By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
As the world wakes up to Bin Laden’s death, the newsrooms across the globe will be working 48/7 to provide up-to-the minute coverage on new developments, analysis and reactions. A few things to keep in mind if you had major announcements to pitch to the media this week:
Set realistic client expectations for media coverage this week: Unless what you pitch has a direct/indirect relation to Bin Laden’s death, forget about getting any attention from reporters and bloggers this week who are rightfully more focused on this historic moment than your new product announcement. Explain to your clients early on that the media coverage that you promised may not be possible this week unless you can somehow tie it to terrorism.
Advise your social media team to keep a closer eye on employee reactions on social media: So many of us have been personally affected by 9-11 that emotions are bound to be at an all-time high. When emotions are high, chances are your employees might tweet, comment on blog posts or Facebook that might come back to haunt you from a reputation perspective. It is one thing to celebrate America’s victory over terrorism but quite another if one of your employees engages in an anti-Muslim rant online. Twitter continues to be the hot medium where people worldwide are learning and reacting about Bin Laden’s death. Here’s a good post from Mashable on “Timeline: How News of Osama Bin Laden’s Death Unfolded on Twitter.” http://mashable.com/2011/05/02/osama-death-twitter/.
Commenting on Twitter’s role in breaking the news, The Atlantic’s Nicholas Jackson wrote:
“Twitter has once again proven its worth. It might not win wars or spark revolutions—that’s still being debated—but its value is clear to those of us who watched their feeds fill with news and notes over the past hour. Newspapers might be dead or dying, but traditional ink-on-paper reporters were able to share this story much faster than cable news outlets by adapting to this technology.”
Respect the news cycle and stay away from dis-alienating reporters and bloggers: If you don’t hear back from the reporter/blogger this week that expressed an interest in covering your story, don’t panic. Instead, send a nice note enquiring if there is anything you can do to help them with, especially if you have credible sources/data that can help them with the Bin Laden coverage. This gesture of understanding their priority and helping them with what they need is a good investment you will make to nurture your media relations efforts.
Create opportunities for Corporate Social Responsibility to help your community: If you have a charitable contributions budget, this is the time to open your company wallet and explore opportunities to make the upcoming Memorial Day and Flag Day even more special for your community. As a nation, our patriotic sentiments are bound to be naturally high. As we re-unite to celebrate justice being served to the thousands of people whose lives have been destroyed by terrorist organizations, we as PR pros should consider how our organizations can play a small part in celebrating this victory.
God Bless America!