The Court of Public Opinion

What if you woke up one morning to find out you had enemies, lots of them, and you were in for a life-or-death battle? A reporter had said something negative about you in the newspaper or on TV, or someone with an axe to grind had started a rumor about you via Twitter or some other online […]

Social Media Needs Strategy

Before you hire someone to “do” your social media, make sure they have a profound understanding of communications strategy and human behavior. For social media to be effective in your business, it must be a good strategic fit for what you’re trying to accomplish. If you want to use social media in your marketing mix because you […]

15 Common Complaints from Journalists

During my interviews with members of the professional media on the Media Pro Spotlight podcast, I ask for their advice on what people could do better to establish warm relationships with them. Often, this leads to a list of things PR people do to make journalists’ lives a living hell. Following is a list of things […]

What is Public Relations?

At a recent speaking gig, I asked for a show of hands of who in the audience used public relations in their business. Out of a crowd of around 100 people, about 20 hands went up, and so did my eyebrows. In actuality, the room should have been a sea of waving arms. Every business […]

You Must Have an Online Platform

My brother forwarded to me on Facebook recently the YouTube video of singer Michael Young belting out “Unchained Melody” in a voice so boomingly rich and powerful it made me gasp. Aside from my amazement at his surpassing talent, I noticed that, incredibly, people in the subway station walked right past him, tapping away at their cell […]

Is Your Book Ready for an Editor?

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an annual event held in November that challenges writers to draft a 50,000-page novel in 30 days. To achieve that goal, you must write a minimum of 1,667 words a day, which is a tall order, even for accomplished writers. The exercise is meant to develop your ability to […]

Crisis Rule #3: Choose Your Spokespeople Wisely

As you’re developing your crisis communications plan, you must decide who’s going speak on behalf of the organization. Talk about being in the hot seat! This important role should be assigned to someone who’s trained and prepared to interact with, and report to, the media and other key publics during a crisis. Ideally, it’s your CEO or […]

Crisis Rule #2: Admit, Apologize and Sympathize

The story of the 1982 Tylenol crisis is in public relations textbooks as one of the finest examples of a well-handled crisis situation ever.[1] They were first, they were fast, and their primary concern was the public safety. Rather than doing irreparable harm to their brand, they took their place in history as a brand […]

Crisis Rule #1: Be First, Fast, Correct and Consistent

Suppose there’s been an incident that’s destroyed property or has resulted in death or injury—and it’s up to you to do something about it, because (1) Your organization is at fault, or (2) It was a natural or other disaster that happened on your turf. The public safety is always your most important concern, and […]

Crisis is Publicity’s Evil Twin

“Then the shit hit the fan.” John Kenneth Galbraith Crisis creates sleepless nights. It hits you when you least expect it—fire, scandal, management malfeasance, slander, cyber crime, workplace violence, frivolous lawsuits—and just like that, your world is turned upside down and the blood drains out of your face. Before a crisis occurs, if it occurs, […]

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