“Madame, we are the press. You know our power. We fix all values. We set all standards. Your entire future depends on us.”
-Jean Giraudoux, The Madwoman of Chaillot
While all reporters may not agree with the quote above, you may be surprised by how many might. Unfortunately, for many endeavors– both business and political–the last line of Giraudoux’s quote can prove to be painfully true. Even more unfortunate is the fact that many futures were dimmed by ignoring or discounting the potential of media relations.
The key to effective media relations is applying the right balance of persistence, “people skills”, relationship building and preparation (research, training, practice) to win the day (a little good fortune doesn’t hurt, either). The difficulty lies in judging what is the right balance of the above–a formula that changes with each reporter and every issue. That’s why it is essential to enlist media relations experts such as Smith & Harroff.
Since our inception, S&H has provided media relations services, including the following:
- Managing every aspect of corporate speaker bureaus
- “Pitching” local, national and international members of the press
- Preparing press kits, writing releases, Op Eds, letters-to-editors, etc.
- Creating and maintaining press lists
- Media monitoring
- Conducting press clipping and issue tracking
- Managing press conferences
- Providing media training
- Preparing clients for debate
A major facet of media relations is preparation and training. S&H continues to provide expert media and speech instruction to CEOs, political candidates, executives and communications personnel.
Clients for whom we’ve provided media training include:
- U.S. Department of Energy
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
- Westinghouse Electric Corporation
- Nuclear Energy Institute
- Independent Community Bankers of America
- Carolina Power & Light
- Eli Lilly Corporation
- Arizona Public Service Company
- Florida Power & Light Company
- American College of Nuclear Physicians
- Advocates for Responsible Disposal in Texas
- Sierra Pacific Power Company
- The Aluminum Company of Canada
- The Glass Packaging Institute
- Central Electricity Generating Board of England
- U.S. State Initiative Campaigns
- Candidates for the U.S. Congress
- Gubernatorial Candidates
We have chosen three of our media relations/training clients to demonstrate past S&H success.
Clean Energy America
Utilizing industry engineers and scientists, we developed a highly successful national media and grassroots outreach effort originally named the Campus America Program. It was launched as a way to educate college students about energy issues and generate positive news coverage about nuclear power. The program was so successful in increasing positive media coverage and building the credibility of the industry that the nuclear industry retained S&H to manage the program for 18 years. In more recent years, the Nuclear Energy Institute retained S&H to reinstate a similar speakers bureau, called the Clean Energy America program. We were responsible for every aspect of the program, from selecting and training speakers, to scheduling their itineraries, to accompanying them during their travels. Each trip produced valuable news coverage and helped the public become better informed about nuclear power.
The American-Kuwaiti Alliance
Smith & Harroff was responsible for media relations surrounding the American-Kuwaiti Alliance’s (AKA) “Eye on Kuwait” tour. Under the patronage of his Highness, Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the multi-city tour traveled from Washington, DC to Chicago, IL and then to Atlanta, GA. Featuring seven high-profile Kuwaiti delegates with various backgrounds and areas of expertise, the tour’s goal was to increase awareness of Kuwait to the United States as a geopolitical and business partner as well as a long-time friend and ally.
S&H created the core message, “Has the U.S. Forgotten Kuwait?,” tweaking this general theme for specific reporters and cities. Our work involved generating brochures, press information and materials, pitching the media through press releases and phone calls and scheduling media interviews throughout the trip.
The media outreach efforts were a huge success. In one week’s time, the tour generated six private interviews with major news sources including the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Daily Herald, Global Atlanta and the Kuwait Edition of the International Herald Tribune. The final result yielded 18 articles including two in The Washington Post, despite competing news interest surrounding the annual World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings.
Washington ENT Group
The Washington ENT Group, a private Ear, Nose & Throat medical practice in Washington, DC, asked Smith & Harroff to help garner press coverage to coincide with its grand opening. The Group invested a great deal of money and training time to implement a high-tech computer system that virtually eliminated paper in the patient-to-prescription process. S&H determined that accentuating this facet of the Washington ENT group would offer the greatest chance of coverage in local markets. Honing the pitch, S&H was able to interest several reporters, resulting in the following coverage:
- The Washington Post article–“Doctors Go Digital”– by reporter Sally Squires that appeared on cover of the Health Section
- “OnCall”: Fox5 News at 10–“Inside a Digital Doctors Office”
- Washington Times article — Digital Doctors
- CNN coverage
- Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery Journal –“Is Patient Care Improved by a Paperless Office?”– article that appeared on the cover of the Journal
- Coverage in the Memphis Commercial Appeal