November Program Recap
“Protecting Your Client in the Digital Spotlight” with Dontaye Carter
Thursday, November 14, 2019 | 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Florida’s Historic Capitol Museum, Senate Chambers
Presented by Schroeder Communications
- Stories connect and inspire us. Utilize videos and interviews to tell your client’s story.
- Do your homework. Study the analytics of your subject matter to determine your target audience, then tailor your message accordingly.
- Prepare your client to respond. The public typically doesn’t want to hear from PR people, they want to hear from the source. Reiterate silence is not the answer.
- People do business with people they like. Your professional record matters, but so does your character and passion. Don’t be afraid to share that part of your brand.
In the era of the #MeToo movement, sexual harassment and abuse of women has, at times, dominated the national news cycle. Attorneys representing victims have been thrust into the spotlight and are relying on sound PR advice to guide them through the media and public perception waters.
On Thursday, Nov. 14, members of the FPRA Capital Chapter, along with members of the Distinguished Young Gentlemen, of America, Inc. (DYG), had the opportunity to hear from Atlanta area PR mogul Dontaye Carter, Founder and CEO of Carter Media Group. DYG is a mentoring program focused on developing high school minority males into the next generation of effective leaders. Their participation in the FPRA meeting was sponsored by Schroeder Communications. Prior to the general meeting, Carter met with DYG members and college students to share his background and successes, as well as encourage them to reach their full potential. State Rep. Ramon Alexander, co-founder of DYG, introduced Carter.
After a successful, decade-long career as a television news journalist, Carter became the youngest Director of Public Affairs for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office. After utilizing social media to organically and rapidly connect the DA with constituents, he decided to launch his own PR firm.
Among Carter’s clients, lawyers representing the families accusing singer R. Kelly of sexual abuse. According to its website, Carter Media Group specializes in helping attorneys to own their story. The firm did just that when R. Kelly appeared in a national media interview, claiming his innocence. The interview aired on CBS News, in a series of segments. Carter strategically organized press conferences with his attorney clients and the family they represented after each R. Kelly segment. Carter said this helped to keep their story alive and dispel misinformation.
Carter began the meeting by sharing the story of his wife’s paternal ancestor, who, born into slavery, eventually bought his freedom. Because of the former slave’s tenacity, his son became the first African American graduate of Yale University. Carter himself came from very humble beginnings, raised by a single mother. Carter says its stories like these that allow individuals to make emotional connections to people and causes. He encouraged the room of PR professionals and hopefuls to find their target audience and then tell great stories through social media. Carter said understand hashtags and make sure they speak to people. Then, utilize hashtags to help your audience understand the issue or cause. He referenced the #SurvivingRKelly hashtag and how it allowed his firm to connect with people all over the world.
According to Carter, once you launch your message, you have to stay engaged with your audience. He said dive deep into the comment sections on social media. Actively read the comments, respond to them and add links in the comment section with the latest information available, to continue to educate your audience. “The more you can educate people about your cause, the more you can build your following,” Carter said.
Finally, Carter offered another piece of advice: don’t be afraid to show who you are as a person when building your own brand, as well as your firm’s brand. He said when people see how much you care about your family and belief system, they then believe that you will show that same care with them and their cause.
– Shonda Knight, Leon County Sheriff’s Office (Member Since 2017)