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Not Much New Under the Zoom Sun
Old tried and true methods still apply to new tech.
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 by Ed Barks
Barks Communications

Ed BarksIn a recent presentation I delivered before the National Press Club on media relations strategy, the question arose of how to handle media interviews on Zoom.

It seems that many spokespeople are wrestling with that issue these days, when nearly every outlet is leaning on some form of video service.

Here’s the bottom line: Tried and true media relations principles still apply. It is important to recognize that the only thing that has changed is the tool being used. Let’s examine. First, what has changed:

·         New technology

Balance that with the elements that remain constant:

·         A magnetic message

·         Spokespeople with first-rate communications skills

·         An attitude of opportunity

·         Careful targeting of the media outlets you wish to pursue

·         Conduct of due diligence on the reporters and outlets you target

·         Value of a sustained media training program for all spokespeople

·         Professional attire

·         Effective use of nonverbal skills

Looking at the scale, it’s easy to see that there is not much new here. Established methods still apply.

Zoom interviews are nothing more than an additional tool that has cropped up this decade. Consider the parallels:

·         The advent of digital media to connect with reporters in the 2000s

·         Contacting reporters via email starting in the 1990s

·         Using fax machines when they arrived on the scene in the 1980s

To be sure, there are some new wrinkles when communicating through a video conferencing service. Spokespeople must learn how to maintain eye contact with their camera (not their monitor), think about the background of their shot, and acquire a broadcast quality microphone, to name a few.

In essence, we have all become our own audio/visual technicians (the engineers at the radio stations where I worked must be shaking in their boots to think me responsible for such technical aspects). Regardless, we have to work with what we’ve got.

As I related to that National Press Club audience, time tested media relations principles endure. A magnetic message delivered with solid communications techniques and a healthy attitude still matter. Don’t let the Zoom fascination distract you from the basics.

Ed Barks is President of Barks Communications, and has taught more than
5,000 buisness leaders, association executives, and other experts
how to succeed with the media. His latest book is
Reporters Don't Hate You: 100+ Amazing Media Relation Strategies.
To learn more, visit

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