Tag Archives: crisis communications

PR Newswire Waives Distribution Fees for Press Releases Related to Humanitarian Efforts in Somalia

Barey Mohamed Abdirahman and Four year old Farhiya Adbi Billow at Trocaire's Dollow Health Centre, Dollow, Somalia. Source: Trocaire

PR Newswire is waiving fees on the distribution of news releases through a global crisis package for organizations wishing to communicate their efforts of assistance towards relief from the devastating famine in Somalia.

“With more than 29,000 children under the age of five dead from starvation over the past 90 days and over half a million other children severely malnourished, the crisis in Somalia requires the immediate attention of any and all organizations that can lend their help,” said Scott Mozarsky, chief commercial officer, PR Newswire.  “Any organization, whether a PR Newswire customer or not, can use our media and online distribution network to convey their efforts of assistance to inform the greater public and media as well as stimulate support for those fighting for their lives.”

All non-PR Newswire members can submit a press release by emailing nyhubs@prnewswire.com.  Members can utilize the Online Member Center (http://portal.prnewswire.com/) or contact their editorial bureau.

To view news releases issued by PR Newswire members offering aid, please visit Famine in Somalia (http://latest.prnewswire.com/page/famine-in-somalia).  Members of the media can access releases on the public site or on PR Newswire for Journalists (http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?LATEST&packageid=1031677).

We offer our thanks to all organizations stepping in to assist the thousands affected by the famine in Somalia.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Trocaire (http://www.trocaire.org/)

How To Make Social Content Directional and Actionable

PR Newswire’s Michael Pranikoff Explains How To Make Social Content Directional and Actionable from Zemoga on Vimeo.

PR Newswire is a long time partner and sponsor of the Business Development Institute (BDI) events in New York.  Yesterday, BDI held an event entitled “The Social Consumer”.   At the event, the recently launched Baskets & Bytes blog which focuses on the Digital Retail Space, interviewed Michael Pranikoff on the conference and discussion that Michael was moderating at the conference on Making Social Content Directional.

Michael will also be leading a free workshop for PR Newswire members next week on March 31st in Minneapolis entitled, “Work That Content! Tactics and Tools to Make Your Message Resonate“.

Fees Waived for Press Releases About Japan Quake, Tsunami Aid and Rescue Efforts

Until further notice, PR Newswire is waiving the fees for issuing press releases relating to aid and rescue efforts for the severe earthquake and ensuing tsunami that struck Japan today.

Additionally, organizations communicating disaster preparedness information to residents of Hawaii and California will also be able to use PR Newswire to issue that information at no charge.

We are also offering free distribution of news in English only to China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Singapore and South Korea.

For additional details, please see the press release we issued today or contact us directly.

The video of the disaster in Japan is heart-wrenching, and the people of Japan are in our thoughts today.

Real Time Search & Implications for Communicators

While the concept of real time search results is fairly new to many of us, for Rob Garner, vice president of strategy for digital marketing agency iCrossing, it’s nothing new.  He’s been researching, writing and speaking about the evolution of real time search results since late 2009, and I included some of his observations in a post about real time PR last year.

We know the ability of Google, Bing and other search engines to find and display content just seconds after it was posted to Twitter has real ramifications for anyone using content to reach and engage their online audiences.   To get the latest update on real time search and implications for marketing and PR pros,  I interviewed Rob yesterday on the subject, and here’s what he had to say:

Many thanks to Rob for talking with us.  Find more of his thinking (along with others from iCrossing) on The Content Lab.

Authored by Sarah Skerik, vp social media, PR Newswire.

Effective Use of Social Media in Crisis Communications

Allan Schoenberg, director of communications, CME Group, and our most recent guest on #ConnectChat

On the last Tuesday of each month, ProfNet hosts ConnectChat, a monthly series of Twitter chats exploring key communications and media topics. During our most recent ConnectChat, Allan Schoenberg, director of communications for CME Group, discussed the role of social media in crisis communications and how companies can use it to respond quickly to developing crises.

The first step in creating a crisis management plan, said Schoenberg, is by knowing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats – what he calls “SWOT.” While you won’t be able to prepare for every crisis, knowing your SWOT is a great start.

It’s also important to build relationships across the enterprise — IT, legal, products, etc. Once you get it going, you will learn, change and evolve — “Crisis planning is always in motion,” said Schoenberg — but those relationships will help you, as will the relationships you’ve built with journalists. “A crisis will show if you’ve done your legwork ahead of time. These are long-term relationships — not just when you need them if there’s a crisis.”

In terms of social media, Twitter has become a vital platform in monitoring crises. “The real-time aspect [of Twitter] is a game-changer for PR,” Schoenberg said. “It is also a great platform to communicate during a crisis and talk with stakeholders about what’s going on.”

“When you have messages, facts, stories, etc., use social media to communicate,” he continued. “But it’s social media, so remember to have a plan to take feedback and do something with it.

If you do find that your company is about to get, or already getting, negative publicity, it’s important to act quickly, but thoughtfully. “Confirm all that you can,” advised Schoenberg. “Facts are vital and important.”

Next, get the right spokesperson. “Having the right person speak is absolutely critical and can make all the difference,” said Schoenberg.

Finally, be consistent, “but know that you may have to adapt and change as the story changes. But stay on message.”

Ultimately, you have to know what you stand for as an organization, and always stand behind it. And, above all, remain calm. “It’s easy to overreact, but others are looking to you to get through it,” said Schoenberg. “Be a leader and a voice of reason. That being said, know when you need to kick things into high gear.”

To read the full transcript of our ConnectChat with Schoenberg, visit the ProfNet Connect social network at http://bit.ly/crisischat

Author Maria Perez is director of news operations for ProfNet, a service that helps journalists find expert sources. You can read more from Maria at her blog on ProfNet Connect, a free social network connecting PR professionals, experts and the media: http://www.profnetconnect.com/profnetmaria/blog/

Be Prepared for Crisis

Crisis Communications is a very hot topic today. As  B2B and B2C companies forge farther into social media, the need to react quickly, decisively, and strategically is becoming one of the most discussed issues by marketing and communications professionals.

This fall,  PR Newswire hosted a Conversation on Crisis Communications in Dallas, TX.  Dallas is home to the largest number of Fortune 1000 companies in the country which makes it one of the top places in the country where communications professionals need this knowledge.  As we wrap up 2010 and polish our plans for the coming year, we thought that revisiting some of the learning from this session would be useful.

The panel discussion was moderated by Michelle Metzger from PierPont Communcations and featured Brandy King from Southwest Airlines; Craig VanBebber from Lockheed Martin, and Allen Manning – Assignment Editor for KTVT-CBS 11 Dallas, and myself (Michael Pranikoff – Global Director of Emerging Media for PR Newswire).


The panel all agreed that today speed is of importance today. However, it was quickly pointed out that speed doesn’t matter if the communications professional is not prepared and doesn’t have all the facts.  Craig VanBeeber of Lockheed Martin said that today’s communications professional is the most important person in a crisis situation in regards to getting the company message out.  While the Corporate Communications professional may not always be the person in front of the cameras, they are the ones advising and constructing the response.  That person needs to have access to all of the information as quickly as possible to coordinate an accurate and truthful response.

No Comment = Blood in the Water

Gone are the days of the “No Comment” answer.  Today, “…using no comment is like throwing blood into shark infested waters”, said Allen Mannging.  The media wants an answer, and stall tactics like that are going to make the media frustrated and cause them to not value you – the communications professional as a valid source.

Channel Surf

Using multiple channels today is also an important factor.  Southwest Airlines documented how they were able to use all of their available channels, from their spokesperson, to Twitter, their Blog, Facebook page, and more in order to quickly respond to a crisis situation.   Using all of your available channels also helps promote your transparency, attention, and concern in a situation.

Always Be Prepared

Finally, preparation is key in being able to respond quickly and accurately.  To many, this would mean having a crisis communications manual and procedures in place, but it’s a whole lot more than that.  Preparation for a crisis situation is an ongoing target.  We all know that developing key relationships with the local media and other key media points is essential to our jobs.   However, in a crisis situation, those relationships that you have cultivated and maintained will come in to play more than ever.   It is often these relationships that can help you to quickly get your message out that can often avert what may actually not have been a crisis in the first place.

Authored by Michael Pranikoff, director, emerging media, PR Newswire.

Global Crisis Communications: the Calm Before the Storm

Communicating effectively in a global crisis is now more important than ever, and press releases are not the only vehicle available.  With the Internet news cycle and the prevalence of social media, rapid and coherent response to any crisis is critical, and can determine the success or failure of your campaign.

During our recent webinar titled on global crisis communication planning, our distinguished speakers discussed ways to prepare for a crisis as well as giving examples and a good case study to illustrate their messages.  Here are a few of the points covered in the presentations:

  • Prior planning and awareness can make the difference when you need to move into crisis mode.  The time to put together your crisis plan is now, before you need it.  Be sure to include your overseas offices and agencies in the planning process to ensure all applicable areas of the world are included in your plan.
  • Juggling multiple time zones, languages and spokespeople across the globe is a challenge that every communicator needs to be ready for – just in case.  In your plan, have full contact information, including after-hours emergency information.  Have secondary and tertiary contacts in case primary contact is unavailable.  In the event of a natural disaster, this plan may make all the difference.
  • The first hour is the most important in any crisis.  Monitoring social media and using it in your first and ongoing response is now key to success.  Identify the important media in each target country or region, and include these sites in your response plan.
  • Be able to communicate in-language in any country that is of top priority.  For social media, that may mean having a local individual able to manage response.  If you do not have the available local staff, contact your agency for assistance.

As you are interested in putting together a global crisis communication plan or adapt your current plan for worldwide response, and don’t know where to start, contact us at international@prnewswire.com, and we will be happy to help.

Listen to the archived version of the webinar: http://promotions.prnewswire.com/Global-Crisis-Communication-Planning-The-Quiet-Before-the-Storm.html

Authored by Colleen Pizarev, vice president, communications strategies, PR Newswire

Image courtesy of Somegeekintn via Flickr