Author: George Rafeedie

Telling Your Story: The Importance of Media Training

Telling Your Story: The Importance of Media Training



You’ve carefully crafted your message and now you’re ready to spread the word. Now what?


Unfortunately, the ‘now what’ can be a purgatory for many companies, nonprofit organizations, and public figures’ messages. After identifying what you want to communicate it’s time to figure out how to do so. This is where one of the most vital services a public relations advisor offers comes into play. Media training can greatly add to the effectiveness of a PR campaign and is a must-know for any spokesperson or representative interacting with the media. So what is media training and how can it help you?


Media training often consists of a classroom training session where participants learn strategies to help them successfully communicate during on or off-camera interviews with reporters. There are few people who are completely comfortable being interviewed, which is why it’s so important to prepare yourself or your spokesperson to feel relaxed in a Q&A setting. Media training will teach you how to get your message across to your audience, will provide you with the confidence to answer unexpected questions, and can help you to keep an interview on-track so that your goals for the news segment or radio show are met.


My Industry Is Not On Social Media

Social Media Communications ChannelsThe next time someone tells you, “My industry isn’t on social media,” pause and kindly say:


“The last time someone told me that, I walked out of the room. But I like you guys, so I want to help you see the light.”


Sadly, the last time I had this opportunity, I chickened out.


Actually, the last time I had this opportunity, I should have walked out!


If I hear one more person say, “I’m not on Twitter because I don’t care what you had for breakfast,” I may throw my breakfast up onto my iPad. Or maybe even that person’s Blackberry. (Yes, a little dig.)


We’ve overused the term social media. To our detriment, business leaders of organizations both big and small, have actually listened to the social media hype. But they are still not getting it.


I believe the term “social media” and an even older term “new media” should be banished from our vocabulary. In today’s world, it’s all about content. Content, and good brand stories, aren’t only king, but they are the center of our universe.


“If companies want to engage, learn, share and grow, then they need to develop and share their stories and at least test out all channels of communications – from traditional channels to innovative channels maturing every day.”


Yes, social media channels have content that not all people care about. Like what I had for breakfast and where I “checked in.” But so do traditional channels like TV, print and radio. We learn to block out what we don’t want to hear and consume what is valuable to our lives.


I thought we came a long way over the last few years with the explosion of new communications channels, but some are stuck and will never get out of the mentality that they don’t need to develop and share their story for success. And that’s a shame, because those organizations have great stories to tell and audiences willing to listen. And buy.

Celebrate the Super Mom

Karen Rafeedie Story WriterAs you all should know, today is International Women’s Day. And as I thought about all of the great women that have made this world what it is today, my mind kept going to my wife and how she describes herself on her LinkedIn Profile.
Karen Rafeedie
Creative Director | Writer | Super Mom


We’re fortunate to live in a world today that allows women like my wife to have a choice to pursue a career and be fulfilled professionally, and at the same time have the ability to be the Super Mom that she absolutely is.  My boys and I are truly blessed to have her.


Karen has been fortunate to be employed for ten years for a woman-owned business, Remedy. The leaders of Remedy are Super Moms in their own right. And it’s been amazing seeing Karen keep growing at Remedy while at the same time developing into the incredible mother that she is, doing the things that great mothers do.


So as this day winds down, take a moment and think of a woman or two you can celebrate. Mine was pretty close to home, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

How to be innovative?

How to be innovative?


Marketing Innovators Luncheon Seminar
The Big Marketing Idea is Alive and Well in Chicago
As the Chicago Innovation Awards demonstrate year in and year out, Chicagoans take a backseat to nobody when i…

You need to be curious, not satisfied with the status quo, be a problem solver, and not really be a great manager! Great “one question” and answer from the Chicago Business Marketing Association.

Retainer is a Dirty Word

PR Social Media ActivityA rant. I apologize in advance.


I hate the word retainer. I think the word is used as an excuse when people are scared to spend on consistent communications activity – especially with PR and social media activity.


The word “retainer” should only be used when you pay someone to be “on call” for you at a moment’s notice. They may not do a darn thing in any given month, but when you call, they respond fast. Like in the legal profession. It makes sense to have your law firm “on retainer.” I think.


In PR and social media, as an example, a best practice is to pay a monthly fee for activity – not a “retainer.” The only way you are successful in the long term with PR and social media is when you are consistent over time. When you decide what “over time” means – three months, six months, 12 months…etc. – you then divide the total fee by number of months and you have a monthly fee. Not a retainer – but a monthly fee for consistent communications activity. Which, over time, will pay for itself.


So let’s stop using the word retainer. It’s a dirty word that stops progress.


Whew! I feel better now. Thanks.

Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2011

As the New Year begins many professionals revisit their bookshelves with the intention of finally starting that popular industry-changing bestseller that was purchased with good intentions 6 months ago (you know who you are). Therefore, it’s no surprise that setting a goal to read more often is one of the most popular resolutions made this time of year. But can a simple promise to yourself help get you ahead in the workplace? Our team at Tell Your Story believes so.   In our field we’re used staying up-to-date on industry trends through social media avenues like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Reader. However, sitting down to read an entire book on a particular topic is a much different experience. Books have the ability to alter the way we see our industry and educate us in a way we haven’t experienced since the last time we were in a classroom.   Here’s a list of books...

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We Love Holiday Letters!

Social PR HolidaysWe wish we received more holiday letters. Who wouldn’t? We love them. That’s why we put our own letter together highlighting how far we’ve come in the past year.Back in December 2010, we first incorporated Tell Your Story Brand Communications Inc. with a purpose to “make things happen for people so they can be happier and more successful.”


Too lofty of a purpose for a tiny, little agency? We don’t think so.


We’ve been inspired by “purpose-driven branding” thinking from Eduardo Conrado at rel=”nofollow”Motorola Solutions and Roy Spence, author of It’s Not What You Sell, It’s What You Stand For. We saw them both speak in May at the National Business Marketing Association Conference in Chicago. If you ever get the chance, hear them speak.


We believe that thinking about your own personal purpose and the purpose of your business leads to inspiring work that really helps people grow professionally and personally. And we’ve put that thinking to action for several clients this year.


For Daymarck, a medical coding company in the home care industry, we help them communicate how they want to improve healthcare in this country by enhancing home care – one medical code at a time. We attended two of their trade shows in July in San Diego and in October in Vegas. We are an integral part of their team spreading the word and helping them grow.


For transportation company OnRamp Transportation Services and its service company Equinox, we developed emotionally-relevant communications (visual and verbal) communicating how they exist to help independent, hard-working truckers succeed in the rough world of driving a truck. We traveled with them to Dallas in August (Great American Trucking Show), to Ohio in July and to Indianapolis in September helping them share their story to the industry.


Social PR Manager

For drywall and plaster installer, Trinity Drywall, we hit on a key attribute they posses that is valued above all else by their customer, the general contractor. We helped them emotionally talk about how they help contractors “push the job” by eliminating “obstacles” that are ever-present on a job site. We traveled to their location in Fort Worth in February to meet with executives and nail down their messaging to the marketplace.


For DuPage Medical Group, a Chicago area physician’s group, who is looking to attract the best and brightest doctors from across the country to practice there, we developed an independent-minded and pointed advertisement appealing to the traits and wants/needs of this target audience. Didn’t have to travel far for that one.


For ifbyphone, a short cab ride away from our downtown Chicago offices, we conducted a social media audit in November and gave recommendations on how they can spread the word of their technology and point-of-view through various traditional PR and social media channels more effectively.


And in the pipeline for 2012 (cross your fingers for us) is a well-known career site and service, a major office equipment provider, a Chicago-based novelty candy company and many more.


As we continue our story into 2012 and beyond, we’ll always try to stay true to our purpose of making things happen so we can all be happier and more successful. If you are ready for a tiny little agency with a big purpose, give us a ring.


Please have a very Merry Christmas and wonderful Holiday Season and New Year.


The Tell Your Story Team


P.S. Enjoy this video of holiday lights taken in a suburb of Chicago in Wilmette, IL. As George’s son states, “It’s amazing!”