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This Week in Crisis PR

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Crises – they happen. There seems to be no shortage of brands in crisis mode these days. This week was no exception.

On that note, I’m introducing a new column to highlight the PR crises of the week. I bring you (drum roll, please):

PR Crises of the Week

This week, the list includes:

Papa John’s

As you’ve probably heard by now, John Schnatter, chairman of Papa John’s, resigned following the revelation that he had used a racial slur in a May conference call with the marketing agency Laundry Service.

Per MediaPost, “Ironically, the call was meant to be a role-playing exercise for Schnatter, ‘in an effort to prevent future public-relations snafus,’ following his disastrous November 2017 comments.”

The fallout continued this week, as allegations that Laundry Service was out to extort money in a smear campaign against Schnatter came to light, as reported here by PR Daily.

Then today came stories about the company culture being “sexist” and “toxic.”

There’s sure to be more to come on this story unfolding in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned, PR pros, for lessons to be learned.

MGM Resorts

On Tuesday, news broke that MGM Resorts was suing victims of the mass shooting that took place at its Mandalay Bay property in Oct. 2017. The news created a crisis for the brand, with the hashtag #BoycottMGM now trending.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports, “MGM Resorts International’s public image took a bruising on social media Tuesday after the company filed a federal lawsuit against more than 1,000 Las Vegas mass shooting victims in an effort to avoid liability.”

While CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman said MGM’s lawyers “made a smart legal move,” many question the optics.

“If you make the public think that you’re suing people or their families who are dead or seriously injured, to me that’s a PR disaster,” Klieman said.

It remains to be seen how MGM will respond to the public backlash.

Burberry

Late in the week, Burberry joined the list of major brands in crisis when it was reported that the company burns its excess stock of items to “thwart counterfeiters.”

The news drew an immediate backlash from consumers who feel that not only is it wasteful but socially irresponsible to burn the items, which range from bags to clothes to perfume.

As PR Daily reported, “The fallout could be a big problem for these companies, as data show that consumers increasingly want the brands they buy to stand for positive change in their community.”

Which Crisis Stood Out?

Which crisis stood out for you this week, PR pros? Which brand is doing the best job of handling its crisis? How will the brands apologize and recover? Let’s keep an eye out to see how things shake out for these three brands.

All of this underscores the need for brands to be crisis ready. Get a plan in place BEFORE you need one. Remember that a crisis can happen to ANY brand at ANY time.

Which brand will be next to join the list?

 

 

 

5 Things You Should Never Hear a PR Person Say

PR pros, stop saying these 5 things

Working in public relations, you know you’ll face some challenges. One stumbling block is the preconceived ideas people seem to have about PR practitioners.

Whether this is based on previous experience or simply on the reputation some in PR have as being “spin doctors,” we sometimes battle the stereotypes.

While this can be frustrating to those of us who work hard to ensure we put integrity first, sometimes we have only our fellow public relations people to blame. When they promise what they can’t deliver, it can give us all a bad name. Continue reading 5 Things You Should Never Hear a PR Person Say

You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

writing press release

Here’s a question I see A LOT in the public relations industry. “Are press releases still necessary?”

Now, if you follow me, you’ll know I’m a fan of press releases. My first guest post ever was for PR Daily on this very subject (Enough with the death of the press release already). So, when I hear talk of their demise, I always feel as if it’s coming from someone who’s just tired of writing press releases.

While I DO believe in the value of press releases and reports of its death are greatly exaggerated, the truth is, you don’t always need to write one whenever you have news to announce, as my recent piece for Muck Rack discusses.

But, even if you don’t really need one, it can be valuable to write one anyway. What do I mean? Let me give you an example. Continue reading You May Not NEED a Press Release – But Here’s Why You May Want to Write One Anyway

7 Ways Manufacturing Companies Can Take Advantage of PR

Manufacturing companies need PR, too

If you have a company in the manufacturing or industrial markets, PR may be an element that’s missing from your marketing program. Many companies in these verticals overlook PR because they may feel it won’t be worthwhile for them. They may think, “What in the world do we have to talk to the media about?”

The truth is, a lot! The trick is figuring out the most effective way to leverage PR to make it work for you.

For example, I’ve worked with many companies in these markets who have interesting stories to tell. What they needed help with was unearthing these stories, then figuring out the best channels to use to get them out.

“You need to not only create great content, you need to make sure people see it,” says Jay Scheer of Thomasnet.com. “Too many manufacturing companies seem content waiting and waiting for those prospects to magically find their websites, pick up the phone, and sign on the dotted line.”

Traditionally, manufacturing companies have turned somewhat of a blind eye to marketing and PR. But, “As vendor loyalty erodes in the B2B market, manufacturers find ‘they’re almost having to resell their clients,’” said a recent article in Crain’s Chicago Business.

What PR approaches work for manufacturing businesses?

For manufacturers who want to take advantage of public relations, here are seven ways to get started: Continue reading 7 Ways Manufacturing Companies Can Take Advantage of PR

8 great ways to show reporters some love

how to show journalists some love

Ah, yes, it’s February and you know what that means? Valentine’s Day. Time to show some love to those around you.

If you work with reporters–a key piece of an effective PR effort–why not take advantage of the opportunity by showing them some love? After all, they often express their displeasure at receiving media pitches that aren’t a fit, are filled with jargon and aren’t accompanied by data or images that help tell the story.

So, what can we do to improve our relationships with journalists?

Here are some ways you can make journalists feel special this month and EVERY month

Continue reading 8 great ways to show reporters some love

My Favorite Posts of 2017

My favorite posts of 2017

As I look back on 2017, it’s been a banner year for my business. I’ve done more writing than ever and attracted some great new clients.

What I’ve learned is that when you do what you love, people notice. I love PR—but I’ve always loved writing. So writing about public relations and the disciplines it touches on—content marketing, social media, influencer marketing, email marketing and others—just makes sense. It’s when I’m at my happiest, delving deeper into topics that are of interest to me and my PR brethren.

So, in that spirit, I wanted to share a round-up of my favorite pieces I worked on this year. Continue reading My Favorite Posts of 2017

How to Time Your PR Efforts Over the Holidays

Timing your PR over the holidays

The holidays are indeed upon us.

While timing is always important in PR, trying to get media coverage at this time of year can be especially challenging.

In talking with clients about their imminent PR plans, the holidays have to be taken into consideration. Not only might our audience be tuned out to our news, but many reporters are also out of the office enjoying holiday time with their loved ones. And, adding yet another hurdle, one reporter I just spoke with mentioned that the holiday changes his newspaper’s production schedule.

Considering your schedule, the reporter or publication’s schedule and your target audience’s schedules, PR timing over the holidays can definitely present a conundrum.

So, if you have news you must pitch over the holidays, what’s a PR pro suggest you do? Continue reading How to Time Your PR Efforts Over the Holidays

Can journalists work without social media? Nearly half say no

How much do journalists rely on social media?

You know reporters use social media–but do you know HOW they use it?

Having this insight helps you leverage social platforms to work with journalists more effectively.

Cision’s Global Social Journalism Study, conducted annually, sheds light on how journalists are using social media and how they view its impact on journalistic practices and the profession. Here, we look at some of the findings. Continue reading Can journalists work without social media? Nearly half say no

Top 11 Things I Learned at Content Marketing World

Content Marketing World was this past week. I looked forward to it for months. I went. I learned a lot.

But the highlight for me is the people. Making those face-to-face connections is priceless.

Yes, we live in a digital world. In fact, I was marveling recently at how many people I “know”—but have never met in person, or even spoken to on the phone. While I value those relationships, there is just something about actually being able to make that personal connection with someone.

Content Marketing World

TrackMaven had one of the best vendor booths at this year’s Content Marketing World with its “See What Sticks” marketing target, complete with spaghetti to throw.

Beyond that, here are my top 11 takeaways from my time at #CMWorld: Continue reading Top 11 Things I Learned at Content Marketing World