SunStar Strategic is a full-service PR and marketing firm. We have a deep, long-standing practice in the financial services sector, an area where we continue to excel.
SunStar arranges frequent full media days in New York City, meeting with top-tier journalists resulting in broadcast, print and online coverage.
Our account executives have spent years building long-term relationships with financial and national news outlets and publications, journalists and television personalities. Clients benefit from these efforts and a SunStar Media Tour, the hallmark of our process, typically consists of 4-6 personal meetings with reporters and journalists in the top of the field. These meetings typically result in quality placements in well-known publications and media outlets showcasing our clients as thought leaders in the industry.
Following a recent media tour in New York City, we interviewed one of our account executives who had this to say:
What went well/ what could have gone better?
We had planned a full day with five meetings with journalists. Around 6 pm the night before the tour, I got a call that one of the meetings had been canceled. I immediately reached out to my co-worker, Bob Tebeleff, and together – for the next few hours - we worked the phones and sent emails trying to fill that slot. Relying on great relationships we’ve nurtured over the years, we were able to book another reporter at the same publication who had an opening.
But, when it rains, it pours: On the day of the media tour, while we were in a meeting, my phone dinged me with an email that my client was going to be bumped from his TV interview. I excused myself from the meeting, and after a bit of negotiating, arranged for the interview to take place remotely from my client’s home state the following day.
Are two cancellations normal for a media tour?
Cancellations aren’t unheard of because the news is constantly changing. It’s the nature of the business and sometimes a client gets bumped for a news story. To have two meetings out of five have to be rearranged at the last minute isn’t typical but, it does happen. When it does, we pull out all the stops and work to find a resolution.
What stands out for you from the day?
We both noticed that everyone was remarkably friendly, which is very odd given New York City’s reputation! My client and I both commented on it. Everyone, from the people checking us in, to the reporters conducting the interviews, was happy and friendly. We’re used to people being very focused and rushed for time so it was a really nice change. It was great for building rapport and I think the interviews went even better because of it. My client was relaxed and developed relationships, which resulted in more dynamic interviews.
How does SunStar help its clients prepare for a day of interviews?
It depends on each client and each meeting. We usually know what the reporters want to talk about so we’re able to introduce that and help clients prepare so they’re not going in blind – especially for a television interview where if they’re caught off guard it might be more obvious. Like all my colleagues, I do my homework upfront and share my insights with my clients to help them get the most of their interview opportunity.
Reporters don’t usually throw in “oddball” questions, but it can happen. In those cases, as long as a client remains calm and thinks before answering, it usually goes fine. Because the industry is driven by current events, sometimes TV interviews can be a bit more unpredictable. We might not know the exact particulars of an interview until the producers have their morning meetings. Depending on what’s going on in the world, the focus and direction of the interview could change and I might need to prep my client on the fly to prepare them for a different interview.
Does every interview result in a story?
The live TV appearances do of course, but no, not every interview ends up in print or online. Going in we don’t know what the outcome will be. After it’s over the reporter has to take the story to their editor and/or producer to see if they’ll move forward with it. Even if a story does not appear this time, the reporter now knows our client – and the story may appear at a later date or the reporter may reach out to us for our client’s comments for future assignments.
Did you have an opportunity to “correct” your client on a behavior or something that was said?
Sure, we are coaching all the time – as well as before and after each tour. My client on this tour is a seasoned interviewer and he’s been on many media tours, so coaching is minimal. With a newer client, I might need to remind them to sit up straight, make eye contact or use the reporter’s name. Or, I might have to remind them to stay on message, discussing their mutual fund investing strategy, or mention the fund name. These are typical reminders, both the body and verbal language, of the techniques we teach our clients during our Media Training Bootcamp.
What will you remember from this particular media tour?
I am very proud of our success in filling the canceled interview slots on such short notice, making sure my client got the five meetings we’d planned. The overwhelming friendliness of the day was also rather memorable -it really made for a great day. The overall mood of the day led to more dynamic conversations.
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