Tag Archives: Press Release

Publicity at any cost – Good or Bad?

bad-publicityHow often have we heard the statement, “Any publicity is good publicity”? Our guess is – a good number of times! Brands, big or small, know the power of this statement and at some point of time or the other have tried to take advantage of a bad publicity or bad press. Though it is not exactly something experts would advice, brands and individuals on more than one occasion have benefitted out of a negative publicity.

But, bad publicity is not good for everyone. If a brand is relatively unknown then, it can benefit from the exposure. On the other hand, the image of a bigger brand might get hurt with bad publicity. For example, a theme park in California, USA. The 2013 documentary Blackfish, that won an Academy Award for its depiction of what many believe is animal cruelty, affected the operations of the park. The park’s revenue went down, as the number of visitors had dropped significantly. Laws were proposed in California that would make it illegal for the company to conduct some of its operations. It paid a huge price following the allegations made in the documentary.

On the other hand, a study found that sales of popular singer and entertainer records rose during periods when the singer was in the news for child molestation or dangling his baby over a balcony. So how do we know who gains from a bad press?

On negative publicity, a study by three professors from Wharton and Stanford stated, “A crucial factor is how familiar a brand or product was before the negative publicity. Crunching data that cross-matched book sales against critics’ appraisals, they found that negative reviews of a new book by an established author hurt sales.”

An Indian real estate company, which has been in the news lately due to the controversy that its co-founder and ex CEO, had stirred, might have gained quite a bit. Though the company was launched in 2012, it was only early March 2015 that its nation-wide brand launch took place after its third round of funding and people started “looking up” to the brand. The brand revealed its new logo, colours, brand philosophy and tagline. The launch was also advertised in national newspapers with big hoardings put up in several cities across India with notable posts on the company’s social media pages. This got everyone talking about the brand even giving sleepless night to its competitors.

The company was growing too fast too soon and this was perhaps what made its CEO, a wee bit arrogant as he started displaying his callous attitude. The company became a talking point on several occasions thanks to his actions:

  • Public spat with other industry leaders, where he accused the leader of poaching staff from the real estate portal
  • Tiff with a leading media house where he said, “Who needs a girlfriend when you have the Times group.”
  • The famous spats with the CEO of an online restaurant search and the CEO of a well known cab service, which caused much buzz on the Internet. After his public firing, one of the CEOs even tweeted that it felt like reality entertainment show Bigg Boss season had just ended
  • Resigned from the brand after sending on to the board where he mentioned, “investors were intellectually incapable and not worthy of his time”
  • Gave off 200 crore worth of his shares to the employees of the company
  • Took a pot shot at a software giant’s CEO by posting a picture of him sleeping at an airport lounge

But the bad publicity that he received from the controversies that he created for himself over a period of time did not work for him. Instead, it looked like he dug a pit deep enough for himself to fall as he got fired by the same board that he had referred to as ‘incapable’. He lost the control over his own company, the company that he had worked hard for and co-founded with 11 other people. He became a butt of jokes, especially on the social networking sites and was even trending on Twitter the day he got fired. He is now referred to as the ‘bad boy of Indian startups’.

While it worked in a negative way for the ex CEO, the brand seems to have benefitted from it quite well. Every time he posts something on his face book page or makes a statement, people directly associate it with the brand that in turn gained mileage whether offline or online. Meanwhile, there bound to be some repercussions of this exit internally. He was after all the founder of the company and his firing left the employees in a lurch with reports in the media stating that investors were keen to sell the startup as other companies were keen on buying it. Employees have been worried about their job security and his shares would be distributed to them that they put across to the board.

Interestingly, the brand lost about 15% of its top employees since news of his likely departure was first reported in March. After his exit, the senior executives and investors of the company met and assured the employees that the three-year-old startup can still become a billion-dollar company. As per reports, many companies are interested in buying the brand. The biggest investor of the company was heard saying, “Innovation, product and design are the key strengths of the brand and if we stick to it then we don’t need to worry about competition.”

What most people feel is that the startup though has gained from the entire controversy will play safe now instead of getting innovative.

So how does a brand or an individual handle a bad press? Here are some pointers:

  • Leave the Internet alone. What is posted on the Internet remains there for eternity. Half of the problems come from ranting on the Internet or the emails.
  • Keep a publicity plan in place. Foresee problems and have forecasts of any future problems and accordingly have a contingency plan in place to deal with it
  • Learn from other’s mistakes. The above example should be a lesson for all startups to make a note of the things to avoid
  • Don’t stay silent. Keep people informed, especially your employees as to what is going on with the company
  • Appoint a spokesperson. This person should be someone who can calmly answer any questions related to the company
  • Your first contact with the outside world is your website, so make sure that the website is updated with the current going ons and carries a statement
  • Issue a press statement. Whenever there is a controversy, make sure that you take the initiative to send out a press note first
  • If you don’t have a PR team in place, consider hiring a PR firm that will do the crisis management for you and your brand

New tool for PRs in India: Infographics!

Infographics-A-Powerful-PR-Tool2So what are infographics (IGs)? They are the visual representation of complex information, data or knowledge shared in a simple and clear manner. IGs or information graphics include pictures as well as content but are presented in a visually appealing manner so that it is absorbed easily by the other party.

For example, share a text heavy piece with one journalist and an IG with another; you will see how differently each of the journalists handles the information at hand. While the first journalist will probably not make it to the rest of the text after the headline and the summary, the second journalist will be able to reach out to all accurate information in one read hence is better informed spending very little time on it. This will in turn reflect when he/she writes about your client.

There are a lot of advantages of using IG; Information is easily grasped and retained longer than the average text. They allow people to view the same data in a different manner, not to mention that a whole lot of data can be presented at the same time without confusing the readers, making the tool a very mandatory aspect in terms of marketing and public relations (PR). The best part about IGs is that pretty much any and every kind of data can be represented in them. So whether it is a company’s quarterly results or announcing about their expansion plans or sharing news about their funding or even a new launch with any media publication through a press release, a pitch note or even a letter to the editor, you can use IGs for everything and more. So why are Indian PRs not using this particular tool?

IGs are more positively being used abroad, especially in the USA where all the PRs send out their press releases or editorial content in the form of IGs. This enables the journalist to easily navigate through the data and incorporate it in their work.

At a time when life has been limited to just 140 characters and status updates, when the span of attention of an average individual is quite low and entire news pieces are presented in the headline – PRs in India should get more proactive and creative and use the IG tool. This will in the long run to help not only the PR but the clients, journalists and the readers too.

One need to constantly reinvent the information sharing techniques to stay ahead in the game and today since everything is digital, visual content is more appealing. Usage of IGs has become very frequent in the social media, where primarily information sharing takes, and since PR is another form of sharing information, it only makes sense for them to use this particularly useful tool. It will definitely go a long way in adding value to your clients.

Visit Unspun Consulting Group for more information on PR & how it can help you to promot your business!

8 Tips to Make your Press Release SEO-friendly

seo_press_releaseThousands of press releases are distributed every day. In today’s internet age, the need to make them SEO-friendly is paramount. Here are some tips on how to do just that.

 

Don’t use jargon. You need to use keywords that get searched and found on the net, but don’t use jargon. If someone from another industry cannot understand your press release, well, then it’s time to rewrite it.

Use keywords Liberally sprinkle those keywords that get you ranked high up in search engines. That should do the trick.

Hotlink and bold critical words and phrases Use hotlinks to provide additional information and make bold the key phrases and words.

Research free SEO tools SEO is always dynamic and evolving. So look up the latest in SEO on the net from free online resources.

Use anchor links Include anchor text links with your keywords. Using anchor links increases your chance of driving viewers back to your Web site.

Optimize the first 250 words Make sure you optimize the first 250 words of your press release. That’s the introduction and that’s what should get the readers’ attention first. So make sure the content is optimized so that you don’t lose your reader right in the beginning.

Engage customers, journalists and bloggers Send out a personal email or call your favourite customers, journalists and/or bloggers to get their opinions. It’s an investment in your future (and theirs).

Answer the question “What’s in it for me” from the readers’ point of view You have to be newsworthy. Your audience should get something from your press release. You have to make them feel like it matters to them. No amount of good writing can salvage a press release that is not newsworthy.

Steps to Distribute your Press Release

prweb_press_distribution (1)A well-written press release is the key to get the attention of the media. Here is a step-by-step blog on how to get your press release across to the right channels to promote your company or service.

Create a media contact list: Start by creating a media contact list. Maintain the contact information of all the journalists associated to your field of interest in this list. Since journalists move roles often, make sure to keep your list updated. 

Send the press release to newswire services. Newswires are a good source of news for journalists and news media. The chances of the story getting picked up are higher.

Distribute your press release to social media networks and blogs. This is good for viral marketing. If the content is interesting it will be shared socially.

You can also use SEO tools and publish your press release on the different search engines.

Use an online press release distribution service so that you can effectively distribute your press release to your desired target audience. There are many distribution services present, but one of the most user friendly and cost-effective press release distribution services is offered by MyPRGenie.

So go ahead and put your press release out there!