Archive for ‘News Coverage’:


Campaign Mistakes PR Practitioners Should Learn From

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

by Emma Hawes

iStock_000067828653_Medium

It’s that time of year when you hesitate posting a political gaffe of a candidate in fear that your Facebook page will become a battle ground by posting the article. The truth is election brings out the worst in both parties. Let’s stop fighting for a moment and think about how awesome, and scary, it is that the future of our country is determined by your vote. So not only do your part and vote this election, but do your research over candidates from non-biased sites. It is inevitable that all candidates make mistakes regardless of the party.

 

Cue the music-

If there’s one mistake we see each year, it’s a political candidate or campaign manager who does not ask an artist to use their music. It just backfires and makes the candidate look bad for not doing their research. Even though a musician might share the same political views they may not want to endorse the candidate. Songwriters need to be included too because Sam Moore changed the lyrics of the Sam and Dave hit “Soul Man” to “Dole man” for Bob Dole. However, the songwriter Isaac Hayes demanded a cease and desists where eventually the song wasn’t played. Enter Sam Moore in 2008, when he asked Barack Obama to quit using “Hold On I’m Coming.” His statement included how his vote was a private matter between him and the ballot box.  However, he did perform for Obama later at the 2013 Inaugural Ball.

 

Communication Breakdown

Whatever you say on the Internet is eternal because a screenshot of a deleted post lives forever. That happened to Bernie Sanders when a tweet was sent out that said, “Greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance. These are just some of the adjectives we use to describe Wall Street.” The tweet was deleted because the words were nouns not adjectives. It’s okay if you have to sing a Schoolhouse Rock song while writing to reintegrate basic grammar.

 

Cruz fired his communication director around two weeks after the Iowa Caucus. Lies were spread about Ben Carson suspending his campaign after Cruz won Iowa and Rubio’s religious beliefs. Just creating a lie about the opposing candidate is bad and if issues arise the first time the director should not even have a second chance.

 

When celebrating, don’t get crazy

Before John Kerry won the Democratic ticket in 2004 enter Howard Dean, the man who won the coveted Iowa Caucus. He stated his excitement how he was going to win states then a scream that doomed his political career. Not only does that moment live on YouTube, but Dave Chappelle made a skit, which parodied the scream.

 

Everyone is important

Where does one begin on Donald Trump’s comments about different races and women? His comments about reporter Megyn Kelly is just one of the many numerous comments.  That is not a smart way to pick your battles considering that according to NY Magazine single women are currently the strongest political force.

 

However, during a debate, Ted Cruz stated most Americans could not relate to Trump because he had New York Values. Well Cruz’s mistake was just as bad because it is like calling someone from a rural area in Wyoming a country idiot.

 

Also, as much as you might want to get a certain demographic don’t try to reach out too hard. Hillary Clinton faced flack for the Hispanic community when she posted an article that said “7 ways Hillary Clinton is just like your Abuela.” Soon after the post was made, #notmyabuela became a trending topic on Twitter. Instead, she should have made the post in different languages to reach out to different demographics instead of speaking Spanglish.

Ethics, Leadership and Accuracy: Amy Robach on her 20 Years in Journalism

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
Amy Robach PRSA 2014 BurrellesLuce Crystal DeGoede Public Relations PR Software Press Clipping Media Monitoring

Keynote speaker Roback in a 2008 photo via Wikimedia Commons author Gradient drift

Television news journalist Amy Robach kicked off the PRSA 2014 International Conference as keynote speaker at the opening general session. Robach is known for her role as anchor on Good Morning America and has nearly 20 years of journalism experience. Since joining ABC, she has covered a number of high-profile stories from the Oscar Pistorius trial to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia to the birth of Prince George and a live, televised mammogram that diagnosed her breast cancer. I had the pleasure of attending Amy’s keynote and here are some key takeaways for all PR/Journalism pros.

How do practitioners – especially women – set themselves apart as journalists?

By being the first one in and the last one to leave and having unbridled enthusiasm. Never be afraid to work that triple shift; you have to have the right mindset and mentality to do this job.

How do you set your emotions apart from your work?

As a journalist you experience some of the worst and best things that can happen to a country, a family or and individual.

Why do you think there are some few female leaders and how do you think that can be changed?

In so many corporate cultures it is still a men’s club and it’s hard sometimes for women to be taken seriously. We shouldn’t walk into our boss’s office and say “I’m sorry to disturb you” because we need something. We have to teach ourselves as women that we don’t need to apologize for everything.

Journalists are always asked to get the story fast; how do you handle that and make sure it is accurate?

Speed should never affect accuracy. You have to make sure you are responsible and ethical in the information you are providing.

Discuss a time when ethics came into play and how you handled it.

It was actually a time when I was reporting live from SkyFox helicopter here in Washington, D.C. and we were there to give breaking news for all the morning shows. There was a moment when we were flying over a river and we saw a dead body floating and there was a car parked on the bridge and the folks on the station wanted me to report on this story. And I had learned a long time ago that you never report on suicides or bomb scares. So I turned the camera off and put up the color bars so they couldn’t take the shot.

What advice can you offer for achieving a work-life balance?

It is a constant struggle keeping my family life as good as I want it to be while still doing the best at my job. I put the phone away as soon as I get home, but I do have to check it every thirty minutes or so. I make sure I am there to pick the kids up from school and help them with their homework because I am not there in the mornings. You can be a mom and you can be a working mom.

How do you balance the need for speed and accuracy? Do you find that getting ahead as a woman requires working harder and longer?

Why Images Impact Your Media Measurement

Monday, August 11th, 2014
Images Media Measurement Public Relations Software Media Monitoring BurrellesLuce

Left: early edition Right: Later corrected edition. Image via Twitter user @suttonnick

Last Friday, The Daily Telegraph ran a very lovely picture of the royal family (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their one-year-old son, Prince George) on its front page. Right above that photo ran a story with the headline “Toddlers at risk from extremists.” Someone overlooked the big picture of the layout and – whoops – all but called the Duke and Duchess religious extremists.

The paper quickly fixed the issue in its later edition, but the image survives online and the impact remains. Had you seen the headlined article online, or read a copy of only its text, you certainly wouldn’t have noticed the issue. While images have always been important, it’s the age of Instagram, selfies, and a “pics or it didn’t happen” mentality, so their value and necessity has arguably increased many fold.

So when we as public relations, media relations, or marketing professionals rely solely on a software to send us text and its metadata for media coverage, we’re not only missing the context of that coverage, but we’re missing the full impact that our audience experiences. And it’s an impact that ultimately affects both our outlook and measurements of our efforts.

If there’s an article with a photo of a celebrity with your product, that article will likely generate more interest and a higher action rate than a story without a photo. But if you’re getting media monitoring coverage that doesn’t even deliver the photo to you in the first place, you’re deprived of a driving factor in the article’s impact. Data just doesn’t give you the higher picture, especially if it’s only quantitative.

In a time when brand storytelling becomes more visual, media coverage isn’t just about the words, but the images the words convey and the images that accompany words. So how do you evaluate whether or not your work has an impact if you don’t even see the full scope of your coverage?

That’s why BurrellesLuce provides not only the full text of an article in its print and online forms, but its accompanying images in both forms as well. Because if you don’t know something exists, you can’t measure it, and if you don’t even know what you’re missing, you won’t even know your measurement is incomplete.

PR Insights From Obama’s “Between Two Ferns” Sit-down

Monday, March 17th, 2014

PR Insights from Obama's Between Two Ferns sit-down Ellis Friedman BurrellesLuce Fresh IdeasYou’ve probably already seen President Obama’s appearance last week on “Between Two Ferns,” the satirical interview show hosted by The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis. There to plug the Affordable Care Act, President Obama got a lot of criticism from most corners of the media – not for his message, but for his choice of medium.

Predictably, a lot of pundits proclaimed that the appearance wasn’t “presidential” or “undermined the office of the president.” But regardless of your politics, any good PR pro would have to admit that the White House followed the top tenets of PR and marketing: know your audience, and reach them where they are.

This particular appearance was aimed at Millennials in an effort to get them to sign up for health insurance through healthcare.gov before the March 31 deadline. The President has been publicly advocating for the ACA for many months, but enrollment among young people has lagged. So what’s any good marketing and PR pro to do when a particular audience segment isn’t responding? Reach them where they are.

Which is why Funny or Die was such a savvy choice of platform; it’s a site with noted success in the 18- to 34-year-old male demographic. A lot of the commentators who didn’t “get it” or didn’t like it were, unsurprisingly, not in the target demographic.

Now that the dust has settled from President Obama’s appearance, let’s look at a few PR and marketing takeaways:

First, it’s OK if your medium isn’t universally appealing. There’s a reason it’s called targeting – every target demographic will respond to different things. President Obama’s team knew they were trying to reach an audience who wants to be entertained and doesn’t watch much live TV, so arranging a spot on a live-aired television show would not have adequately reached the target audience.  The Huffington Post reports that 25 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 saw the video, so perhaps the segment isn’t as large as the White House had hoped for, however it’s possible that that segment hadn’t been reached in other, more traditional channels the White House pursued previously.

Take your brand outside its normal realm to reach an elusive audience segment and freshen the message. Doing something unexpected grabs attention, like Beyonce did with her unannounced, iTunes-only album launch, like Red Bull did with the Stratos Space Jump, or Amazon did with its drone delivery testing video. It also helps to use a different platform to reach your audience, as Vladmir Putin did with a New York Times op-ed. President Obama routinely takes his brand to new platforms, as he did in 2012 with a reddit Ask Me Anything.

A more obvious choice of platform would have been Comedy Central’s The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, but by choosing “Between Two Ferns,” the President’s team opted out of the implicit political vibe on the two news comedy shows. This not only helped reach a different portion of the target demographic, but also freshened the message on a very drawn-out issue.

Don’t define success solely by whether people like you; look at your numbers to see if the medium was a successful platform for your message. Sentiment is an excellent way to measure your media coverage, but it’s not the only indicator of success, especially if you’re looking to increase referrals, sales, or enrollment. Look at other key metrics like traffic increase and numbers of sales or referrals. The President’s spot, despite positive and negative segment, was successful in that the video garnered more than 11 million views and traffic to healthcare.gov jumped 40 percent on Tuesday. Whether it was ultimately successful in increasing enrollment remains to be seen.

Do you think President Obama’s platform was a successful one? How do you adapt your platform to your audience?

Issuing Citations: How to Quote Wisely and Accurately

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014
flickr user Gage Skidmore

flickr user Gage Skidmore

A political and media kerfuffle ensued late last week after Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and former Republican presidential candidate, spoke at a Republican conference. Below is his full quote:

If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it, let’s take that discussion all across America because women are far more than Democrats have made them to be.

Soon after, CNN journalist Dana Bash tweeted this:CNN Dana Bash Tweet BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas

Then NBC reporter Kasie Hunt tweeted something similar:NBC Kasie Hunt BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas

These tweets, which did not accurately represent the context or content of Huckabee’s remarks, spurred a number of clarifications and a whole lot of discussion. Even in a political and media issue such as this, there are plenty of takeaways for PR pros:

Be sure of the proper context

Bash’s tweet made it sound like Huckabee said he thinks women are “helpless without Uncle Sugar.” The reality is he accused Democrats of thinking women are “helpless without Uncle Sugar.”

Quoting someone? Triple check you’ve got the context right. Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what we know and what we write, so if you’re quoting anyone, make sure the quote and the surrounding content very clearly state the context of who said what. This is just as important, if not more so, when you’re summarizing in 140 characters or less. If it’s not crystal clear, don’t tweet it.

Tweet Wisely

Especially if you’re live tweeting. As Bash and Hunt both exemplified, tweeting with no or incorrect context leads to backlash and completely derails a conversation, especially if it’s political. Suddenly, the story focused not on what Huckabee said, but on the media getting it wrong (even though it was only two reporters out of hundreds).

PR pros are in a similarly visible field, and this is an era in which out-of-context or ill-thought-out tweets can land you in hot personal and professional waters (as Justine Sacco proved late last year), whether it’s warranted or not. Particularly if it’s your message at stake, or that of your industry, you don’t want the focus to shift from your message or meaning onto a silly mistake.

Edit without losing context

There’s an easy fix to Bash’s tweet. Had it been worded: “At RNC meeting @MikeHuckabee says ‘Dems believe women can’t control their libido w/o birth control,” the problem never would have arisen.

The first way to edit within context: listen fully. This means paying attention and not letting your personal opinion get in the way. Then, distill selectively. Determine what the two or three main points of the quote are and summarize from there. Remember: quotes are not malleable; either it was said, or it wasn’t. Be accurate from the get-go, because issuing clarifications or retractions detracts from credibility.

Quality over speed

The nature of Twitter means that live-tweeting has become not only de rigueur, but practically mandatory not only for journalists, but for people attending anything of note, like awards ceremonies or industry events. It takes a lot of concentration to listen to someone speak while quoting what they said two or three sentences back. Unless it’s expressly necessary and you can be sure you’re representing the quote accurately, be very careful when tweeting of-the-moment.

The demand for immediate tweets is a classic GIGO scenario: it takes our focus off of the importance of what’s being said, places it on being first to tweet it, and disregards sharing quality tweets.  When we put out words that haven’t been verified, checked, or thought-out, it shows.