Tag Archives: Podcasts

Leveraging Your Reputation: Tips for interviewing a guest on your video or podcast

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

I’ve shared tips for creating videos https://h20cooler.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/leveraging-your-reputation-make-your-videos-better/ and podcasts https://h20cooler.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/leveraging-your-reputation-podcasting-for-publicity/ here before, and hopefully you’ve tried those suggestions. So let’s suppose everything is ready to go: your equipment, plan, and ideas. There might be someone who would make an interesting guest for your video or podcast, which would give you a chance to interview him or her. Interviews not only add variety to what you’re creating, but also help you reach out to different kinds of people, even outside the legal profession, which makes them look good and you, too.

Here are some tips for conducting successful interviews, assuming you’ve already done the research about your guest and topic and have already watched or listened to how the pros do it:

1)      Ask open-ended questions. It is tempting to ask questions such as, “Are you happy this case was successful?” But the answer could be a simple “yes” if the person isn’t naturally talkative or doesn’t know that he or she “has to” talk at length. Many people have never done an interview, so you have to guide them with the questions. A better question would be, “How do  you feel about the results of the case?”

2)      Keep the questions short. Ask a question in the simplest way possible. Even if you already know information about the person or the topic that he or she is talking about, there’s no need to prove what you know before you ask the question. Let the interviewee tell the story and share details instead of you. In other words, don’t “frontload” the question with your own knowledge and experience. After all, what’s the point of the interview if you’re going to do most of the talking?

3)      Keep the prepared questions in your pocket. You might want to go through your list to hit everything you want to get out of the person you’re interviewing, but if he or she says something interesting, ask about it and follow up instead of moving on to the next question. Only refer to your prepared questions if you feel that you haven’t covered everything you want. But usually, with effective questioning, you get what you want out of the interview, and there’s no need to even refer to the questions because it’s a natural progression from one idea to another.

4)      Be quiet. It is irritating to the listener or viewer when the interviewer says, “uh-huh,” or audibly reacts in other ways to what the person is saying. Don’t respond with sounds, but instead nod your head to show that you are listening. If you’re doing an audio interview and the interviewee says something funny, smile instead of laughing. The focus of the interview should be the other person, not you.

5)      It’s not about you. People look at famous interviewers on TV and assume that they have to show as much of their personality and intensity as they can, but that is not a good idea because the star of the interview is the other person, not you. If the interview is effective and good information has been revealed, then that will be a great reflection on you anyway.

Have fun, relax, and make the most of the opportunity and guest because you never know where it might lead in your own publicity efforts.


Leveraging Your Reputation: Podcasting for publicity

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and midsize law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs. Reach him at tc@tcpr.net.

A podcast is simply an audio file (mp3) that is posted online that people can listen to on their computers, iPod or phone. So what does it have to do with helping your publicity? It used to be that if you wanted people to know about you, you’d have to appear on a radio show for them to hear you. But with podcasts, you can be heard anywhere, anytime. That means that you can make it convenient for your clients and peers to listen to what you have to say, which is a nice alternative to written communication.

There are many ways to create and post audio online, and what’s great is that you no longer need a home studio to record something. You can do it right on your computer. All that’s required is an audio recording and editing program and a microphone.

Audacity – This is a free audio recording and editing program. Go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net to download it.

Microphones – USB microphones plug right into your computer, so there’s no need for fancy, expensive equipment. A couple of good USB microphones are the Snowball http://www.bluemic.com/snowball/ and Yeti http://www.bluemic.com/yeti/ .

Recorders – If you prefer to not use a microphone, you can use a high-quality handheld recorder. There are many recorders on the market, from expensive to inexpensive, but what’s important is the quality of the recording. A standard audio file is 44Mhz/96kbps or 128kbps, so make sure your recorder has at least that capability.

Hosting – You can host your mp3 files on your website as you would any other file, then post the link on your website, blog, in e-mails, on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of hosting and setting up a system for your audio files, you can use podcasting websites such as Podomatic http://www.podomatic.com or Libsyn http://www.libsyn.com. Their instructions are easy to follow, and you can also create your own podcasting webpage there.

Once you have the tools, just practice what you want to say and do some test recordings. It’s best to keep your podcast short at first, probably no longer than 10 minutes, especially if you think people will be listening on their phones. The important thing is to have good content, and see how people respond.

Reputation management

Tom Ciesielka is President of TC Public Relations (www.tcpr.net). Tom has over 25 years of marketing and public relations experience, working with individual lawyers and mid-sized law firms. He is also a former board member of the Legal Marketing Association in Chicago and has spoken at Chicago Bar Associations CLE programs.  Reach him at tc@tcpr.net

Picture this scenario: A verdict is rendered. The opposing side goes to the media with misleading information about the case. The media reports stories containing this misleading information. Your firm’s and your client’s reputations suffer due to these stories. What do you do?

You roll up your sleeves and get down to business, that’s what. With online news easily accessible and streaming in real-time, the misleading stories have a good chance of popping up first when your firm’s name is typed into a search engine. Take control of your reputation and consider the following crucial steps to enact in order to counter the potential effects of misleading information and bad publicity.


The first step is to find each article that contains the misleading or factually inaccurate information. Using Google News or Yahoo! News is a good starting point. Collect all the articles and compile the reporters’ names and contact information. Often a reporter’s e-mail appears at the bottom of an article. Also, it may be appropriate to go above and beyond tracking the existing stories and research other media outlets where a counter story would be suitable. Think radio, television or podcasts. It never hurts to reach out to media who did not initially cover the story and give them the correct information on your case.


After the media list and reporter contact information has been assembled, we need to tell them what really happened. Consider writing a press release that addresses the misleading points or incorrect information in the story and counter these with the real facts and your own valid assertions and analysis. Sending this release with a personal message to each reporter will help give them all the information they need to write a counter-story. Also, you MUST get the original reporter or his supervisor on the phone to make sure he understands inaccurate information was published and new, correct information is on its way.


It is imperative that you use every medium possible to make your voice heard. Consider social media outreach via your company website, blog, Facebook or Twitter. Make sure all your posts are searchable through Google, Yahoo! and RSS feeds. This increases the likelihood that your story appears first on search engines. Contact other legal blogs about the story and perhaps they will support you in your efforts. It is also a good idea to e-mail all your personal contacts about the issue, clarifying the information currently out there and sending them your press release.

When you’re in the middle of a reputation crisis, it’s essential to act quickly and with integrity. Understand that a story can be negative towards your firm or client but still factual, in which case it’s important to contact the reporter and give valuable information that only you can provide, or your “side’s” analysis. Monitoring and managing your reputation takes some effort, but it pays off when your firm’s or client’s name needs to be clarified or cleared. We’ve all heard the adage “reputation takes a lifetime to build and a moment to destroy,” so roll up your sleeves and take charge today.