Thursday, February 02, 2006

Biting the Hand, Then Soothing It

Every PR person has been there. You work like crazy to get your client into an article in top publication, only to have the client fly off the handle at something small and want a full retraction. You calmly try to tell your client all the ways this is a positive story, then finally, after some browbeating, you apologetically call the reporter and get some information to bring back to your client that you hope soothes the situation, all while trying not to piss off a very important reporter you'll need again, even after this client is long gone.

So, what happens when you can't put a lid on your client? What happens when they have their own very public avenue to criticize a reporter before you can stop them?

For that check out reporter Tom Taulli's reaction to being criticized by PubSub. He wrote a blogging article for and then got slammed by the company, even when the article was positive. He also talks about his interactions with the PR person.

To PubSub's credit, the co-founder quickly called and apologized for it, which Taulli also wrote about, calling him a "smart guy." I'd bet the PR and communications folks had a hand in pushing for that apology. That one action managed to turn a very negative situation into a positive one. A very good move.

But the idea of publicly reacting without thinking isn't a new concept. In fact, I've written about it before. But it shows how important a strong PR presence is in order to maintain a positive image in this new media landscape.

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