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Looking for a Public Relations Firm? Hire an Advocate, Not a Publicist

One valuable asset public relations consultants can bring is their own credibility with reporters. Credibility with journalists is not easily gained, and it’s earned through honesty and transparency with reporters over sustained periods of time. But, credibility doesn’t necessarily equate to the media reporting what you want. That’s why you always want to make sure you hire a PR consultant who plays the role of advocate – someone who is out there fighting for you, your brand, or your cause – and not someone concerned about preserving a “good” relationship with reporters. The former is someone who is on your side; the latter can be a walking conflict.

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Crisis Management: Revisiting Rolling Stone’s Failures

It’s been three years since Rolling Stone published its infamous and defamatory report about rape allegations at the University of Virginia, but it’s important to revisit the most piercing analysis of what the magazine did wrong. Rolling Stone’s investigation: ‘a failure that was avoidable,’ a report co-authored by the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, is still worth reading because it has crisis communications lessons for every potential target of investigative journalism. Indeed, it’s a tool you can now use with reporters, should you need it.Read More

Public Relations Basics: Working With Reporters

For the uninitiated, the prospect of talking with a reporter can be daunting. Even trade reporters in esoteric industries can materially influence a company’s brand or reputation. With a few basic, public relations guidelines, however, you can greatly increase the odds that your work with a reporter will be a positive contribution to your cause. Indeed, these are important to follow no matter your public relations experience.

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Taking Public Relations to the Next Level: The Dark Arts

Maybe it’s because we come from Washington, D.C. – the home of opposition research – but our experience is that too few companies execute public relations efforts targeting their competition or other adversaries. So-called oppo campaigns aren’t just for litigation. If you know of competitors’ actual or potential vulnerabilities in which their stakeholders might be interested, you’re competing with one hand behind your back if you don’t leverage them. Here are some public relations tips on how to do just that, as well as some caveats.

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Tech PR: No-Fear Crisis Communications

For startup and high-growth companies, learning that a reporter is sniffing around and asking hard questions can be bone-chilling. Perhaps you have heard from investors that a reporter has called. Perhaps the reporter messaged employees on LinkedIn. Typically, the client instinct in these instances is to go fetal and speculate about worst-case scenarios. We’ve seen this time and again, and it is almost always the wrong crisis management approach. Here’s the right one: call the reporter.

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