What's worse than a crisis at your company? A crisis with no crisis communications plan.
As we have counseled clients and here in The Mack Report, you really don't want to make a crisis worse by failing to address your communications needs while also trying to deal with the crisis itself. That's why a crisis communication plan can be worth its weight in gold.
A crisis communications plan starts with making sure you've identified the key players who will address the media and have all of their contact information available. In addition, you need to consider any or all of the following:
The beginning of the year is a good time to reassess your press kit to make sure all of the information is accurate. Here are a few of the more typical items that may need attention:
If one of your media relations New Year's resolution is to issue more press releases this year, you might be wondering just when is a good time to send out a press release? The usual response is something like, "When you have something to announce to the public."
True enough, but how do you know when that "something" is newsworthy? Frankly, it's tough. News judgment is going to differ from editor to editor. But, if you think that enough clients, customers and investors would benefit by knowing what you have to say, you're on the right path.
To give you a little more inspiration, here are 10 reasons to issue a press release. Ponder each of these in the context of your business or organization to see how they can apply to you:
The best press conference is the one that results in the best press coverage, in terms of both number and tone of stories.
What many people overlook are the details that it takes to get those results. Follow these eight steps and you'll improve your odds tremendously.
1. Select a newsworthy topic. The Media aren't there to promote you. They want news.
2. Choose a good backdrop. Holding a press conference on location (in front of the school, in a classroom) is almost always more effective than a conference room.
If you were looking for one thing to improve the chances that your press release will get read and picked up by an editor or reporter, look no further than the headline.
Let's face it. Headlines are like the cover of a book, which we really do use to judge what's written inside. Headlines can grab our attention. They can pique our interest. They can compel us to keep reading. Or not. So, how do you make the headline more effective?
Much of what passes as news these days is a recitation of events and what people say about them.
In other words, a local fire causes heavy damage and a neighbor comments about the loss; the City Council passes an ordinance and a store owner comments on what it means to her; an elected official makes a speech and someone from the other party offers an opposing viewpoint.
What reporters need
While readers and listeners may benefit from comments like these, what's often missing in today's news cycle is good, effective and well reasoned interpretation of the news. Reporters are constantly on the lookout for effective thought leaders who can add a unique perspective on events or trends. The need is even more apparent when it comes to breaking news.
Are you in a rut when it comes to the words you use in a press release or statement? You may be and don't even realize it.
Take this article about overused buzz words in press releases. A special website that analyzes press releases found that "leading" and "solution" were the words that were used most often. Other overused terms include "great," "unique" and "best."
Sure, it's tempting to argue that those words may be just the right ones to convey your message. But, can't we at least try to be a little innovative? Sorry, "innovate" also ranked high on the list of overused words.
The "solution" here is to at least recognize the problem. Then, you have a chance to overcome the problem. Being aware of the issue is half the battle. Then, stretch yourself. Take an extra moment to find something other than "dynamic" or "premier." It just might lead you in a new direction.
For effective press releases and strategic thinking, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's easy to convince yourself of either of two realities: that everyone wants to cover your story or that no one wants to cover it.
Both are probably wrong.
In the first case, no matter how compelling you think your press release or event may be, chances are not every member of the media is convinced. News is like that.
In the second case, no matter how many doubts you may have about the news value of your story, chances are at least one media outlet will be willing to report it. News is like that, too.
So, stop talking yourself out of sending out a press release or advisory. You never know who will show up or call for a quote. What should you do?
Press kits are not always necessary. In many cases, a simple press release will suffice. But when the issue is a bit more complicated than usual, when you want to brand your event or when you're involed in an extended media campaign, a press kit becomes invaluable.
Press kits can be distributed at press conferences or one-on-one interviews. They can be mailed to a reporter ahead of an event to bring him or her up to speed on the issue. They can also be adapted for editorial board sessions, giving the editors the materials they need to understand and, ultimately, support your position or issue. But don't stop there. Go digital.
The next time you write a press release, don't write just one. Considering writing several, each one with a different twist or variation on the same theme.
A press release can be revised to fit multiple niche media outlets. With all of the websites, blogs and social media pages available today, your message can be targeted to the perspective or point of view of those sites.