750 news stories in four days, and I wish not one was necessary

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On April 28, 2020 my PR firm signed a new client, Ambulnz, a national ambulance services provider at the time with 1,000 employees in 8 U.S. States and operations in the United Kingdom (they’ve grown rapidly this year expanding their services and geography that ultimately led to them going public, but that’s a success story for another time). I’d been chatting with them for a while, and normally I’d be very excited to get the contract signed. Instead, their reason to sign when they did brought back emotions and memories of the toughest work week of my life back in 2004.  Here’s why.

Incoming Crisis

You may remember when COVID-19 was first becoming a reality in the U.S., New York City was particularly hard hit making it the pandemic focal point of the nation.  Ambulnz had deployed more than 70 employees to New York City to be part of the company’s FEMA COVID-19 response to help New York City’s overwhelmed EMS and healthcare system. Those deployed had volunteered from its operations across the U.S. such as Los Angeles, Tennessee, and Colorado.

One of their deployed Colorado paramedics, Paul Cary, was in the hospital with COVID-19 contracted after transporting New York patients. Doctors said the prognosis looked grim. Expecting the worst, they knew they needed experienced PR guidance. They also needed someone to become the sole primary point of contact for media on behalf of the company, as well as the family, throughout the crisis if Paul did in fact succumb.  

Some quick background for those who don’t know: before launching 10 to 1 Public Relations, I worked in-house leading PR efforts for statewide and national EMS (emergency medical services) companies for several years. The first time I led media relations efforts for a Line of Duty Death (LODD) was in 2004 in the Phoenix area. That experience literally changed my professional career, teaching me the importance of controlling the flow of information and giving me the confidence that I could handle any crisis and that PR was truly my career calling.

So here I was again, 16-years later.  My team quickly engaged, working with the Ambulnz team we began preparing for the worst. Unfortunately, two days later, paramedic Paul Cary died from COVID-19 in a New York City hospital.

Facing Unique Challenges

Any LODD is horrible, but logistically this one was unique. Usually the community outpouring and media interest is limited to a single media market. Living and working in Colorado for more than 30 years, Cary’s Denver community was mourning. With his death occurring in New York City while he came to the City’s aid, New York City was equally mourning. New York City being the largest media market in the U.S. alone can be overwhelming to a media relations department during a crisis but now we were focused on two locations 1750 miles from one another.

Add on top of that, this marked the first death of a volunteer federal responder to New York’s COVID response effort, which created national media interest. National media, New York City media, and Denver-area media. All at the same time, from different time zones. Three because it wasn’t only Denver and New York, but media was also being coordinated from Arizona where my team is located. 

Another challenge: We had never actually met any member of the Ambulnz team before, only a few phone calls with two or three people, so we needed help identifying the right contacts within the organization to get whatever we might need.

The final challenge was we had to do everything remotely because of social distancing. Flying our team into one of the cities to assist on the ground just was not doable.  

In the end, over a 4-day period of 15+ hour days, I think that week was one of the most professionally and personally gratifying work experiences I can recall. 

Enacting the Crisis Public Relations Plan

Ultimately there were more than 750 news stories in four days. We coordinated interviews and worked with reporters from some of the country’s most recognized national media outlets like CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox News, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. We coordinated interviews and worked with local print reporters and TV affiliates in New York City and Denver like the Denver Post, the New York Daily News, WABC, WNBC, Denver7 and KUSA. And we did so quickly and equally, regardless of the media outlet’s size so that every reporter felt like they got our full attention.

Developments that led to a lot of the media interest included public statements from the Governors of New York and Colorado, as well as the Mayors of Aurora, Denver, and New York City. The biggest surprise to me came from the Mayor of New York City when during a press conference surprised us all to say that a monument would be built in Paul’s honor recognizing his sacrifice and all the healthcare workers that came from out of state to help the city when it was needed most. 

The New York City Fire Department helped coordinate a massive funeral procession of emergency vehicles, only to have that effort matched in Denver with a 160-vehicle procession. Both the Newark and Denver Airports allowed bagpipes and full honors as the casket was loaded and unloaded from the plane, and both airports saluted the flight with water cannons as it taxied to and from the gate.

These efforts, and participation by other agencies and officials, made a huge impact on other first responders and healthcare workers as well. I’m proud that we had the opportunity to successfully help share it with the public through the media.  

Full Circle

My pride extends beyond our media efforts. We also coordinated all the public statements, employee outreach, coordinated with the family to generate and share their public statements, and also assisted with the planning of the public events as Paul’s body returned to Denver that Sunday night. 

To think of what was accomplished so quickly, I can’t help but think of how many people contributed to the efforts to share Paul’s story with so many. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude towards the many local PR pros that stepped up to help in Denver and New York since I couldn’t be there personally on the ground to do it myself. I cherish the kind notes from media folk and other agencies for how we performed, and for the quality of the communications we shared. 

Throughout this whole experience, there’s been one more emotional tie-in that has taken me back to my first LODD. The date Ambulnz called me to hire us and seek our help regarding the LODD was 16 years to the day of Tammy Mundell’s death, the first LODD I worked which solidified my career path. With that first experience in mind constantly through the week, I was able to lead my team with a solid plan and deliver the results our client was looking for.

Thank you to first responders

My team and I would like to thank our country’s first responders serving on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. We have immense gratitude for the work that you do every day to help those in need and keep our communities safe. Thanks to you and your families, from the bottom of our hearts.

Finally, I hope that my recap doesn’t come across as self-serving.  I actually wrote this nearly a year ago for myself, but never published it.  A year later, as we approach the last week of April and these solemn anniversaries, I keep thinking about how it impacted me personally so I thought it worthy of sharing, now.

Rest in peace, Paul Cary.  Rest in peace, Tammy Mundell. 

A Lesson for Business During March Madness

A Lesson for Business During March Madness


It’s that time of year- The March Madness college basketball tournament.  If you’re not a college basketball fan, keep reading. Don’t worry, what I’m going to share should still make sense.

Like a lot of people, every year I complete a bracket of the participating teams to predict a winner. But, in truth, I barely pay attention to college basketball during the season.  So how do I choose which team I think will win?

Sometimes I favor teams from my hometown simply because I want to see them win, or the team representing the mid-major conference that my alma mater plays in.

Like most people, I usually just go with the teams I’m most familiar with, or the teams with higher rankings. 

Duke Basketball is the perfect example.  For the first time in decades, Duke did not make the tournament, but had they squeaked into the field of 64 my assumption is that a lot of casual basketball fans would have chosen them to make the Sweet 16. Simply off of name recognition, awareness of their team history, and out of respect for their well-known coach.  Their legacy matters- and people are willing to give them the benefit of the doubt even during a tough season. 

A lot of people choose a product or business the same way. 

There’s comfort in familiarity.  There’s confidence in a track record of success, even if the current task is something new.  Belief in individuals transfers to trust in an organization.

How does a business achieve this?  By playing the long game and promoting their successes along the way.  It’s not by announcing one big new contract, it’s by announcing a steady stream of contract wins over time.  It’s not by creating one single event, it’s by promoting numerous events throughout the year.

One good season or one good story isn’t going to earn long-term loyalty. It’s repetition of actions, over long periods of time, which ultimately breeds public confidence. It’s that awareness and reputation which will sustain a company even during a rough patch.

Finally, allow me to share one last off-topic story simply because it makes me smile every year around this time.  Probably a good 15 years ago or so, a friend of mine had a vasectomy.  He had to book it far in advance because he wanted the timing to coincide with the start of the basketball tournament.  Turns out he had to book early because a lot of guys have the same idea. They figure if they had to sit at home with a bag of frozen peas in their lap for a couple of days, they might as well do it while there were constant basketball games on TV!  



PR for the Win

PR for the Win.


While this new year has just begun, it already feels like a sprint. Not just from the renewed energy of our current clients, but as demonstrated by the significant increase in prospective client inquiries that we’ve already received this year.

Why is this year different? Significant change is imminent.

2021 initially might feel like a continuation of 2020, but the ending will be far different. I’m not just talking politically, but as it relates to the pandemic and ultimately the economy. The general public can finally see a potential end to the pandemic once enough vaccines are administered. Businesses are seeing it too.

But this year, it’s like everyone is on the same compressed schedule to make up for time lost due to the pandemic, forcing many companies to work harder to ensure they’re at the front of the pack when potential customers cross the pandemic finish line. 

Thinking about this finish line, I can’t help but think about how a company’s PR strategy correlates to a race day strategy.

Back to high school when I ran track, my primary race was the 400 (one quarter of a mile) or one full loop around the track. I was decent at it. My freshman year, my best time was 55 seconds, good enough to earn a spot at regionals. My coach tried me in some other races like the 100, but I didn’t have a great start out of the blocks so my times were never great. He tried me at the mile, and while I started strong, I would fade to the back of the pack as the race went on. 

My success at the 400 wasn’t based on technique or skill. Ultimately it came down to one thing: I always ran the race as a flat-out sprint. I wasn’t the fastest out of the block, but I was by far the fastest in the middle of the race building up a lead. By the end, I was running out of gas trying desperately to hold on to the lead that I had built. This often led to my getting passed at the end by a closing competitor who had saved some energy for their sprint to the finish.

It’s okay to sprint the entire way from start to finish, it is a valid strategy for some cicumstances. But if you want to win the race, the strategy is done before you ever step foot on the track. It means before the race even begins you need to know what length of race you need to enter to make sure you end up in the right spot at the right time. Otherwise, you risk of running out of gas as you to watch your competitors run right by you into the arms of your potential customers.

It’s why you see a lot more in-race strategy occurring in longer races. The goal isn’t having your personal fastest time across the finish line, it’s simply about crossing the finish line first. It’s why you often see a clump of runners in a pack despite everyone having a different strategy. The goal is about trying to force the competitors to react the way you desire to advance your strategy to win. The runners with a fast last leg sprint try to stay with the pack and keep the pace slow until the end knowing they can outrun the rest. The runners less known for their sprint abilities may try to push the pace faster early in hopes of leaving others so tired or far behind they have nothing left at the end and can’t catch up before the race ends.

Which brings us back to today’s race to the pandemic finish line. Current predictions are that sometime later this year, we’ll pass a threshold where enough people have been vaccinated and it becomes safe to start gathering in groups again, going back to the office or booking travel plans.

As a business, you need to think about this race route from start to finish and how a public relations strategy can help you come out ahead. Along that route, you need to place different potential “PR story” flags along the way. Maybe the best strategy is placing the flags equal distances apart and simply sprinting as fast as you can through all of them to reach the finish line before anyone else. Or, maybe your strategy is to start off slower and clump more of the flags towards the end to ensure you’re at your top speed as you reach the finish line. 

As a PR firm, my team excels at developing a plan, planting flags and implementing the strategy. If you need help, let us know. We’re already wearing our running shoes and are ready to go.

— written by Josh Weiss


One Last (Genuine) Thank You in 2020

One Last (Genuine) Thank You in 2020

With hindsight finally becoming 2020, I wanted to take this last opportunity to say thank you.

Bluntly, the year was just straight-up unprecedented.  While a difficult year for everyone on so many levels, I’m so humbled and appreciative that 2020 was by far the best year 10 to 1 Public Relations has had, yet. 

I just learned a number that simply amazes me. 

Why More PR Efforts Should be Coordinated Around Veterans Day

Why More PR Efforts Should be Coordinated Around Veterans Day

My PR team is always looking for opportunities to draw some media attention to our clients for doing something positive.  As part of this effort, we often coordinate media efforts around various holidays and shared cultural events. Out of all the dates on the calendar, I never expected Veterans Day to become my favorite. Both because of what it represents, and the media opportunities it has provided our clients.

Veterans Day has long been one of those specialty holidays recognized mostly by those who have a personal connection to the military.  It’s not part of a three-day weekend, and people often mix it up with Memorial Day which honors the fallen vs Veterans Day which recognizes the living who have served.

My team took Veterans Day efforts to an entirely new gear this year, and I want to share what we did. Not to brag, but in hopes of sparking your imagination or participation for Veterans Day next year.

The Veterans Day Giveaway Idea

We have several HVAC and plumbing clients. One of those companies was founded by a Veteran after WWII, and the company is now lead by his granddaughter (3rd generation).  Five years ago, we launched a now annual Veterans AC Giveaway Contest where the public could nominate a Veteran or their family member in need of a new AC unit or furnace. After verifying nominations and choosing finalists, the public was given the opportunity to vote for the recipient, with the prize awarded on (or around) Veterans Day.

That single contest has expanded.  In 2020 we held the contest in five different cities spanning the U.S. from Miami, Florida to Spokane, Washington. Yes, the contest is a nice thing to do and it’s generated publicity and stories in each City we’ve done it. But it’s much more than a contest.

Our goal is to share personal stories of local Veterans and active duty members that most people never hear about. These are the men and women who left their homes, their families, and their friends to dutifully serve our country across the nation and around the world. Their stories are incredible. Like an Arizona man who joined the Army after the attack on 9/11 to protect our nation and came back with a life-changing injury from a rocket propelled grenade. Or the Florida man who joined the Navy at age 17 and got to take a newly commissioned ship through the Panama Canal. Or the woman who was the first female in her family to join, and now copes with the debilitating effects of PTSD.

In our eyes, they are all heroes. They all deserve notoriety.  So we share their stories using videos, blogs, social media, and often the news media will help us reach a wider audience. These stories have helped old friends reconnect providing them with a sense of hope and some comfort during an increasingly stressful time.

It amazes me how grateful these Veterans are to be recognized. I am also impressed by their shared bond. They understand what it’s like to be too far from home, and why it’s so hard to talk about what they experienced. We are saddened by how many suffer from mental trauma and inspired by how many of them volunteer to help other Veterans heal.

The other major effort we launched was the #VetDayPledge.

The idea started in 2018, when one of our large construction related clients was looking for ways to recognize their employees that were Veterans. We suggested that the company gather employees on Veterans Day a job site or in their warehouse and simply invite all the Veterans to the front of the group to lead their co-workers in the Pledge of Allegiance.  We used smartphone video to then share it with media and post it on social media.  The response from employees who participated was so positive that the construction company expanded it to multiple cities and job sites the following year.

This year, with permission from the client we decided to expand the idea to include any company willing to participate.  Our only request was that anyone who participated include the hashtag #VetDayPledge to unify the message and make it easier for others to see and hopefully participate on their own. In addition to sharing the idea with other companies (clients and non-clients), we invited other PR firms to share the idea and created a website www.VetDayPledge.com with free resources and tips for companies to do it on their own.

I’m so proud that during this campaign’s first year going national and mainstream that we had participants from 10 states!  While some videos came from our clients, the majority of the participants were not!  In addition to several businesses, an elementary school participated, as did a senior living community!

A Wisconsin TV station even did a news story about one of the participants. You can watch the story by clicking here!

We’re excited to grow the #VetDayPledge further next year and believe that without the election (and COVID) related distractions, even more businesses and organizations will participate.  This idea has become a passion project.  We love that it’s a simple, no cost idea that anyone can do to thank our Veterans and their families.

Ultimately, the most important thing for companies to remember when doing a PR campaign around Veterans Day or Memorial Day is to do it for the right reason. We believe that the VetDayPledge and the Veteran AC Giveaway Contest fit that purpose.  Sure, it might generate some positive publicity for our clients, but most importantly, it generates recognition for those who’ve served and sacrificed- the individual veteran, and their families alongside them.

There are lots of great ideas that companies are doing to recognize Veterans. Share them below and help us inspire others!

How to Pull Off an Employee Photo Shoot During COVID

It had been a few years since my company last did head shots or team photos. Then, COVID hit and the team started working remotely. In addition, we gained two new employees in the last seven months.

I knew I didn’t want to wait to get new photos until after the pandemic was over, so I accepted that different employees have different comfort levels about gathering in a group until the risk is fully gone. The challenge became how to schedule a team photo shoot during COVID, thus creating a new library of company images that can be used both in the short, and long-term. 

Knowing a lot of other companies are going through a similar thought process, I thought it would be helpful to share our process and considerations of how to coordinate a company photo shoot during COVID.

Tips on coordinating timing and staff attendance:

  1. Give everyone plenty of notice of your plans to do the photo shoot.  This was important for several reasons. First, it allowed everyone to get comfortable with the idea of coming into the office, even for an hour or two. Second, it gave people time to schedule hair appointments, coordinate care for their kids at home, etc.,
  2. Respect their comfort level in returning.  Getting everyone together at once we knew was going to be out of the question from a distancing standpoint, so we scheduled out blocks for each employee.
  3. Take advantage of overlap times.  We purposely scheduled overlap time as one person was leaving and another arriving.  This allowed coworkers to say hello in a smaller environment, but also provided an opportunity to take some (socially distant) group photos. For example, during the overlap times we were able to spread out in an office or in a conference room to take some team interaction photos.
  4. Be smart about assigning times.  Accepting it likely a shoot may run late, we made sure the first person of the day was the individual who had the shortest available window (due to childcare considerations) to help them get out on time.  Also, the newest member of our team was hired during COVID and had never met his co-workers in person (only via Zoom).  To maximize the in-person interaction opportunity, we scheduled him accordingly between other coworkers.

The other part is figuring out what photos you need- not only now, but for the next year or more. We knew we needed individual headshots, but we still wanted team shots, candid photos, options for social media images, our websites, etc.  We also didn’t want our photo shoot to become obviously dated by COVID to the point a new photo shoot would be needed post vaccine.

Tips for the Actual Photo Shoot:

  1. Set Up Reusable Backdrops: Setting up and testing lighting takes a lot of time, so pre-designate key backgrounds that can be used flexibly, and repeatedly. We had two key backdrops. One was in our main Lobby where our company logo is on the wall. The second we set up all-white backdrop with paper to take general photos. The white backdrop was ceiling to several feet on the floor for team members to literally stand on during their photos. This was designed to allow for easy cropping, adding of backgrounds, colors, etc. 
  2. Head Shots: This was relatively straightforward, but we wanted options. We had each employee take headshots in two locations, with both a formal and business casual outfit. This was designed to give us options and alternatives based on the need.
  3. Extra Headshot tip: Make sure at least one of your headshot backdrops are easy to replicate in office without the professional photographer.  The thinking is if you add new employees, you will want the option to take a photo on your own and still have it generally match your other team members without having to hire a photographer to come out and try to copy the earlier set of headshots.
  4. Mask photos:  In addition to normal photos, we also had each employee take a headshot wearing a mark, and some with it half-off (including one making a face).  The idea being we could do a quick slide/Instagram slide of 3 from mask on to mask off. 
  5. Group Photos:  This was particularly hard since we weren’t going to all be together at the same time.  Working with the photographer (we used Rick D’Elia who did an awesome job), we came up with a few ideas that worked. One was a layer approach- where a background with chairs was set up and wouldn’t be moved. Each team member was then photographed in a different spot and everyone was layered together afterward to make up the complete photo.  The second idea was what we called the Album Covers.  On the all-white backdrop, we tried to copy some iconic group images. One easy example would be the cover of the Abbey Road album cover. We all pretended to walk down the street, and we’ll be cropped and layered onto a street scape. The hope is when people see it, they’ll immediately think of the Beatles cover. 
  6. Prop Shots: We had about a dozen different props.  Each member took photos with them on the white background. The idea of these photos was that they’d be great for social media.  A prop example is we had several American flags.  We’ll now have several photos of co-workers holding flags which we will have the option to use for holidays and events like July 4th, Veterans Day, Election Day, etc.  Another example was everyone brought their favorite piece of sports equipment (a tennis racquet, swim goggles, etc.)
  7. Multiple Outfits: Each employee was encouraged to have 4 outfits (one formal, 3 casual).  The idea was to switch out outfits for the “prop shots” and office candids so that it didn’t look like every photo was taken at the same time on the same day. 
  8. Fool Around and Have Fun: The best photos aren’t always planned. Make sure you tell your photographer to have fun and take candids.  A great example is while taking photos of an employee at her desk, the photographer saw some animal slippers below her desk (yes, she wears them sometimes at work).  The photog loved that, so he took a photo of her at her desk in her animal slippers creating a really fun image.

While a ton of work getting it set up, the entire team agreed it was a great experience and great to come back into the office, even temporarily, after six months working at home.

As to the pictures themselves- they came out great! You’ll start seeming us slip them into our social media posts and website soon.  We’ve now got great library of individual and team photos that can be utilized both during COVID, and afterward.

-Josh Weiss, President of 10 to 1 Public Relations

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Chances are you’ll be seeing a lot more pink this month, as October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, and this year alone, an estimated 325,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S.

1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime

Our client, Plexus Worldwide, has been supporting women’s health since its inception, with its flagship product the Plexus Breast Chek Kit, designed for women to easily perform monthly self-examinations to help detect changes in their breasts. The company is supporting and recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month with pop-up giveaways in the month of October and as part of the Plexus Worldwide Breast Cancer Awareness Month Campaign. The “Pink Wednesday Pop-Up Giveaways” are a social media campaign designed to engage their community and create awareness about self-check breast exams.

Starting Wednesday, October 7, their “Pink Wednesday Pop-Up Giveaways” will occur every Wednesday in October. Followers can participate in their first pop-up giveaway on their Plexus Worldwide Brand Page on Facebook and every other week on their Plexus Worldwide Instagram account. All winners will receive a Breast Chek Kit, in addition to other prizes such as Kate Spade brilliant statements tri-prong stud earrings, Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 Instant Film Camera, Nike Brasilia Just Do It Mini Backpack, and Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro Totally Wireless Earphones.

In addition, Ambulnz, an industry leading on-demand ambulance services provider, is drawing attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month by providing pink ribbon magnets for some of their 350 vehicles in their fleet across the country. In addition, they’re providing pink ribbon lapel pins for their employees to wear and encouraging them to educate themselves and their loved ones on the importance of breast health.

Like these companies, and so many others, October is the perfect time to think about breast health, and the National Breast Cancer Foundation is dedicated to providing educational information from understanding the importance of early detection, to knowing how to prepare for a mammogram. The Foundation has online resources and guides aimed to empower women and men with useful information. In addition to information, there are several different ways you can help, including becoming a community ambassador, sharing your story, or supporting local groups helping to educate the public. Either way, take a moment to read up on breast cancer and encourage the people in your life to do so as well, because when breast cancer is detected early, it can be treated more successfully.

Surviving the Election News Cycle

With fewer than 50 days to go until the 2020 General Election, PR pros and casual news consumers alike will have noticed the continued focus on the election during each news cycle. Election-related stories will continue to be a major part of our daily news diet, even amidst a continuing global pandemic, raging wildfires in the west, discussions about social justice, and other pressing issues.

Local and national media alike have been doing a great job to help voters get the information they need to participate in the electoral process. This is despite documented outside efforts to spread misinformation about the election.

At 10 to 1 Public Relations, we’ve been doing our part to build confidence in the electoral process by helping our client Runbeck Election Services, an elections services company focused on delivering election printing, equipment and software solutions, explain the technicalities of how the vote-by-mail process works. This year, Runbeck is planning to print 15 million vote-by-mail packets, four times more than they produced in 2016, as demand for vote-by-mail soars as a safe method of voting during the pandemic.

In the past few months, we’ve helped connect Runbeck to local and national media to explain how vote-by-mail is a safe and secure process which can be trusted by the voters to deliver legitimate results. Here are just a few recent stories featuring Runbeck:

As we have been working on these stories, we believe there is really one way to survive the oncoming onslaught of election news coverage as we get closer to November 3. Make sure you are paying attention to trusted and verified sources on the election.

Here in Arizona, according to the Arizona Secretary of State, you must register to vote or update your voter registration on or before Monday, October 5 to participate in the 2020 General Election. If you plan to vote by mail, you must request a ballot or join the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) on or before Friday, October 23. It is recommended that you mail back your ballot as soon as possible and not after Tuesday, October 27. If you still have your vote-by-mail ballot after October 27, you can drop it off at a voting location or drop box before 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 3.

All Arizona voting information can be found at Arizona.Vote, or visit Vote.org for other state-specific voting information, deadlines, and instructions.

Because one thing is for sure: You can’t complain if you don’t vote.

By Erica Fetherston, Sr. Account Exec. at 10 to 1 Public Relations

Video Series: Public Relations Tips To Get Through COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus has spread across the globe, business as we have known it has been upended. While we work together to stop the spread of COVID-19, there are things companies can be doing to position themselves to withstand the pandemic, help the community, and ultimately come out of this crisis stronger.

Public relations can play a role in delivering on these goals. 10 to 1 President Josh Weiss has created a video series of brief videos to give you ideas on how you can best position your company utilizing basic public relations and crisis communications tactics.

You can check out our video series below or on our YouTube page.


PR & COVID-19: Share Your Expertise

https://youtube.com/watch?v=4rCj5Sf89oY%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Find Opportunity for Every Story

https://youtube.com/watch?v=atS6Rv0KRDs%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Walk Through Your Warehouse

https://youtube.com/watch?v=emdFN9dWdA0%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Pivoting The Right Way

https://youtube.com/watch?v=pnpAuAJ82Dg%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Follow The Leader

https://youtube.com/watch?v=3eroAMKpMNM%3Ffeature%3Doembed

PR & COVID-19: Be Honest With Your Customers

https://youtube.com/watch?v=E0drKp1XgoM%3Ffeature%3Doembed

More videos will be added on a regular basis – stay tuned!

12 Tips for Successful At-Home Remote Video Interviews with the Media

You’ve landed a remote interview with a television station, congratulations! How do you make sure it goes well and you get your message across? How can you best avoid any technology failures or unwanted interruptions?

There are several things to keep in mind to ensure that you are prepared for the interview, both when it comes to visuals and audio.

BEFORE THE INTERVIEW

1. Ensure you have the proper technology. Things to consider:

  • Make sure that you have the appropriate video software downloaded to your computer and that it is the most updated version.
  • If you have an external camera and/or microphone, ensure they are set up and working.
  • You can use headphones during the interview to enhance your audio, as the microphone will be higher quality than a standard computer microphone and be closer to your mouth to pick up your sound better. However, do not use large over-ear headphones as they will not look appealing on camera. Earbuds are recommended. If they are corded, use the one side with the microphone and hide the cord as best you can.

2. Identify your interview location. This should be a room in your home that has a door that can be closed to shut out unwanted interruptions. It should also be as close as possible to your internet router to ensure you have a strong internet connection.

3. Set up your space. Things to pay attention to:

  • Light source – You want to avoid any light coming from behind you. If you have to position yourself in front of a window, close the blinds. A “fancy” at home set up will include a “ring light” that will cast a favorable light on your face to make you look your best. If you do not have access to a ring light but your face lacks the proper lighting, find a lamp in your home that you can position that shines some light on your face.
  • Background – You don’t want a cluttered space in the background, but you also don’t want it to be barren. Positioning a bookshelf behind you is usually an appealing visual. Doublecheck the bookcase before the interview to ensure that all of the viewable titles are appropriate. If you don’t have a bookshelf, you can use a small table or desk behind you to arrange some memorabilia like photos or other décor for some visual interest. If you have merchandise or props related to your interview/company, they should be placed somewhere in the video frame.
  • Set up a comfortable chair – You will want to be seated during the interview to prevent any random movements that may be distracting. Avoid a swivel chair if possible.
  • Camera/Computer Position – Depending on how you will be seated, you will want to set up your computer or camera so that it is elevated. The camera should be level with your eyes for the optimal image. Elevate your computer by using a laptop stand or a stack of books. For the best framing, you’ll want to position the camera about an arm’s length away from you.

4. Run a Test. Using the appropriate video software with any external equipment set up, run a test call with a friend or colleague to ensure that your video and audio are working well and that you are happy with your setup.

DURING THE INTERVIEW

5. Prevent any noise interruptions. Items to check off:

  • Turn your phone to “do not disturb” mode.
  • Put a sign on your door that says, “do not disturb.” If necessary, do the same for your front door and ask people not to ring the doorbell.
  • Alert family members of your interview time and request that they stay quiet or in another part of the house.
  • Hide pets in another room for the duration of the interview.

6. Wear the appropriate clothing. Avoid bright patterns or colors that would blend in with your background. Solid pastels are best. Do not wear bright white or green, as these colors do not work well on screen.

7. Keep your body in check. Things to keep in mind:

  • Check your posture. While seated, make sure you are sitting straight up. Roll your shoulders back to check you have the right posture.
  • Stop bouncing your legs. It’s normal to experience some nerves before or during an interview. Keep your feet planted to avoid bouncing your legs.
  • Watch your hands. Some people are very expressive with their hands when they speak. This can be distracting during a video interview. Try to keep your hands in your lap while you’re speaking for the most part, a little hand motion during some of the interview is okay.
  • Grab a glass of water to keep by your setup in case it is needed during the interview.

8. Speak slowly and clearly. Speak more slowly than you normally would, it may sound weird to you but it will help you reduce the number of “ums” and allow the viewers to better follow your messaging.

9. Keep eye contact with the camera. It may feel awkward not looking at the computer screen when answering the reporter’s questions, but you’ll look your best for the interview when you are looking directly at the camera while you are speaking.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW

10. Thank the reporter. Ask if there is anything else that you can do to help them with the story. If the interview was recorded and will be used later, ask when they anticipate the interview will air.

11. Send b-roll and photos. If the interview was recorded, send the reporter any additional b-roll or photos that could help enhance their story.

12. Share the interview. Once the interview has aired or been posted, share it far and wide via your social media channels and email newsletter! Be sure to also post it to the media or blog page of your website. 

Following these tips should guarantee a successful remote at-home video interview. It is particularly important to consider these tips at this time while the coronavirus pandemic has forced many television news stations to shift operations and prioritize remote interviews like these. By providing an excellent interview, it’s more likely that you’ll be invited back for another interview in the future.

— written by Erica Fetherston, Sr. Account Exec at 10 to 1 Public Relations