Press Releases and Media Relations

Media Climate in 2018

Media training is an essential skill for every entrepreneur and small business owner. A positive relationship with the media can be instrumental to building and managing your brand's reputation. Whether you have a product that needs promotion or a communications crisis; Alchemy Communications media relations training is vital to your business. Our media training provides your team with coaching and practice to deliver your message in a clear, honest and positive voice – even under pressure.

Customizable Press Release Template - Free Download

Our customizable press release template will help you tell your story and get it read and shared. Your goal in writing a press release is to tell your important news to the media and people who are interested in your business. Good press release writing skills will help your news get found, read and shared with people who care about your story.  

Free Seminar: Media Training and Preparation

Free Calgary Media Training Seminar by PR and communications professional, media expert and serial entrepreneur Kathryn Kolaczek, CEO and founder of Alchemy Communications Inc

Speaker Kathryn Kolaczek For Your Next Event


Serial Entrepreneur, Author and CEO Kathryn Kolaczek is a dynamic communicator who engages and entertains audiences while they learn from her expertise launching and managing organizations. Through her agency Alchemy Communications Kathryn has guided small businesses, nonprofits and entrepreneurs to profitability and achieving their goals.

Learn more about Kathryn (Bechthold) Kolaczek on LinkedIn

Keynote Speaker • Trainings • Workshops • Moderator

  • Entrepreneurism: You've Got to Use What You've Got
  • Small Business: Marketing, PR, and Communications
  • Nonprofit: Building Through PR, Marketing and Fundraising
  • StartUps: Funding, Growth and Moving On
  • Mompreneur Life: You Can Run a Business While Running a Family
  • Public Relations: Promoting Your Business or Cause with Strategic PR 
  • Social Media: Managing Your Digital Profile for Business Growth

 Kathryn is available for
consulting, speaking and workshops


Crisis Communications Checklist


The best time to hire a crisis PR team is today, before any public relations disaster has occurred. Hiring a PR team for crisis communications planning may seem expensive: but hiring a PR team after a crisis occurs to clean up the damage is even more expensive. Hiring public relations professionals to develop a crisis communications strategy before tragedy occurs is a smart investment in your company's future.

A crisis is any event that unexpectedly

disrupts your business.

A crisis communications strategy is needed when the unexpected occurs. Your crisis communications plan will be used when a crisis is either a negative event, or something good, but unplanned occurs:

  • your server crashes due to overwhelming response to your new product launch
  • a natural disaster disrupts your long-planned fundraising event
  • political groups take offense to your brand or message
  • a celebrity makes an unexpected positive endorsement of your product or cause

Alchemy Communications works with organizations to both prepare for a crisis before it happens and with businesses that are unexpectedly faced with an event that can damage their reputation and profitability. You can protect your businesses reputation by being prepared for a crisis before it happens. Download our free Crisis Communications Checklist, then customize it before the unexpected occurs.

10 Point Crisis Communication Checklist

  1. Identify Your Crisis Management Team
    Your crisis management team should be experts on the day-to-day management of your business and preferably have training in crisis communications.
  2. Appoint a Crisis Spokesperson
    Your crisis spokesperson can be an internal stakeholder, or an outside PR and media expert. They should have training on working with the media and public, and keeping their cool and staying on message during frustrating circumstances.
  3. Implement Your Interim Messaging
    Before speaking out on a situation take the time to find out the facts. The time-frame to track down events and issue a statement has grown shorter due to the rapid exchange of information on social media. When you don't have the facts, admit it. Never lie to the public. An interim message will convey to the public and media that you are aware, concerned and investigating the event.
  4. Reach Out To Trusted Media Contacts
    Your community has media professionals who have either covered your organization or have an interest in your niche. Make them aware that you are actively working to provide public updates to your crisis and enlist their support on getting your message out.
  5. Activate Your Internal Notification Strategy
    What system have you put in place to keep stakeholders - board, employees, volunteers - aware of unexpected events, and remind them that they are not authorized to speak on behalf of your organization. Identify who is your authorized spokesperson and how to refer information requests to them.
  6. Monitor Traditional and Social Media Channels
    Stay aware of what's being said about the event and by whom, by designating team members to monitor news media and and listening to social media channels.
  7. Establish Your Key Message(s)
    Once you have assessed the situation, create your key messages to update the media and public on your crisis event status.
  8. Audit Pre-Scheduled Social Media Posts
    Many businesses use tool to post pre-planned messages to social media. Identify a social media expert to audit your scheduled social media posts and remove any planned posts that appear insensitive, contradictory or incorrect in light of the current crisis.  There may be a need to delete or update previously posted social media messages.
  9. Evaluate Your Website as a Communications Tool
    The public and media may be visiting your website to get more information on your crisis. Consider whether your crisis messaging needs to be prominently featured on your website.
  10. Review and Update Your Crisis Communications Plan
    Throughout your crisis event review and update your crisis strategy and make sure your plan takes into account how events are unfolding and changing during the crisis. Once your event has passes, conduct an internal audit of your handling of the crisis event and update your crisis communications strategy to reflect what you have learned.

Crisis communications planning should be an ongoing process for your business, with a plan of action ready to implement if the unexpected happens. The last thing your organization needs is a series of public media mistakes and missteps when you are most exposed and vulnerable.

Crisis Communications Checklist: Free Download


Media Interview Blunders to Avoid from a PR Expert


Your social media and PR activity has reached the media: you’ve been contacted by a journalist for an interview.  You know your topic and your message, now you need to prepare for the interview and present yourself as

• professional • knowledgeable • memorable

Digital media has added many opportunities to be interviewed and deliver your message to your target audience. Both interview pros and newcomers can easily be tripped-up by the interview process.  Media and PR expert Kathryn Bechthold has personally given hundreds of media interviews, and trains her clients to avoid making common media interview mistakes.

3 Common Media Interview Blunders

1. Don't use industry jargon

You are being interviewed to talk about a specific topic because your interviewer has researched for an expert on a specific topic, or because you have been pitching your story to the media to get coverage for your new project.  You need to create a key message for this interview.

A key message is the most important thing you want your audience to remember after the interview.

Your key message should be clearly understood and not use industry jargon.  Your job is to prepare for the interview by creating your key message in advance, and practice delivering before the actual interview.

2.  Never go off the record

If you choose to proceed with an off-the-record interview anyway, you should keep the following four tips in mind:

1. Consult with a communications professional – either in your own company, organization, or agency – or with an external firm, preferably one with crisis communications capabilities. You may be unaware of the landmines that exist in your specific case.

2. Consider your relationship with the reporter. Journalists you know well and who have treated you fairly for several years are generally safer risks than reporters you are working with for the first time.

3. Ask the reporter to define exactly what off-the-record means to him or her, preferably in writing.

4. Make any agreements with a reporter in advance of the interview. You can’t say something interesting and then suddenly declare it off the record.

Regardless of any agreement you make, you may still be identified by name as the source. Therefore, the most prudent advice is to remain on-the-record at all times. Even if your name isn’t used, the words a reporter uses to describe your position may make your identity perfectly clear. Unless you’re fully prepared to take that risk, don’t ever speak off-the-record.

3. Always let the interviewer finish their question

In your eagerness to deliver your message to your audience, be careful not to cut the interviewer off before they complete their question. You may be anticipating the wrong question - and give the wrong answer; and you may offend the interviewer and make them hostile to your message. Always listen carefully to the media's question before you deliver your response.

Free eBook:
Media Appearance Preparation and Tip Guide

media interview tips and advice - free ebook
media interview tips and advice - free ebook

TIP: Congratulations: your pitch worked, and you have an interview with a journalist – now what? Download our free ebook: Media Appearance Preparation and Tip Guide filled with PR pro Kathryn Bechthold’s expert advice for media interviews.

Contact Kathryn Bechthold today to schedule media training:

For More Information on Media Relations
Alchemy Communications: 3 Media Training Mistakes to Avoid

Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications
Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications

author: Kathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.

How to Pitch Media Using Twitter


thousands of journalists use Twitter every day to post breaking news stories, comment and share news items, ask for sources for their articles, praise colleagues’ work, or have conversations with each other

~ SHIFT Communications

PR professionals build their business on developing a strong relationship with the media. With our never-ending reliance on social media to find breaking news stories, the media relies on social media to track down trending news. Whether you're a public relations expert or small business owner or an author trying to promote your book: journalists are on Twitter, and they're constantly looking for new and interesting stories, products and people. There are some basic rules you should follow if you're going to use Twitter to pitch the media.

Dos and Don'ts to Pitch the Media on Twitter: 10 Tips from PR and Social Media Pros

1. Look professional before you start trying to make professional connections. ~ SHIFT Communications

2. Find the actual journalist, rather than the publication. ~ Ragan PR

3. Make sure it’s news. ~ PR Daily

4. Don't ask a journalist you're not following to DM you. ~ Mashable

5. Don’t abuse the word “EXCLUSIVE”. ~ PRNewser

6. It helps if the client you are pitching is on Twitter, too. ~ SPIN SUCKS

7. Understand their interests. ~ ADWeek

8. Start by explaining what’s in it for the journalist or blogger. ~ Cision

9. Personalization is key. ~ Command Partners

10. Don't pitch on Twitter - build relationships. ~ Crenshaw Communications

Free Ebook:
Media Preparation and Tip Guide

media interview tips and advice - free ebook
media interview tips and advice - free ebook

TIP: Congratulations: your pitch worked, and you have an interview with a journalist - now what? Download our free ebook: Media Appearance Preparation and Tip Guide filled with PR pro Kathryn Bechthold's expert advice for media interviews.

For More Information on How to Pitch Journalists on Social Media Chicago Tribune: Don't Strike Out With Your Social Media Pitch Social Media Today: 6 Ways to Pitch Journalists on Social Media

Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications
Kathryn Bechthold CEO Alchemy Communications

author: Kathryn Bechthold, Communications expert in Calgary, AB. Owner/CEO of Alchemy Communications Inc.

Press Releases: the Dos and Don’ts

Over the course of the day, journalists receive countless press releases in their inbox, many of which are left unopened or unnoticed. It’s important to make your release stand out from the rest. It should be interesting, easy to follow, factual and packed with usable content and resources that will help the journalist create a newsworthy story. Here is an infographic that outlines some of the major dos and don’ts of press releases.