When David Meerman Scott was kind enough to let me review his first pass at Real-Time Marketing & PR a few years ago, I remember thinking how amazing some of the stories were in the book. There were case study after case study about how powerful the consumer has become in the age of social media – and how ill-equipped most brands were to deal with issues in real-time. David has since added to the real-time discussion with his Newsjacking book, which further reinforces the need for brands to respond quickly to breaking stories or trending topics, to insert themselves into the news cycle when appropriate to earn incredible brand awareness. [Read more...]
Most magazines (print and online) publish an editorial calendar – a detailed summary of the cover story, feature stories or overall focus of each issue. Weeklies, dailies and quarterlies all provide an incredible amount of detail as far as a year in advance about what they plan to cover in future issues.
The editorial calendar is primarily a vehicle to help the publishing staff of these publications to sell ad space for future issues, since brands are most likely to advertise in an issue that focuses on a topic its core audiences will be most interest in. Over the years, editorial calendars for magazines have also been useful resources for clever PR professionals – useful guides to targeting PR opportunities for clients around major coverage areas. Most major PR software vendors now incorporate publication editorial calendars into their products, further simplifying the process of targeting PR opportunities based on what publications are writing about.
One of the first clients I worked with out of college was a toilet company. Granted the company was the largest international manufacturer of bathroom fixtures – products every house and office in the developed world has a need for. But imagine my enthusiasm as a freshly-minted PR professional, being told I would be working to secure publicity for toilets. I’ll admit, I wasn’t excited at first. Some might be discouraged by such an assignment, but I’ve always believed there’s a good story behind anything.
Maybe it was growing up in the plant business that gave me this perspective. After all, in the plant business, you take some seeds and some cow dung and turn it into something beautiful that people want to pay good money for. I think there’s a parallel behind that experience and the work I do bringing brand stories to life today. No matter how strong the smell of manure, I know I can make it flourish with just the right amount of tender loving care. [Read more...]
I can think of no two worse words in PR than “no comment.” You might as well say “guilty as charged,” because that is how that phrase is most often interpreted. The phrase “no comment” is legalistic and should have no place in the PR lexicon.
Yet, just last week, GOP presidential candidate (and former Speaker of the House) Newt Gingrich uttered these two incriminatory words in response to questions about his personal finances, which include a reported half-million dollar debt to Tiffany & Co. For a man who has been in politics for more than 30 years, he should have known better than to use “no comment.” People who use “no comment” use it because it’s what they have seen on TV and the movies; not those who have had PR pros directing their every professional move since 1978! [Read more...]
As CEO of a software vendor actively involved in developing solutions for PR and Marketing professionals, I am in a unique position to listen to and participate in debates going on around the industry. One such debate which continues to rage is around “Influencers” and influential voices. Are they real? Do they matter? Who are they? And should marketing professionals even care?
Our answer is, “Yes, they matter – a lot.” And they always have. But unfortunately most of the “Influencer” tracking tools in the market ignore some very important ways to find these voices. And that has caused confusion in the market. [Read more...]
Top Five Rules for Crisis Communications and The Brilliance of Aflac’s New Silent Commercial
Aflac recently fired the voice behind their duck, Gilbert Gottfried, for making horrible, off-color remarks about the Japanese after the recent earthquake and tsunami. Not only did Aflac immediately fire Gottfried, they also stopped airing all their TV ads.
In late March, Aflac began airing this brilliant, silent TV commercial. In 30 seconds, this commercial:
- Subtly addresses the firing of Gottfried
- Explains what Aflac offers
- Asks viewers to visit their Facebook page
- Invites people to apply to become the next voice behind the duck
Aflac’s quick, appropriate response has turned what could have been a public relations disaster into an opportunity to re-launch its brand, engage with the public and gain new fans.
Aflac has been successful in navigating this PR firestorm because they followed the “Top Five Rules of Crisis Communications”: