Sunday, March 30, 2014

Effective crisis communication


A crisis, or a "people-stopping, showstopping event that creates victims" according to crisis communications expert Jim Lukaszewski, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, can create major havoc for an organization. One aspect particularly known to cause hand-wringing for CEOs is the negative media coverage that usually accompanies a crisis.
effective crisis communication

Lukaszewski, however, never worries about the media in a crisis; he instead focuses on the organization's behavior as the perpetrator.

At a recent session that I attended led by Lukaszewski, he outlined his five-step process for effective crisis communication.
  1. Stop the production of victims. Deal with the underlying problem first and address key issues.
  2. Manage the victim dimension. Victims can be people, animals or living systems. Anticipate the dynamics of the victims of the crisis.
  3. Communicate with those people who need to know now. As everyone affected becomes a communicator, it's important to inform and educate them -- particularly employees.
  4. Inform the indirectly affected. This includes people who now have a problem because the organization has a problem, such as interest groups or allies.
  5. Deal with the self-anointed and self-appointed. In today's media environment, everyone can be a reporter -- from a blogger to a journalist to someone with a Facebook account.
Lukaszewski added two core crisis communications best practices that all of us learned in kindergarten -- tell the truth and apologize.

"If you take the path of truth, you get to sleep at night," said Lukaszewski. He also said that numerous times he has noticed that the negative aspects of a crisis often stop happening when the organization authentically apologizes.

Above all, remember what matters in a crisis -- the victims.

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mastering tech content marketing

Mastering Tech Content Marketing
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

What makes something newsworthy


In my work with clients, I always try to find the newsworthy aspects of the information that they want to announce.

what makes a story newsworthy
To assist them in understanding what makes something newsworthy, it helps to take the viewpoint of a news reporter or editor.

I found the following news values list from the University of Utah very useful:
  1. Impact: The significance, importance, or consequence of an event or trend; the greater the consequence, and the larger the number of people for whom an event is important the greater the newsworthiness.
  2. Timeliness: The more recent, the more newsworthy. In some cases, timeliness is relative. An event may have occurred in the past but only have been learned about recently.
  3. Prominence: Occurrences featuring well-known individuals or institutions are newsworthy. Well-knownness may spring either from the power the person or institution possesses – the president, the speaker of the House of Representatives – or from celebrity – the late Princess Diana or fashion designer Gianni Versace.
  4. Proximity: Closeness of the occurrence to the audience may be gauged either geographically – close by events, all other things being equal, are more important than distant ones – or in terms of the assumed values, interest and expectations of the news audience.
  5. The Bizarre: The unusual, unorthodox, or unexpected attracts attention. Boxer Mike Tyson’s disqualification for biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear moves the story from the sports pages and the end of a newscast to the front pages and the top of the newscast.
  6. Conflict: Controversy and open clashes are newsworthy, inviting attention on their own, almost regardless of what the conflict is over. Conflict reveals underlying causes of disagreement between individuals and institutions in a society.
  7. Currency: Occasionally something becomes an idea whose time has come. The matter assumes a life of its own, and for a time assumes momentum in news reportage.
  8. Human Interest: Those stories that have more of an entertainment factor versus any of the above -- not that some of the other news values cannot have an entertainment value.
Consider these news values the next time you're trying to determine the appropriate pitch to a reporter. 

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Business Wire releases 'A Guide to Press Release Optimization'


Major changes in search algorithms in the past couple of years have kept search engine optimizers and public relations professionals on their toes.

press release distribution
Press releases, a key tactic in a public relations professional's toolkit, can have an impact on SEO if done correctly. To advise the public relations, investor relations and communications industries, Business Wire recently issued a guidance report titled "A Guide for Press Release Optimization."

“In recent years we have seen many press releases more focused on SEO keywords and strategically placed links — at the expense of quality content. Our new research report provides a welcome path for PR practitioners to return their focus on quality writing. Well-written press releases with engaging multimedia content continue to be among the most powerful and cost-effective communications tools available. We are thrilled to see that quality writing and quality content are at the top of PR best practices for SEO in 2014,” said Tom Becktold, senior vice president of marketing for Business Wire. 

The report offers the following 10 tips:
  1. Research and learn "real time" user behavior
  2. Make friends with the algorithms
  3. Make format improvements
  4. Use natural links
  5. Press release keywords
  6. Focus on quality content
  7. Always include multimedia
  8. Use social media strategically
  9. Use responsive design for mobile
  10. Choose the proper distribution method
I highly recommend downloading the free guide. Visit visit today.

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Event planning insights from Minnesota community festivals


event planningWith a vibrant community festival scene including the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, the Basilica Block Party and more, Minnesotans love to get together.

Attendees at a recent Minnesota PRSA panel had the opportunity to hear from some local event planning organizers, including:
  • Roseanne Bump, executive director of the St. Paul Winter Carnival and Cinco de Mayo;
  • Sue Evens, executive director of the Grand Avenue Business Association and Grand Old Day;
  • Meghan Gustafson of the Basilica Block Party; and
  • Deb Schaber of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.
While each event draws slightly different audiences, the organizers commented on topics that they do share in common: promotion, social media and sponsorships.

To get the word out about events that draw tens of thousands of people, promotion is key. Public relations is a vital component, but so is advertising and media sponsorships. For the St. Paul Winter Carnival, the St. Paul Pioneer Press is a very important partner due to its ongoing coverage and sponsorship of the St. Paul Pioneer Press Treasure Hunt.

In terms of social media, each event organizer has the approach of going relatively "dark" in the off season. The exception is the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, whose loyal fans are eager to engage in social media all year long. Panelists shared that, while Facebook is their favorite platform, Twitter often has high engagement during the events themselves.

When asked by moderator Beth Pinkney of the 2015 Senior Games about how to handle issues that arise in social media, Sue Evens of Grand Old Day offered her take. "If I hear from more than one person that something is an issue, then it's important and I address it," Evens said.

Schaber said that sponsorships have declined in the eight years that she has worked at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Panelists noted that sponsors look for evidence of sales in considering whether to renew sponsorships or not. Perhaps they would want to look at the impressions they get from being in front of tens of thousands of Minnesotans having a good time together as well.

For a collection of more public relations tips, insights and reflections, buy the book "19 Tips for Successful Public Relations: Insights on Media Relations and Reputation Management" from!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...