: Eric Eckert,

    Harlan Ullman
    The Killowen Group
    “Not one candidate at the Republican debate had specific plans for how to repair a government that was badly broken along party lines -- only the belief it could be done. And many were simply ill informed or not informed on basic facts. Some of the biggest whoppers, for example, concerning only the Iranian nuclear deal were: abrogate the agreement on taking office irrespective of whether it was working or not; deny Iran all nuclear capacity even though the non-proliferation treaty guarantees nuclear power for peaceful purposes; re-station missile defense in Europe to protect against a nuclear Iran even though, over the next few years, the process is underway to deploy such systems. Equally blunt critique could be liberally applied to the other topics. That is not to say Democrats are any better. Perhaps because that field is a quarter of the size, their debates will be less entertaining. But the Democrats have one big advantage Republicans ignore at their peril: to win the presidency, the magic number is 270 electoral and no popular votes. Arguably, the Democratic candidate most likely over 200 electoral votes virtually assured. Demographics for women and minorities are also skewed in their favor, especially as the Republicans in the debate had little to say to change that dynamic. And Mr. Trump's answer to a question of why he has described women as "pigs" and worse did little to gain the female vote. If Republicans are truly serious about winning the White House, they need to come to their electoral senses. First, facts matter. Words are cheap. Basic understanding of reality, rather than fantasy or whim, must underwrite policy prescriptions. Second, women and minorities most likely will determine the next president. Third, politics in Washington and internationally are far tougher, more complex and complicated. The naiveté shown by many of the candidates will not survive prime time. Will their prescriptions improve? One hopes, but hope may be the only possibility.”
    Washington, D.C.-based Ullman is a former naval officer with combat commands in the Vietnam War and later in the Persian Gulf. He chairs The Killowen Group, which advises leaders of government and business at the highest levels, including presidential candidates here and abroad, through a brains-based approach to strategic thinking. Since the 1980s, he has developed a reputation as a strategic thought leader and thinker in the public and private sectors. He is known for the doctrine of shock and awe and sits on advisory boards for the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and Commander US Forces Europe. Currently a senior adviser to the Atlantic Council and Business Executives for National Security, he was a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the National Defense University and professor of military strategy at the National War College. A student and practitioner of global economies, he writes often on the financial crises in UPI and other media, and sits on the boards of both private and public companies in the high-technology and financial services sectors. His latest book is “A Handful of Bullets -- How the Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand Still Menaces the Peace.”
    Contact: Ryan McCormick,

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