Thursday, June 22, 2017

4 Ways To "Fix" Our Broken Network Newscasts [Abbott Media Group]


Network news - news programs shown on the original Big Three networks and other, newer, upstarts - is broken. Below are four examples, and what I believe they need to do to fix their news programs to better serve the American people:

More International Focus - A "world news" program that focuses solely on domestic news is not worthy of the name. And international celebrities getting into trouble or the latest plane crash overseas doesn't count as "news." Americans who are insular and insulated from the news of the world are suddenly surprised by trends both friendly and ferocious when they hit without warning. When that happens, that's a failure of the "world news" programs we watch. Network newscasts must rededicate themselves to covering the entire world.

More International Politics - Political trends are also vital to our full and complete awareness as voters and as citizens. It may not, at first glance, seem important that a new anti-American party is rising in the polls in a nation traditionally friendly to the USA, or that a certain governor was elected in a prefecture in Japan. But if that nation  turns hostile, or if that governor is more hostile to Americans remaining in a military base there than his predecessor, then that indeed is a problem that will have regional and international repercussions. Network newscasts should commit to covering international politics, because it's relevant.

The Weather Is NOT "news" - It's snowy in the winter in the Northern half of the United States. It's a fact. It's not, however, news. It's exciting to show cars skidding off the road, rivers frozen and, in other climes, wet summers, minor hurricanes and tornadoes. But aside from an in-depth analyses of how slowly the aid got there after the storm, or how we are adapting to changing weather patterns, it's not "news." Network newscasts should stop wasting time covering routine and expected weather, and blowing storms out of all proportion.

Fewer YouTube Videos - What's truly shocking about today's American nightly "newscast" is the inclusion of actual YouTube videos. ABC News includes these (and the aforementioned "kids play on teams" videos) in its "Index" segment near the end of the program. It literally shows YouTube videos of animals doing funny things, near-miss car accidents and other hilarity, which we can see with better justification on shows like "America's Funniest Videos" or its cable show equivalents. The YouTubization (tm) of Network news must end. 

"If it bleeds, it leads" was the old saying about the nightly news and the local paper. National Network newscasts shouldn't fear though. There is plenty of blood in the political turmoil around the world to quench their viewers' hearts. Demonstrations, corruption, trade deals, hard-fought elections, coups and uprisings, and much of it with consequences for American voters and consumers.

That's one of the reasons why I founded "World Politics News," a news aggregation service that points American readers to the news they're missing on the nightly network newscasts.

American news organizations owe it to us to bring us the world, and to show us accurately and fairly what's happening THERE before it happens HERE. And if they begin to do this again, the nightly "World News" programs will once again be true to their names.

Stephen Abbott
Abbott Media Group
www.abbottmediagroup.com

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

AMG Launches "Human-to-Human" Phone #Canvassing Service [Abbott Media Group]


NEWS RELEASE

Abbott Media Group
Contact: Stephen Abbott 772.261.1173
stephen@abbottpr.com   abbottmediagroup.com   facebook.com/abbottmediagroup

October 3, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


ABBOTT MEDIA GROUP LAUNCHES THE "HUMAN-TO-HUMAN"
PHONE CANVASSING SERVICE

Abbott Media Group has announced the launch of its new “Human-To-Human” phone canvassing service.

Owner and founder Stephen Abbott says the service is designed to bring professional, effective human-based phone canvassing to political campaigns across the nation.

AMG is immediately making the service available to political campaigns seeking to reach out to voters and encourage support in these final weeks of the 2016 campaign season.

"We believe this service will be a vital and invaluable tool to political campaigns as they reach out to voters for the final time," said Abbott. "With a starting cost of 33 cents per call, these Human-to-Human calls are indeed more expensive than "Robocalls," which tend to run around 6 cents a call," he admits. "But these calls are infinitely more effective, and besides, everyone hates automated Robocalls."

In fact, studies show that Robocalls are, "chronically ineffective and inefficient means of mobilizing voters" (Green and Karlan 2006; Ramirez 2005) while personalized messages delivered in a conversational manner over the phone have been found to be as effective (and are more cost-effective) than door-to-door canvassing. (Nickerson 2006; Stollwerk 2006)

Abbott stresses that many voters today simply hang up angrily on robocalls, which are obviously non-human, and hold it against the candidate (if they remember the name of the candidate at all!) He says the service is meant to supplement volunteer phone banking efforts, which, while effective, can be less reliable than professional phone banking efforts.

The Human-To-Human Phone Canvassing Service is best suited for short calls with a goal of getting out the vote (GOTV) reminding supporters to attend a rally or debate, or as an effort to raise a candidate’s name awareness. Longer calls, with goals of information gathering or polling, are also available. The service is available for businesses, past the November election, says Abbott.

For more information, call Abbott Media Group at 772-261-1173 or visit abbottmediagroup.com for details.

###

Friday, January 20, 2017

Candidates: What Is Your #PoliticalVoice?

What is your "Political Voice"?

A Political Voice (TM) is what I call the vital component of a Message - the WAY in which that message is conveyed to relevant publics. It isn't necessarily the words that are said (though it IS that) it's also the value of the message to the group toward which it is directed, and the tone and tenor at which it is delivered. The message is composed of the policies, plans and promises a candidate or business leader has to convey. The Voice is the MANNER in which the message is conveyed, and how much of the content of that message is conveyed to them.

For instance, with Pres. Trump, his Political Voice is cluttered, but approachable and casual, often having no regard to complex policies or even core beliefs. His speeches are short, brief, and aimed at "average voters."

When in office, Pres. Obama, by contrast, always had a Political Voice that was extremely structured and uplifting, approachable, but with soaring rhetoric, filled with weighty policies but also descriptive of why those policies were relevant, from a philosophical point of view. He was long-winded at times, often losing his audience, which were often upper middle-class city-dwellers.

Pres. Reagan, the "Great Communicator," had yet another style of Political Voice, one that was at times structured and uplifting, but also approachable and casual, often with humor and kindness as his tone. His rhetoric could be uplifting, and he never failed to convey his policies and core values in what he said. His speeches were of average length, never too long, and were aimed at "average voters" without seeming to exclude anyone.

It's extremely important for candidates who intend to seek public office to work with a professional communications consultant to develop a Voice. This will enable them to approach and appeal to not only to relevant future voters, but also - and perhaps even more importantly - to early donors and thought leaders.

Failure to do this, and to develop the right messaging that will be delivered, results in a failed campaign effort. And with the cost of today's political campaigns, deciding to "wing it" means to fail to sound like a viable candidate, and to come up short on election day.

I can help you develop a message and a Voice to convey it the RIGHT way. Contact me immediately if you plan to seek higher office in 2017 or 2018.

Stephen Abbott
#AbbottPR
#AbbottMediaGroup
www.abbottmediagroup.com

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fair Dealing And #PublicRelations [Abbott Media Group]

Reputations in business, as in life, are built on fair dealing: by treating customers and employees well, by paying employees what they have earned and on time, and by giving customers friendly attention and fair value for what they purchase.

Without this culture of fair dealing, employees grumble, are dissatisfied on the job, and are disloyal, and customers simply leave and never return, making sure everyone knows why they have taken their business elsewhere.

But when a culture of fair dealing is fully embraced, employees are enthusiastic and do all they can to make the company successful, and customers reward it with loyalty and positive recommendations to their neighbors and friends.

Fair dealing cannot be faked. And it is not the job of public relations to pretend a company that is not dealing fairly actually is doing so. Public Relations can never allow itself to be used to paint a false picture of fair dealing where none exists. Employees and customers alike will see through any such attempt at whitewashing. Lying always makes things worse, in the end.

But when a company that has damaged its reputation by not dealing fairly begins to deal fairly in all aspects of its corporate life, it's a pleasure for public relations consultants to tell all who will listen about this more positive attitude towards doing business.

- Stephen Abbott
www.AbbottMediaGroup.com

Friday, August 12, 2016

5 Characteristics of Reputation [Abbott Media Group]


Like any tool, a reputation constantly needs sharpening to be effective. But it can be double-edged instrument that can cut you and severely damage you, if you're not careful, or mishandle it.

Reputation can be a hard concept to wrap one’s head around. So, bolstered by wise words of wisdom, here are five characteristics of reputation of which businesses and individuals need to be cognizant when seeking to change or improve their reputations.

1. A Reputation can’t be built on false promises - "The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear," said the Greek philosopher Socrates. Your advertising materials won't fool anyone if your promises aren't being kept. If our luggage is lost, we will not believe the ad calling the airline "competent." In the same way, your company’s reality-on-the-ground must match the rhetoric your Reputation Agency is putting out about you, in order for your believability to remain intact.

2. Reputation must reflect what you’re doing NOW - Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford said, ‘You can’t build a reputation on what you're going to do.” It’s all well and good that you PLAN to do something great. But if you’re not doing it yet, or (worse) if you don’t follow through, it will hurt you more than if you hadn't promised to do it at all. In short, your reputation is a result of what you've done in the past.

3. A reputation pays off in the long run - “A reputation for good judgment, for fair dealing, for truth, and for rectitude is itself a fortune,” said social reformer Henry Ward Beecher. There’s not really a way to weigh the value of a good reputation, or that of a good one that’s been lost. Your customers, if they’re happy, reach out to dozens of people about your products and services, but also about your attitude and helpfulness, and that of your employees. A reputation pays off in many innumerable ways, most of which you will never know.

4. A reputation can’t be a con job - Author and artist Elbert Hubbard wrote, “Many a man’s reputation would not know his character if they met on the street.” A reputation must be true and reflective of the subject it purports to represent. No one can "create" a glowing reputation for someone who's character is genuinely bad. Again, today’s consumers simply are too smart for such a cynical exercise in deception, and frankly, AMG (along with every other ethical PR professional) will not participate in such a deception. As in other examples here, the perception must match the reality. A con job will simply further tarnish a damaged reputation, and it’s simply not worth it. Issues involving the character and practices of your company must be addressed BEFORE “re-launching” yourself and your name to the public.

5. Your reputation can be ruined by others - George Washington said, "Associate with men of good quality, if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company." If you’re associated in the mind of the public with a rouge company or an unscrupulous person - even if it’s not YOUR company or employee - your reputation could be hurt by it in the eyes of the public. That may not be fair, but it’s reality. People sometimes don’t distinguish between you and a bad act committed by someone close to you. As Washington said, in that case, it’s better to be seen alone and apart from them, and AMG can help you distance yourself from trouble with a clear reputation management plan.

Contact Abbott Media Group if we can help create compelling messages that build your reputation!

By Stephen Abbott, Principal of Abbott Public Relations, a division of Abbott Media Group, which creates written messages which inspire, inform, educate and engage, in mass media, publishing and public relations. On twitter and Facebook.

Friday, July 29, 2016

"Earned Media" And Why You Should Seek It [Abbott Media Group]

I was discussing earned media with a local business owner today and thought I'd share what I shared with him.

Businesses tend to know about paid advertising. They buy an ad, people see it, and then they come and do business with them. But that is a greatly simplified explanation, and doesn't tell the full story about what advertising is, what it can do, what it often CANNOT do, and what can help supplement its shortcomings.

Ads are paid for, by their very nature. Even if those who see them don't consciously think it, they know it's been paid for, and that the buyer (you) has an agenda: that you want them to see it and feel good about your business or the product being advertised.

Unsurprisingly, this tends to undercut the message you're trying to convey. Sure, your product might be good, but the fact that you paid to tell them this fact actually decreases its effectiveness.

Earned media can help solve this problem. Exposure for your brand, business or products can be "earned" from newspapers, magazines and online media sources without the costs associated with paying for an ad.

This is usually accomplished through news releases - documents prepared by public relations professionals who understand how to write about news-worthy items that will attract the attention of the media, and be placed where readers see them usually without changes. Sometimes, the news release sparks the interest of  reporters to do a more in-depth story about your business, product or cause.

And while paid media - advertising - is blatantly paid for, earned media carries with it the credibility of being freely chosen by the owner of the media source. Again, almost subconsciously, the fact that the paper or magazine is doing a "news story" on your product or business is seen as far more credible than if you had paid for it.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Paid media makes sense when you want 100% control of your message - and a PR pro can make sure that your advertising is consistent with all your other messages. But seeking earned media makes sense when you have something new, unique, and interesting that sets you apart from competitors or other similar businesses, and want greater credibility by getting news coverage to promote them.

Contact Abbott Media Group if we can help create compelling messages!

By Stephen Abbott, Principal of Abbott Public Relations, a division of Abbott Media Group, which creates written messages which inspire, inform, educate and engage, in mass media, publishing and public relations. On twitter and Facebook.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Is Print #Media Dead? (Not Another Obituary) [Abbott Media Group]

Is print media dead? I just read yet another post online saying just that. It's not difficult to draw that conclusion, given the decades-long slide into oblivion by many major and minor players in the field of print journalism.

Print publications large and small have long struggled with rapidly diminishing ad revenue, fewer eyeballs, and stiff competition from online media sources.

Public Relations consultants for business and political clients have more and more utilized and relied upon online media and social media to the detriment of print publications.

In politics, especially, print media has shot itself in the foot by failing to consistently offer balanced and responsible journalism. Given the slash and burn nature of the economics of the newsroom, it's not surprising that coverage has suffered. But there's literally no reason why this must necessarily result in shoddy, unbalanced coverage of political candidates or mere "horse race" and process stories.

In business, too, pay-to-play (stories for payment) have become the norm in many cash-starved papers. I recently went to the press release submission page of a prominent Florida newspaper, only to find that it offered publication for a "subscription." Whatever that is it's not journalism. It sure isn't "earned media."

So print media, if it's not dead, exactly, may be on life support. There's actually no solution to this problem except a complete re-dedication to journalistic excellence in the print media profession.

Papers, however cash-strapped they may be, must recommit to sending out reporters to actually cover the business community, political leaders, elections, and the people and places that are committing hard news within the readership area. Fluffy feel-good stories and police blotter stories have their place, but over-reliance on these tends to cheapen journalism.

I have seen political candidates who either have gotten perfunctory coverage, or none at all, because the newspaper had a favorite candidate or party, and decided on its own to filter out all candidates who did not meet their standards or biases of its editors. If they believed this would prompt ad sales, this has actually had the opposite effect, in many cases.

Many political campaigns, for example, have simply ignored the dead tree media and have focused almost entirely on new, online media, especially social media, which is becoming increasingly popular among voters as a source of both news and political information.

Businesses and the consultants representing them are also less enamored with the negative changes in print media, and are turning to alternate ways of reaching out to present and future clients and customers. And of course, ad revenues spiral ever more downward as a result.

And instead of "pay to play," which is ethically revolting as well as defeating the idea of earned media, news releases that are sent on behalf of candidates and businesses (and are actually timely and news-worthy) should actually prompt news stories that are balanced and fair.

Does Print have a future? Sure. But it can only have one if it re-dedicates itself to the fundamentals of journalism, including fairness, balance, and equality of access by all parties involved in an issue.