Editor’s Corner: PR Disasters! Why a Crisis Comm Plan is Critical

October 20, 2011
by Fawzy Zablah, Editor, Business Wire/Florida

by Fawzy Zablah, Editor, BW Florida

Ever since “the father of modern public relations,” Ivy Lee, sent out what most consider the first press release following the 1906 Atlantic City train wreck, companies, individuals, governments and news agencies have participated in an unofficial competition to win what I call “the best told story contest.” It’s a race that is not won by the “best story” per se, but the victor is usually either the first to get there, truth-tellers, or the best re-arranger of reality. It’s a race that must be run whether you own a newly opened restaurant or a tech company.

Let’s travel to more modern times, and take as an example the most recent Blackberry outage issues which have turned out to be a PR nightmare for Research in Motion (RIM). During a crisis, a company should never have a slow response because it shows a lack of control over the situation. And even if the situation is not under control, your PR assault should always confidently be the first to storm the beach.

These days, companies need to be aware of how critical it is to have a quick line of communication with customers, whether through issuing press releases regarding recent events or via direct statements to the press. A company always has to appear like it’s in control as far as good PR is concerned, even if it isn’t. Ivy Lee knew that as soon as word got out of the Atlantic City train wreck, rumors would swirl, the story would grow legs of its own and it would no longer be his client’s story. That’s why the first rule of crisis management is to communicate. The beginning of the crisis is the most critical period, and it sets the tone for the rest of the incident.

So let’s finish this crisis management lesson with thoughts Ivy Lee espoused so long ago, and which are now a golden rule of PR: “Tell the truth, because sooner or later the public will find out anyway. And if the public doesn’t like what you are doing, change your policies and bring them into line with what people want.”

With 31 bureaus around the world and more newsrooms than all of our competitors combined, Business Wire is proud to provide local expertise and superior service, backed by the most accurate editors in the world. In Editor’s Corner, we ask some of our best to chime in on how to get the most out of your press release, based on their years of experience in the industry.


Upcoming Business Wire Events: Powerful Pitches in Cleveland, Crisis Comm in Florida, Meet the Tech Media in LA

March 21, 2011

Upcoming Business Wire Events

Powerful Pitches

Hosted by Business Wire Cleveland

Just about everything in a communications professional’s life involves some form of pitching. A successful pitch involves a great deal of persuasion and creativity. Join Business Wire Cleveland for a breakfast seminar featuring Jim Kukral, web entrepreneur, blogger, professional speaker, educator and author of two books – Attention! This Book Will Make You Money and The Ultimate Pitch. Jim will draw from his years of experience counseling major corporations, entrepreneurs and small businesses to provide you with the tools and inspiration to prepare powerful pitches that will grab attention and help you accomplish your goals. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, March 24 at 8:00 a.m. ET
The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44114

To register: Please RSVP to Melissa Chambers at melissa.chambers@businesswire.com

CRISIS! Expect the Unexpected: Plan, Manage, & Respond

Hosted by Business Wire Florida

Join Business Wire Florida & JM Family Enterprises, Inc. for this in-depth panel discussion with South Florida media and crisis communications experts. Amy Wagner, former SVP of Investor Relations and Global Communications of Burger King Corp hosts the panel, which includes Laura Vann, Public Relations Specialist, Lynn University Marketing and Communication; Don Silver, Chief Operating Officer, Boardroom Communications; Elianne Gonzalez, Hispanic Press Officer, Insurance Information Institute; and Wayne K. Roustan, General Assignment Reporter, South Florida Sun Sentinel. This event is free for all attendees.

Wednesday, March 30 at 11:30 a.m. ET
JM Family Enterprises Inc.

111 Jim Moran Blvd., Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

To register: Please RSVP by Friday, March 25 to Julia Sotelo at Julia.Sotelo@businesswire.com or call 954-474-8833.

Meet the Media: LA-area Technology Journalists Discuss Reporting Trends and how to Pitch Tech Media

Hosted by Business Wire LA

Join Business Wire LA for breakfast and a panel discussion featuring technology journalists as they share their thoughts on what makes a good story and learn how your organization can increase its chances of being covered by the media. Panelists include: Natalie Jarvey, Reporter (Technology), Los Angeles Business Journal; Kevin Kelly, Features Editor, G4tv.com; and Brian Deagon, Business and Technology Journalist, Investor’s Business Daily. This event is free for all attendees.

Thursday, March 31 at 8:00 a.m. PT
The Olympic Collection
11301 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

To register: Please RSVP by March 29 to Garrett Henricksen or Heather Hardge at (310) 820-9473 or email larsvp@businesswire.com.


Business Wire holds dozens of local events every year. We bring local media members and industry thought leaders to your market to discuss today’s most relevant topics, from trends in today’s newsrooms to writing for SEO. Events are usually free of charge to members. For more upcoming local Business Wire events or to see what’s coming up in our award-winning webinar series, visit BusinessWire.com. Follow live updates from Business Wire events on Twitter: hash tag
#bwevents


Business Wire Responds to Client Demand with Launch of Online Newsroom and Investor Relations Website Solutions

July 19, 2010

by Ibrey Woodall, VP of Web Communications Services, Business Wire Florida

Ibrey Woodall

BW VP of Web Communications Ibrey Woodall

In response to multiple client requests, Business Wire announced the upcoming August launch of the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center solutions. The new products complement Business Wire’s current suite of services, improving communication and constructing an enhanced workflow for communications strategies and investor outreach.

NewsHQ and InvestorHQ are often referred to as microsites. Microsites are auxiliary websites that cater to specific needs and interests. NewsHQ and InvestorHQ were developed specifically to help corporate communicators and investor relations officers house and maintain information for a myriad of audiences, including journalists, bloggers, investors, consumers, analysts, key influencers and others.NewsHQ-InvestorHQ

There are many benefits to employing these content management solutions. One of the main reasons the online newsroom came into existence was because public relations representatives were having a hard time getting cooperation from their technical, or IT department, when they needed a press release posted quickly. Investor relations officers also needed a means by which they could get the most recent financial news and data to their company’s investors and analysts.

So, control was an initiating factor for this technological evolution. Communicators needed to be able to post and organize content in a timely manner. They needed to be able to get their message on their website, and delivered directly to those who were interested in their organization.

NewsHQ and InvestorHQ are tools that enable communications professionals to edit and manage the overall functionality of the website, without having to acquire complex technology skills. Posting content to the site is as easy as using word processing functions such as bold, italic, underline or upload image.

The NewsHQ and InvestorHQ solutions also make it much easier for those interested to research the status, history, and news of an organization. All of your company’s press releases, photographs, executive biographies, SEC filings, quarterly and annual reports, relevant stock and background information, along with other components can be accessed and downloaded from one central location – a headquarters – no matter where the site visitor resides. Journalists, investors and analysts expect this convenience 24 hours a day. They do not want to wait for the communicator to “get back to them.”

Search engine optimization is important in every communications campaign. The goal is to optimize your content to gain a higher ranking within search results. The ability to create links and URLs, and add keywords and tags are available within both the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center. These features will help strengthen your SEO efforts.

Business Wire’s clients will truly see a return on investment with the NewsHQ and InvestorHQ solutions. Simultaneous posting of formatted Business Wire press releases into your online newsroom and investor center, along with streamlined email and SMS alert distribution, and automatic placement of press releases onto your company’s social networking sites, reduces the amount of steps you have to take to post and distribute content. ROI is also realized with the simple equation of placing a dollar figure on the amount of time you spend answering the same questions over, and over, and over again.

If you are interested in learning more about the NewsHQ online newsroom and InvestorHQ investor center, please email HQ@businesswire.com.


Social Media for Crisis Communications

December 9, 2009

PR practitioners — the good ones — know that having a crisis communications plan in place for their companies or clients is a key part of best practices.  And, as with pretty much every aspect of communications today, social media is making an impact here as well.  Thomas Crampton of Ogilvy PR’s 360 Digital Influence recently moderated a panel discussing both the effect of social media in creating a PR crisis, and the use of those same tools to manage, mitigate and recover.

As an indicator of how quickly things change in the web and social media worlds, take a look at slide 17, which shows “Search” as a factor in spreading buzz in hour 24 of a crisis.  That was accurate at the time this panel was conducted; as of Monday, with the announcement of Google real-time search results, “Search” has moved from hour 24 to hour 1. 

The implication here is pretty clear:  If you aren’t out in front of potential (or actual!) bad PR, someone else will be, and they’ll be doing it online where the results are searchable.  Dialogue and transparency are crucial, as is an official statement from your company that reaches customers and potential customers everywhere.

Check out the whole slide show for some more insights and a great framework for creating your own crisis communications plan.


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