Crisis Communications

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Be honest, authentic and appropriate in a crisis

Crisis management has been centre stage recently with the incident of a passenger being forcibly removed by aviation security officers from a United Airlines flight, with the incident filmed on mobiles.

Handling a communications crisis in an age where news travels in seconds is complicated.

The need for truth

Authenticity is key. A brand needs to be clear about its stance, goals and messaging, but what else should be considered when looking to put together a crisis management strategy?

Crisis strategy

Mandy Brooks gives some pointers:

  • Treat your customers well, as Stephen Waddington notes in response to the United Airlines fiasco. Do everything you can to avoid a crisis. Put your customers first. Be honest, authentic and appropriate.
  • Plan and have a clear strategy for dealing with a crisis. Model different scenarios, know who will respond and how. Know who won’t respond. Clarity and guidance are key.
  • There is a need to react and adapt instantly as events evolve. Have intelligence on your stakeholders. Know which are likely to respond with positive comment and monitor these who could be negative.

When dealing with any communications crisis, what sets you apart is how you plan and react to the situation, your crisis management skills and subsequent communication strategy.

A company or spokesperson should be available to comment, communicate often, be transparent, and honest. Mistakes occur but ensuring they are dealt with promptly and efficiently makes the difference.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of success in crisis management. We can help you in a crisis or boost your business so call us on 01483 537 890 or email michael@brookscomm.com

Follow us: @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Website: www.brookscomm.com

 

Fake News & Alternative Facts

Fake News & Alternative Facts- Can PR Survive in a Post Trusth World-

The world of communications is continuously evolving. With the internet and social media, anybody and everybody can voice their opinion, establish themselves as content creators and distribute articles. Buzzfeed has been criticised for reporting unsubstantiated and unverified reports, raising doubts about the ethics of the publication.

Everyone is a content creator

With platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, anyone can write and share stories riddled with uncorroborated facts and hearsay. By the very nature of social media fake news can easily become viral, potentially having severe consequences. Fake news articles can be written and presented in such a way that it is hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

Distrust of the media

Fake news causes problems when news outlets distribute it without verifying the original source. Understandably, publications don’t want to be perceived as not distributing relevant information in a timely fashion. This can cause a distrust of the media.

Fake news has been around for as long as communication between people. The growth of newspapers and television gave power to the media and the ability to share information. However, with this came a realisation that there was a responsibility to corroborate stories if you wanted to be taken seriously as a reputable news outlet. This did not guarantee an unbiased report, but it did provide an element of discipline and time spent checking information. The change brought by the growth of social media is the instant mass sharing of an enormous amount of information, true or false.

Traditional news outlets have difficult decisions to make – do they share a story, or do they take time to corroborate it, thus potentially missing the opportunity?

News travels globally without validation. Fake news shares our screens with verified stories. So, how do you ensure what you are reading and sharing is real? How do you maintain a good reputation in a world where people can easily share untruths about your business?

How to avoid Fake News in your business:

  • Reputation is ‘hard won and easily lost’. Create your business narrative and be authentic. The more you share your real story with genuine updates, the more you will mitigate any negative effect on your reputation from fake news about you.
  • Concentrate on quality. Be timely but check your sources and share information after consideration.
  • When reading news, keep an open mind and look for different sources yourself. Think, how reputable is this source? Is this a source I’ve looked at previously? How reliable is it?
  • Remember – there has always and will always be fake news – it’s up to us to research, to be authentic and to enable factual communication.

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of success. We can help boost your business, call us on 01483 537 890 or email michael@brookscomm.com

Follow us: @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Website: www.brookscomm.com

Advice On Creating Successful Events

Oscar Wilde (1)

We have held hundreds of media events for clients in differing industries over the past three decades. Here are some top tips for creating a successful event.

Visualise your goal

What do you want to achieve? Knowing and understanding what media coverage you want to gain helps you define your target audience, timescales, budget, impacting choice of venue and style of event. Do you want to create a buzz and raise awareness of a new product or service, improve media relations, increase coverage in a niche sector, or increase sales in a specific timeframe?

Research

Before finalising details of an event, ask yourself “Does this event clash with another? Could there be travel disruptions? Is the venue easy to access? Are the acoustics good?” Put yourself in the shoes of the journalists you are inviting. Will the choice of date and venue be appealing to your target media?

Focus on your audience

Do you want to attract niche or mass market media? The demographics of your desired audience and the platforms to which you want your content shared will decide the key influencers, bloggers and journalists you need to target. Along with invitations, provide detailed timings and story outline to the potential attendees.

Preparation is key

Do as much preparation before the event as possible. Ensure collateral e.g. banners, press releases, goody bags, name tags etc. are organised in advance. To reduce the possibility of technical glitches, check the WiFi and that the venue has the necessary equipment.

On the day

To maximise brand coverage across the media, ensure attendees are aware of any relevant hashtags. It’s important to ensure the venue is well lit to allow for photo opportunities. Make sure you connect with all attendees. Key influencers unable to attend are important, so you might be able to follow up with individual meetings with them. Taking an interest, knowing and understanding each journalist and blogger’s style, areas they cover and how they prefer to be contacted are important. This level of personalisation means that you are more likely to achieve success. Good relationships with journalists and bloggers make it more likely that they will want to work with you in future.

After the event

Journalists and bloggers are busy. Following up afterwards is vital, allowing journalists to ask questions and giving you relevant feedback for future events.

To summarise:

Establish your goals, conduct your research, prepare, maximise exposure and follow up.

Organising successful events, developing strong media relations and providing a high return on investment can be a daunting task. brookscomm has extensive knowledge and experience of co-ordinating events globally. Regardless of budget, we can introduce or increase awareness and media profile of your product or service, successfully attracting positive coverage in target publications.

Email: chaz@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537890.

Follow us @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Website: www.brookscomm.com

Learn new ways of reaching your customers

In today’s busy workplace people don’t like being “sold to” and resent being bombarded with emails and intrusive phone calls.

Successful businesses are using a new approach to reach new customers. An approach that combines the latest proven PR & Marketing tactics to reach, inform and educate your target audience about how your business solves their challenges.

Find out about the difference between old and new style lead generation tactics with our handy comparison infographic:

comparing-ways-of-reaching-new-customers-infographic

Blogging for Business

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Showcase your  brand’s personality through blogging

Like social media, blogging is a great way to demonstrate your business’s unique selling point.

Blogging allows you to offer tips, advice and opinions on topical issues and trends affecting your sector. By talking about things that matter to your customers within a blog format you increase the chances of  your content being read, being perceived as a thought leader and recognised as being experts at what you do.

In addition, blogging humanises a brand, especially when readers are given a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes of your business. It can also increase your credibility and build a measure of trust with your customers. Interestingly, blogs are rated at the 5th most trusted source for accurate information.

Blogging also supports your SEO strategy. Search engines favour websites that publish fresh content over those that don’t, and by building quality inbound and outbound links to your blog, you will boost your SEO ranking.

Now that we’ve explained why blogging is great for business, you might be wondering, how do I start?!

Here’s our advice…

Content is King

This old saying is now more relevant than ever, especially considering that the way in which content is used can directly impact the visibility of websites. Useful content rich in keywords incorporated within business blog posts, along with the use of structured titles and section heads, are important to improving SEO. Great content is recognised as a worthwhile resource for people to consume, helping you to move further up Google’s search ranking results. (For more digital marketing terms check out our glossary).

Cross-promote

You may be writing the best content ever, but it’s no good unless someone sees it! Therefore, it’s imperative to promote your posts via every outlet available, whether it is through emails, your website or social media, as this will also help drive referral traffic to your website. As stated in a previous blog post, Facebook for example, drives over 40% of website referral traffic. If you want your content to go viral, make it relevant, insightful and attractive to the consumer. And make it easy to share; Better yet, include images or even video, as these will attract far more views and engagement.

Consistency

When you start blogging, don’t be disheartened if, at the beginning, no one reads your posts. Stick at it and be consistent, but it’s also important to be realistic. If you only have the time to blog once every two weeks, commit to it and don’t stray. Struggling for content or pushed for time?  Ensure there is a reserve of blog posts which can later be scheduled in case of time restraints, allowing you to still promote content when you are away, or are stuck for inspiration.

However, many professionals recognise that it’s a challenge to constantly produce engaging content. If you don’t have the time or resources, we can write blog posts on your behalf or manage, promote and create engaging collateral using existing blog content, making your business stand out from the crowd.

Call us on 01483 537890 or, alternatively, email michael@brookscomm.com We can help you with all your blogging needs and improve your SEO, successfully reaching and engaging your target audience.

Follow us @PRexpertsUK   Linkedin: brookscomm  Website: www.brookscomm.com