Sunday, May 9, 2010

Killer Success

Any PR pro will tell you that lack of a credible story will kill even the best PR program.  However, I maintain that most don't think about how success can kill a communications effort.

Oftentimes, clients - and even PR folk - can neglect to take into consideration what would happen if a company/product/offering and, by extension, the communications program, is wildly successful.  What happens if - for positive reasons - virtually no proactive, outbound effort is needed?

I've been lucky enough to be in that position a few times in my career with young client companies, and here's what I learned:

  • Most clients are not equipped to handle the flood of inbound inquires.  Appoint someone (internal PR person, agency, consultant) to manage all inbound traffic.  Keep lists with detailed notes.  Make sure everyone gets a timely response.
  • A bird in hand is not always worth two in the bush.  Granted, a great "opportunity" may present itself, but failing to keep in mind who the true target audience is and which outlets are best for reaching them, can cause a communications strategy to veer off-course.
  • Take the time to research the people who are calling.  If someone calls from Good Morning America, verify their contact info.  If they give you a cell number, ask for a direct dial.  Be cautious when it comes to private email addresses, if the contact is unknown.  You'd be surprised...
  • Be polite and courteous.  The media may love you now, but that will change.
This is not an exhaustive list.  It's just four observations based on personal experience.  In many ways, this approach resembles what to do when a crisis hits.  In many ways, unforeseen success can quickly turn from nirvana to disaster.

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