My name is David Johnson, CEO and Founder of Strategic Vision PR Group specializing in public relations, branding, crisis management, and public affairs for businesses that tell your story and reach your audience. Ask Me Anything

David Johnson_ATL
May 10, 2018

David E. Johnson is the CEO and founder of Strategic Vision PR Group.  With over 20 years of experience, he is a PR industry leader who specializes in media relations, crisis, communications, branding, and reputation management.  He drives client strategy and has been integral in leading the firm forward since its founding in 2001 during the aftermath of 9/11.  He has been described as a PR guru extraordinaire and the go-to person for crisis communications by the news media.

Johnson’s public relations and communications experience developed with experience working for various trade associations and governmental agencies in Florida.  In the late 1990s, he was employed with one of Atlanta’s top public relations agencies where he oversaw a diverse client portfolio that included accounts in the architectural, legal hospitality, education, non-profit, lifestyle, sports, technology, real estate, and healthcare professions.

Johnson is regularly sought out by the media for his intricate expertise and knowledge of the public relations industry.  He has appeared on CNN, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, ESPN, CNBC, CBS This Morning, and the Today Show, as well as in publications such as People, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, PR Week, PR Daily, E-Commerce Times, Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Hollywood Life, and serves as a frequent contributor for, Brilliant Results Magazine, Bulldog Reporter’s Daily Dog, and Alister & Paine.  He was named as one of the top 500 Influencers by Campaigns & Elections Magazine for 2013.

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What tools do you recommend for PR professionals; both for those who are starting out and industry veterans?

May 16, 3:45PM EDT0

The most critical is to have a good media database, I prefer Cision.  Second a good IT person. A good web person.  Membership in PRSA.  These are keys

May 16, 3:52PM EDT0
What is the one behavior or trait that you have seen derail more leaders’ careers?
May 16, 1:40PM EDT0

The number one behavior trait that I have observed derail leader's careers is arrogance

May 16, 3:54PM EDT0
Why is good communication skills vital for a CEO?
May 16, 7:24AM EDT0
What are your 3 biggest professional accomplishments?
May 15, 8:49PM EDT1
What impact has social networking and Web 2.0 made on your organization or you personally?
May 15, 6:57PM EDT0

It has been tremendous and very critical in the success of my organization.

May 16, 3:55PM EDT0
What are a few resources you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
May 15, 2:41AM EDT0

I would recommend finding a mentor and shadowing that person and learning their techniques in leadership.

May 16, 3:41PM EDT0
What role do you see for PR in fostering quality relationships with an organisation’s audience?
May 12, 9:03AM EDT0

It has a critical role.  PR should convey an organization's story, values, and goals with its audience.  It needs to be transparent and honest to create a quality and lasting relationship.  It is far more than just media relations and press releases, a good PR plan includes community outreach and involvement letting people know what the company and its employees care about and believe.  A good PR plan fosters a genuine and lasting two way communication with the audience.

May 16, 3:44PM EDT0
What things do you consider when creating a PR plan to avoid creating a PR fail moment?
May 12, 12:09AM EDT0

One of the most important things to consider when creating a PR plan to avoid creating a PR fail moment is to antiticpate potential trouble an organization could face and develop a crisis management plan.  This means mapping out various scenarios that an organization could face and developing a basic response plan.  Far too often, when doing a PR plan the focus is always on the positive and crisis communications is never considered.  I always recommend developing a basic crisis plan with the overall PR plan taht includes identifying spokespersons for the crisis, how an organization should answer the phone, what key players should be involved in crafting the message, along with including a social media component.  The biggest fail in PR organizations often face is not including a crisis management plan in their overall PR plan which means when a crisis hits, they lose several cycles of news.

May 14, 12:48PM EDT0
How do you know when to sound the alarm of a major communications crisis vs. less severe issue?
May 11, 11:37PM EDT0

Any crisis with social media and the 24/7 news cycle can be severe.  In determing between a major crisis versus a less severe, I recommend considering who is affected, is it a local, national, or even international issues, is a loss of of life involved, or criminal action.

May 14, 12:51PM EDT0
Where do you get your database or leads on the prospective clients who might be looking for PR assistance?
May 11, 9:06PM EDT0

We get them from a variety of sources - word of mouth from existing or previous clients, recommendations from members of the media, trade shows we attend, and finally networking.

May 14, 12:49PM EDT0
What do you think the role and responsibility of the PR person at the pre-crisis and post-crisis phases of the business?
May 11, 3:56PM EDT0

The rold and responsibility of the PR person at the pre-crisis phase of business is to evaluate potential areas of crisis, develop a basic plan on how the business should respond to a potential crisis, identify the spokespersons, and develop a plan for when the crisis hits.  After the crisis, teh PR person should evaluate how it was handled, what was handled well and not well, and how to move the business forward.

May 16, 3:48PM EDT0
What type of communication protocols do you use to assess risk on a regular basis?
May 11, 9:48AM EDT0
What do you consider as the most beneficial types of media in terms of reachability?
May 11, 8:44AM EDT0

Radio still has the largest audience based upon ratings.  In terms of being effective and seeing the greatest ROI, it is television or a story in a top tier publication.  Those can be repurposed and used in numerous ways to assist in marketing and often have a long shelf life and SEO ability.

May 16, 3:50PM EDT0
How do you stay ahead of the news cycle in today's digital era?
May 11, 6:09AM EDT0

Social media and the 24/7 news cycle has changed everything in terms of public relations.  The best way to stay ahead is to monitor the news and anticipate trends.  Monitoring news out of Washington, DC, New York, NY, and Los Angeles, CA is the best way to see what will become major news and trends moving forward.

May 14, 12:55PM EDT0
Should PR play an active role in driving employee advocacy? What are your views on it?
May 11, 3:45AM EDT0

Employee social advocacy is a critical way for brands to reach new audiences in a genuine way.  PR should play a role in developing guiedelines to be used for employees who want to participate, developing content, and monitoring the effectiveness of the program.

May 16, 4:03PM EDT0
In the PR industry, what is a pseudo-event and how is it useful for promotions? Have you used it till date?
May 11, 12:50AM EDT0

It is s an event or activity conducted for the purpose of media publicity. It may also include any event that is covered in the mass media or was hosted largely with the media in mind.

Yes we have done numerous ones.  We have done pressconferences, a cell phone jamming demonstration, book launch parties, and speeches all designed for media coverage.

May 14, 1:04PM EDT0
What steps would you immediately take following the realization that your company has a social media crisis?
May 10, 5:04PM EDT1

The immediate steps is to quickly ascertain all the facts and issue an immediate response that includes both social media and traditional media.  Too often companies respond to a social media crisis by responding to traditional media queries but overlooking social media even though that is where the crisis erupted.

May 14, 1:27PM EDT0

How much can a company working with a PR firm such as yours expect to pay and what benefits do PR firms in general offer that can't be done by a company in-house?

May 10, 3:31PM EDT0

Typically a company utilizing a PR firm like Strategic Vision can anticipate paying between $1000 to $5000 a month.  There are numerous benefits in using a PR agency versus doing it in house.  

The first reason that comes to mind is cost in money and time. In business everything revolves around the bottom line. In this alone it is smarter to retain a public relations agency. Public relations is not just press releases, press conferences, and media appearances. It also includes the social media aspect of maintaining a company’s blog, Twitter and Facebook page. This would require several salaried people. In terms of salary alone, you are losing out as with a retainer with a public relations agency you have a team of professionals on your account that handle each aspect of that public relations campaign. For small and medium sized organizations the savings is even greater. Not only are you saving money, you are saving time and remember time is money. There are not enough hours in the day for a small or medium sized business to do everything that needs to be done. And time away from your core business means lost opportunities. In retaining a public relations agency, you have their team assigned to your account handling your social media, your media coverage, your branding, and your press releases while you do what you do best – run your business.

Just as you go to a doctor or a lawyer because of their expertise that is yet another reason to hire an outside public relations service provider. Just as you are the expert in your field, the personnel at a public relations agency are the experts in their field. They bring their expertise in writing, in social media, media relations, branding, and special events to the plate. They know public relations. They know how to position a client for the maximum exposure. They have the contacts with the media. They know which reporters will cover which topics and also how to package a story that the media wants. Many people think of an interview in terms of sales, it isn’t. If a reporter suspects someone is just trying to sell them something through their story it will never see the light of day. An experiences public relations expert knows how to package a story so that it is newsworthy to the reporter while still being of marketing benefit to a client.

Public relations agencies know to think of all public relations contingencies including when disaster strikes a client and how to begin planning for any event. Businesses always have a plan for when a crisis strikes in how to handle things except in the terms of publicity. Working with an agency means a preliminary crisis communications plan has been developed beforehand that can then be altered to fit the crisis. Agency personnel have the skills and experience to objectively evaluate your business, clearly assess its strengths and weaknesses, and figure out how to use them in crisis communications.

Public relations agencies are familiar with and use all of the public relations tools available to generate attention for their clients. These tools include pitches, press releases, media kits, media interviews, seminars, webinars, social media, ezines, and more. Many people don’t know the difference between a media pitch and a press release. A press release has a definite format and conventional style. It’s written in a journalistic tone and is on specific news be it a new hire, a new product launch, or any specific related news. A media pitch, on the other hand, has the main objective of catching a reporter’s attention — enough to want to call you for an interview, product demonstration, or whatever call to action you’ve indicated. It has all the most important information, but not all the details. It isn’t a complete story. Rather it’s a teaser for a story. A public relations agency knows the difference and how to use both to their client’s benefit. Finally many unless they are with a public relations agency don’t understand the importance of a media kit. A media kit includes information on a company, product or service, includes FAQ’s, bios of key company personnel, pictures that can be used in news stories, and a sampling of previous media coverage. It is essential to any public relations campaign. Unknown to many is the fact that if you don’t have a media kit, most of the major media won’t touch you. The major media grades potential guests and interviews on a scale of 1 to 10 without a media kit, you don’t get beyond one. A public relations agency knows how to develop and constantly maintain a media kit.

There are other reasons to work with an outside agency. By bringing in someone from the outside you are bringing in someone who can be more objective and doesn’t have the emotional commitment and blinders that an owner or company employee has. A public relations agency tends to be more creative in developing story ideas and teasers to induce the media and can think outside the corporate box. An agency constantly monitors the news and often sees opportunities that others don’t. For example our company represented a marriage counselor and when the Eliot Spitzer story broke, went into pitching mode to have our client discuss why powerful men cheat which resulted in coverage on CNN, HLN, and Oprah. An agency knows how to make use of the news to a client’s benefit.

The answer to whether you need an outside public relations vendor is quite simple. Yes. An outside public relations agency saves money and time, they have the expertise, they know how to employ the tools needed for your public relations campaign to succeed and having them do the public relations allows you to do what you do best – your business.

May 14, 1:01PM EDT1
What would you say are the basic requirements of a company/project or businesses to ensure successful publicity?
May 10, 1:09PM EDT0

The most important things to achieve successful publicity are to have clear goals of what you are seeking to achieve with PR and to know the story that you wnat to convey.  Too often companies start a PR acmpaign but are not certain of what they are seeking from the PR.  It is also important to realize that PR does not equals sales.  PR assists in marketing efforts by increasing visibility of a company but in itself is not a sales tool.

May 14, 12:59PM EDT0
How do you think PRs can benefit from incorporating social media into their workflow? Any specific example or experience?
May 10, 10:58AM EDT0
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