Tag Archives: Publicity

“Extra, Extra!”

Topic of the Week 14
News Release Tips

The ability to write a news release is one of the most important skills a potential public relations professional should possess. A news release is a PR firm’s opportunity to promote a product, event, or idea that could greatly influence a company or organization. This promotion is defined as a simple document whose primary purpose is the dissemination of information to mass media such as newspapers, broadcast stations, and magazines. Furthermore, many companies has a section devoted to public relations press releases on their official websites. Through news releases, public relations departments can reach both their target audience and the media.

A news release utilizes a simple format to make it easy for media to read and comprehend the most important information regarding the product, event, or idea. A news release consists of a 5WH method: who, what, when, where, why, and how. Who discusses who the news is about and who should be interested in the story. What introduces what the news and its significance is. Where describes where the news is or happened to take place. Where discusses when the event will or did take place. Why shows why the news is newsworthy and why it is happening. Finally, how shows how will this story happen or how will it take place. It is best to follow a news release template when writing releases.

Because being able to write a news release is so vital to the profession of public relations it is critical to understand the proper format in order to ensure editors will use the release in their publications. Here are a few tips to create a successful news release.

1. Don’t skimp on the details
2. Give background information
3. Provide information on photo opportunities
4. No typos
5. Don’t get flowery – avoid excessive use of adjectives and fancy language
6. Make sure the information is newsworthy
7. Make sure story can relate to the public – ensure connectedness
8. Deal with facts
9. Make sure the first 10 words of the release are effective and important
10. Provide as much contact information as possible

For more information on press release strategies check out Louisiana Tech PR and Press Release Writing.com

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Cleaning up the Mess

Topic of the Week 13
Crisis Case Study

Although it was a hoax, I still remember the Wendy’s chili crisis like of 2005 like it was yesterday. The catastrophe began when Anna Ayala found a human finger in her bowl of chili at a Wendy’s restaurant located in San Jose, California. When this story was leaked to the media, Wendy’s was forced to act quickly and draw up an effective crisis management strategy in order to soften the oncoming blows they were about to take. Here was their plan according to Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics:
1.Establish that the brand name was not at fault quickly
2. Maintain Wendy’s core values
3. Brief and mobilize employees
4. Build a postincident strategy to enhance Wendy’s brand

Although they did the best they could in this crisis, Wendy’s restaurants lost 20-50% of their business in the San Francisco area and their 6,600 outlets around the nation experienced a large decline in sales.

After 2 months of thorough police investigation, Ayala was found guilty of creating a hoax and grand theft for causing Wendy’s to $2.5 million in revenue. In addition, Ayala was charged 9 years in prison along with steep fines. In order to rebuild their tarnished reputation, Wendy’s rewarded their loyal customers with free Frostie desserts, giving out almost 18 million free treats.

Sadly, Wendy’s reputation was destroyed for a small amount of time because of an enormous lie. After successful image restoration, however, Wendy’s was able to jump back up to one of the most favored fast food chains in America. How did they do it? Wendy’s followed an action plan using the following methods described in Public Relations: Strategies and Tactics:
1. Make progress visible
2. Analyze what went wrong
3. Improve governance structure
4. Make CEO and leadership accessible to media
5. Fire employees involved in problem
6. Commit to high corporate citizenship standards
7. Carefully review ethics policies
8. Hire outside auditors for internal audits
9. Issue an apology from the CEO

For those who aren’t familiar with the Wendy’s Chili Crisis, check out the sketchy Good Morning America interview with Anna Ayala:

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Art of Persuasion

Topic of the Week 11
PR Podcasts

 For this assignment I explored The Creative Career for interesting podcasts relevant to the profession of public relations. On this site I discovered a link to CBC Radio’s show “Art of Persuasion,” hosted by Terry O’ Reilly. Each show is a half-hour long, so I was able to enjoy two of O’Reilly’s clips.

Persuasion Fail
In this episode, O’Reilly commented on some of the catastrophes within the world of public relations.  First, company acronym failures were discussed. For example, the Wisconsin Tourism Federation’s acronym “WTF” became a huge joke after “WTF” became short for “what the…” (Well, you can fill in the blank). Other acronym fails belonged to the Tokyo Institute of Technology and Duke University Hospital.

One publicity fail O’Reilly highlighted was made by KFC in 2009 after Oprah announced its “two free grilled chicken pieces, 2 sides, and a biscuit for free” promotion used to introduced its new grilled chicken menu choice. KFC, however, underestimated the power of Oprah and supply was killed by outrageous demand and many eager customers left the restaurant hungry.

Finally, O’Reilly commented on marketing strategies with new products. “Marrying a brand with the right strategy and the right creative direction is like a culinary art. You might like smoked sturgeon and you might like strawberry jam, but that doesn’t mean you want them on the same cracker.” It is important to do the research before presenting an idea.

The most important thing “Persuasion Fail” teaches PR professionals and students is that failure is sure to happen, especially in an industry where so many risks are taken. O’Reilly, however, encourages us to “fail forward.” In order to succeed, it is necessary to bounce back stronger and smarter.

Embracing New Media
In this episode, O’Reilly discusses how new media brings about new changes in communication, especially language. New media and the introduction of new language, however, brings about problems. O’Reilly explains that each new media enters a “grace period” in which consumers have to figure out which manner, form, and language best suits the new media.

One great example of this new language was the early days of the telephone. If it was up to Alexander Graham Bell, we would be answering the phone using “Ahoy, Ahoy!” Instead, as we all know, “Hello” was adopted as the universal telephone greeting.

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Life in Technicolor

Choosing a favorite music artist, for me, is a difficult challenge. One minute country music will be blasting out my speakers and the next day I will be addicted to the sounds of Frank Sinatra. Some bands, such as Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, and OneRepublic will always be a part of my favorites list. I have to say that if there is a time here I just need some good background music to increase the mood of the environment, Coldplay is my go-to choice. I really enjoy Coldplay’s use of rhythm piano, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation, and melodic song writing. In addition, they are willing to take chances by infusing sounds from various different cultures.

Coldplay is highly involved with their fans, especially through social networking mediums such as Twitter, Myspace, and Facebook.   Most of their interaction with the public occurs through their official website. Here are a few examples of Coldplay’s use of public relations:

1.) As a thank you to their fans, Coldplay released a free copy of their album LeftRightLeftRightLeft, which features 9 live songs including “Viva La Vida” and “Clocks.” The album can be downloaded on their website.

2.) The official Coldplay website includes a page called The Exhibition Room where fans have the opportunity to display their digital artwork. Throughout its existence fans have uploaded their animation, graphic design, home videos, claymation, illustrations, paintings, photography, music videos, and short films. Each week, Coldplay members choose a new piece of work to add to the online art gallery.

3.) Another page on the official website is called the Oracle. This area allows fans to ask “The Oracle” questions regarding band members such as “What is Chris Martin’s favorite song he has performed?” and much more!

4.) One interesting use of public relations is the adventures of Coldplay puppets. Each puppet looks like one of the band members and a picture is taken with the puppets in an area that best represents each tour spot. Although I am not really sure what significance this has, it sure is humorous and interesting to see where the puppets will end up next! Here’s a picture of the puppets in Argentina!

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Witness.

 I am a hard core, diehard Cleveland Cavaliers fan. Living in Florida during the NBA regular season has been extremely hard on me simply because I can’t watch every game on television. Luckily, a few times a month, Cavs games are broadcasted on ESPN or TNT when they play another top-notch team such as the L.A. Lakers, Orlando Magic, or Boston Celtics.

If you haven’t heard of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ best player, there is a good chance that you have been living under a rock recently. Just turn on ESPN or read the sports columns and this man is sure to be mentioned. This player is Lebron James, who is considered to be the next Michael Jordan with his high-flying dunks and insane 3-point shooting streaks when the game is on the line. Although he has only played a few seasons, I, along with thousands of others, consider Lebron one of the game’s greatest players ever.

Lebron James may be “The King” to the city of Cleveland, but I have witnessed some of his ridiculous antics. From crying to referees when calls don’t go his way to occasional dirty plays, Lebron has a lot of maturing to do in order to be considered the greatest all-time. His latest scandal to rock the NBA world was pulling out of this year’s dunk contest at the all-star game after promising fans publically that he would participate. These continuous negative actions have dirtied his image as fans are beginning to label him as a sore loser and someone who refuses to keep his word. Simply stated, Lebron is a liar.

As more and more people “witness” Lebron’s complaining and unsportsmanlike conduct, his publicist will become more and more important to protecting his worldwide image. If I were his publicist, I believe now is the time for Lebron to start cleaning up his act before things get out of hand. It takes years to create a clean slate. Lebron can look to his fellow opponent Ron Artest, who faced years of scrutiny after assulting a fan, to see how long the process of generating a new image can take.

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