I am a PR Rep and PAO. (SEE: (blogs): highvizpr,abbebuckpr, abbebuckpublicaffairs); Twitter). YES, politics + info-tainment are ruling the day; W/ micro-blogging speeding the process of plow and share ten-fold, I share PR POV right here, welcoming all Q & A. To find out more about my line, "GOOGLE" (of course!)/ get in touch. (Still) TOPICAL QUOTE: "We are living in an age of Publicity" -Will Rogers (1924) ~~(Some things just never change!) # # #

Friday, January 26, 2007

Reputation Management & Damage Control: a primer that remains relevent


Reputation Management & Damage Control
by Abbe Buck, HighVizpr.com

Most people use the internet and the broadcast media in our daily lives. Whether we get our morning news on Yahoo! or not, millions of people watch news, entertainment and other programming 24/7. Many of these same people among us are participating in online public discussion groups and starting their own web logs. This has made the Internet the people's forum - everyone contributes and every opinion counts. It has lead to more of a poltical “vox populi” (Latin for “voice of the people”) than we have seen in decades. This is what the daily newspaper used to do. But now, the news - good or bad, rumor or fact - travels faster on the Internet than any other medium.

Here is a leading example of this trend, which seems here to stay: As you may have noted in politics, the internet has quelled Dan Rather’s career as CBS News anchor (with the Bush National Guard ‘letter’ that was certainly mis-reported. This was not brought to the forefront by national “network” news, or on cable news networks, or on talk radio, but by “bloggers” (web-loggers, who have developed their own private “VOICE OF THE PEOPLE” websites. If you can read e-mail you can receive their opinion in your in-box, and it can topple an entire news organization when many band together as a United Front. One of the best examples is on americablog.com - anything you read is posted there!

It could happen to you!

Now think of this: a single unhappy customer, misinformed consumer, or disgruntled employee can spark an online and offline reputation disaster for your company. Having a Public Relations firm planning ahead to avert a potential PR disaster for your company before they become "breaking news" is a market savvy approach.

Putting an organizational PR “Battle Plan” in place:

When damaging news, derogatory rumors, or misinformation “catch fire” on the Internet. We advise that you have a communications person on your management team who is well-versed in a range of verticals. It will be this person’s job #1 to find out where the negative mention started, and to be able to counter as a spokesperson any negative statement or written word that has been picked up by media or on the internet. This person must quickly and effectively find every negative mention of your company online and offline, and immediately strike back with a (counter) strategy to safeguard your company or organization.

Damage Control – What should we do?

When a PR crisis erupts, it is important to execute a timely response to derogatory or misleading information about your company. Working closely with top management and communication staff to disseminate the corporate messages, personnel should quickly present your side of the story and direct audiences to favorable sources of information - dampening the flames and exposing the biases of your detractors.

In addition, to an assembled rapid-response team a PR crisis management website that explained a company’s position to the public and presents all favorable evidence, argument, and media coverage is a must have. The address of this website should be distributed to concerned audiences online through news, search engines, and other channels. Your selected PR firm’s job is to make sure that the public also had the opportunity to hear your company's side of the story before negative sentiments can take hold. This can also done with broadcast reporters and talk-show hosts, who “glom” onto any negotiable sentiment because it becomes top news. To respond is a must!

Media contacts and online Monitoring

While marketers and communicators specialists are in contact with the top media outlets, broadcast and print, your PR firm should also has an Online Monitoring team sweeping the Internet constantly, looking for any and all mentions of your company or organization. Concerned management must stay informed about the perceptions of their brand and the opinions of their customers, employees, and professional analysts online and in print.

» Abbe Buck, Publicist, abbe@highviz.net

HighViz Consulting Group

T 1-800-380-2825
Description: A PR specialist in the fields of promotion

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How to Hire HighVizPR, Part 2

Hiring a PR Firm - more than an in-house marketer
Advertisement - What we're hearing from HighVizPR clients and associates:

"Getting your company noticed is becoming rapidly more difficult as consumers are increasingly saturated with brand information. A company such as HighViz, which takes an approach that considers marketing, communications, and public relations is an advantage. ---"Chris David, Founder Venture Street http://www.venturestreet.com/

"I have found
highvizpr.com to be the bridge between the demand for quality programs and speakers for companies and corporations by matching the supply of high impact speakers and trainers that HighVizPR can offer."---David K. Aaker, President Aaker and Associates http://www.davidkaaker.com/

"If [HighViz's]
Abbe Buck had lived in the fifteenth century, she would have been first to invent the printing press. Her imagination and creativity in approaching her work often translates to an elegant and deployable solution. It just translates into results!"---Charles Wade CMMi Deployment Manager BAE National Security Solutions

"The buck really stops at Abbe's. God broke the mold when he gave us the PR talent that is Abbe Buck. I hope that she never leaves the business because we all need help!"----Marvin Powell, Commissioner The Fairfax County Small Business Commission

Click here for more about "HighViz-Ability"Is PR the new journalism? Read HVPR's daily PR BLOGSHVPR Top Stories

Now, for the PR Topic: Hiring a PR Firm

Here is some information for future reference * - Bookmark this pageHiring a PR Firm - HighVizPR

How can a company or individual know if it needs to hire a public relations firm?There are many factors to weigh when considering if you need to hire outside help to obtain the public relations, media relations, marketing boost, promotional or advertising assistance needed to take your company to the next level.

If you aren't completely certain, after debating the pros and cons ask these questions:

Are we getting all the PR we deserve?
Is our competition getting more than their fair share of media coverage?
Would media coverage bring more business to the firm?
Do we have a PR strategy for continuous year round media coverage?
Do we need In House PR - if so, is our in-house "PR person or department" overburdened with "in-house" work like the company newsletter?

First of all, let's define a PR firm: Some people interchange a PR firm with a marketing firm, or marketing agency, or even an ad agency. Basically a public relations firm handles media relations and is the interface between a company and the news media. Some who happen to do business development or act as majordomos, facilitating high-level introductons between corporations and organziations. This falls into the realm of marketing.A public relations firm or publicist will "pitch" the media on a story idea involving a company, invention or author. A good pitch about a story that would interest the people who read, watch or listen to a particular media outlet gets coverage. I want you to place this in mind about YOUR ORGANZIATION. Is there something that is topical that you can speak about week after week that will continue to capture the ATTENTION of the media and the public?- such as "EAS promotes new health product, to enrich lives of thousands of current and future customers", as did "Martha Stewart released from Camp Cupcake." You see, it is all relative here.

Many larger companies rely on in-house staff trained in public relations or marketing while others hire PR consultants or publicists to handle their PR campaigns. While you may not hire in-house, you may want to at least farm out an idea weekly and PUBLISH it somewhere, at least on your website to tie into product launches and promotions.

Joe Nicassio, author of Guerrilla PR Brand Manager, goes into my point even more in depth.Joe says that whether a company should conduct its public relations, marketing or advertising campaigns internally or externally should be determined by these factors (questions):Do you NEED solid, consistent media exposure week after week, or are you satisfied with "occasional" exposure? Do you have the internal staff and expertise to commit the internal resources to your public relations, marketing, advertising efforts?

If you have the internal staff, and they understand Guerrilla PR principles, then there may be no reason to hire an outside agency. Paradoxically, the busier you get, the easier it is to parlay, or "set aside" consistent, important PR activities. Don't get caught in that trap!"Public Relations is a craft that requires Passion," adds Nicassio. "You may need PR, and you may even have the people to conduct your public relations, marketing, advertising campaigns but that's not enough. To be truly effective, your PR campaigns must be conducted with Passionate Consistency."In my opinion, here is a list of reasons why it makes good business sense to hire a public relations firm to market your product or service:PR firms can get you TV and radio coverageA PR firm can get you interviewed on radio and TV.Every day thousands of interviews are conducted on TV and Radio stations across the North America and several hundred are with experts and authors. If your own in house PR person is not trying to get interviewed by the producers of those shows they won't find you because they simply don't have time to look for you amongst the many interesting people clamoring for their attention.PR firms have regular contact with national media outlets

PR firms are in regular contact journalists, editors, writers and producers from top national magazines, newspapers and radio/TV programs.When was the last time you talked to representatives from ABC's 20/20... Prime Time. CNN... People... Good Morning America... Newsweek... Publishers Weekly... Family Circle... Forbes... ABC Radio Network... Time Magazine... Dateline NBC... The View... Oprah's O magazine... Fortune Small Business... Cosmopolitan... Fox News... Good Housekeeping or Newsweek?Probably not lately. And your in-house PR person probably has not either. The reason? Your in-house person has not established the relationships with these media outlets. A PR firm with several clients can pitch one, two or three stories while talking to the same reporter or producer. An in house PR department does not have this synergy which leaves your firm out of the loop.PR firms have multiple resources such as an "experts subscription service" HighVizPR and other top PR firms belong to paid subscription services which provide dozens of leads everyday from media members looking for an expert to comment on a particular story. PR firms present you and your firm as an authority on a particular topic and request an interview. The media will, in nearly every case, mention your firm in the story as it establishes your credibility with the reader.

Your in-house person is not likely to know about this service or perhaps the several thousand dollars a year it costs to get the leads is not cost effective for a firm to buy this service. However a PR firm can spread this cost over several clients and glean the hundreds of daily queries looking for the one that may work for you.PR firms can provide media training.

Regardless of your experience most executives need media training. PR firms use media trainers to prep their clients. When you use a PR firm they have access to the best ones in the business. Why do you need one? Just watch the interview talk shows you can tell when an inexperienced executive is being interviewed. A good trainer will show you how to "plug" your company, product or service without sounding like an overbearing salesperson. The training helps you capitalize on every interview and maximize each opportunity to the fullest.A PR firm can get your press release to the top of the heap.

For your story to compete for attention in the "hard news" slot it must be compelling and people need to care about it. "On a tour of the Detroit News a couple of years ago," says Joe Nicassio. "I asked to be taken to the mailroom. There I saw 20 giant four-foot tall mailbags that come into the mailroom every day. All I could think of was how many thousands of press releases were in that pile, and how the odds of any one of them seeing the light of day were not good. If your press release is in that pile, you want your story to get to the top of the heap and a PR firm can improve your odds dramatically." Public relations professionals also have built up contacts in the media, who trust them for story ideas, and will know where to pitch a certain type of story.

As for ongoing fees most firms operate on a monthly retainer basis and a minimum time commitment ranging from a few months to a few years. The level of the fee depends upon the scope of the project. Will it take five people, one person? Is the firm interested in local, state, regional, national or international public relations? Is the firm public or private? If it's public there are more SEC required reports that need filling as well as other government regulations. All of this will affect the rate quoted.So it's best to determine what you want and then work with the firm that has a track record of accomplishments and media placement. Good PR is more than hot air; it requires continuous implementation of a well thought out strategy to get results.

The following checklist is suggested in part by Guerilla Marketing Brand Manager's Joe Nicassio to "size up" any public relations firm you are considering to hire:

Do you get along with the members of the firm? Hiring a PR agency is a collaboration that you can benefit from, month after month, year after year. Quality rapport is an essential ingredient.

Are they realistic, in terms of managing your expectations, or do they promise "pie in the sky"? It's one thing for a PR firm to promise results; it's another thing to promise "specific" results.

Maybe you'd like to get on Oprah Winfrey from the start...so would everyone else. But be prepared to take advantage of several secondary media opportunities before you get to the top tier. Several base hits can score you more runs than going for the grand slam every time.

Is the PR firm creative? Creative PR people will come up with more "angles" to test.

Do they understand how to pitch your story? A progressive PR firm will be effective AND efficient at telling your story -- yielding you more media coverage.

Do they listen to what you say? Let's face it...your PR needs are constantly evolving. Your PR firm should listen and respond to your unique, evolving needs.

Are they using a "hard sell" to get you to sign? A good PR firm is a busy PR firm. They don't need to sell you. Their track record will allow you to decide based on the evidence.

Do they have local, regional, national media contacts? When you go to a great PR firm, they have cultivated several strategic media relationships, over many years of time.

Do they have the contacts to place your story in front of the appropriate media?Did they outline a campaign game plan for you? You can predict the effectiveness of a PR firm by the soundness of their overall strategic approach.

Have you seen samples of their work? Track record comes in the form of Quality of exposure, in addition to the Quantity of exposure.

Do you feel that they will carry out your PR campaign with consistent Passion?Do you should feel comfortable with the fee and the contract? Getting good PR is a process. It requires well thought out plans, implemented with passion, and a focus on results in the form of getting your story told to the world.

So, whether you conduct your public relations efforts from within or whether you hire an outside PR firm, if media exposure is valuable to you and your firm then you must include public relations as an ongoing systematic part of your marketing mix.

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HighViz Consulting Group
Abbe Buck, Principal Consultant, Publicist
Strategic Communications and Public Relations
(703) 753-4100 - 1-800-380-2825
Take our HighViz PR - PROMO CHALLENGE!Just 24 hours to conceptwww.highvizpr.com

PR Portfolio on PR WEB: http://www.prweb.com/firm/prf2741.htm*
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