Tag: PR

Unfriendly skies

April 12th, 2017   •   no comments   

This is a cautionary tale — about reputation, story and social media.

The world loves a story. United Airlines’ misadventure in passenger ‘re-accommodation’ on a flight from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday is a reminder of what can go wrong when companies fail to remember that.

If the world loves a story, the internet loves outrage. And nothing helps outrage go viral better than Facebook, where a fellow passenger first posted the video of the man – a doctor – being bodily dragged from the plane by security agents. Later images of his bleeding head only served to fan the flames.

It seemed that once the story was out, it was like a train speeding out of control – impossible to derail before the train wreck.

But it was only once the damage hit the company where it hurt – in its share price – that the CEO finally issued an apology. A real one, not the the wooden excuse first issued by United on its website. Timing is everything, and had this statement been issued immediately, it may have helped avert the worst disaster. read more

5 reasons to hire a writer

November 25th, 2015   •   no comments   
5 reasons to hire a writer

Let’s talk about that project that’s been sitting on your to-do list. It could be updating the company website, planning a content marketing campaign or writing a thank-you letter to the team. You could always write the copy yourself. You know the brief and besides, it’s not like writing is rocket science or even graphic design – both of which would obviously require a professional. That kind of thinking is why so many communications arrive late, lack focus or fail to provide an intelligible message.

Here are 5 reasons why you should consider hiring a professional writer for your next communications project.

  1. We put our thinking caps on
    You may have noticed that writers ask an annoying number of questions. Who is your audience? What is the news? Why are you communicating about it? Without clear answers to those questions, your words are just a bunch of characters strung together to form sentences. Writers put their thinking caps on before they start to write. They look at your project from an unbiased angle and ask all the right questions to make it shine.
  2. Because spellcheck
    No tool can replace a good pair of eyes and a sharp red pencil. Lest you think we writers are highfalutin intellectual types, let’s acknowledge the importance of editing and proofreading. This involves more than dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s – a good writer edits not just spelling and grammar but context. This will prevent you from making fatal communications errors like these.
  3. Return on investment
    No matter what the platform, every penny you invest in having a writer hone and polish your message pays big dividends. Perfectly written, engaging copy reflects well on you and your brand. And here’s a deep, dark secret: the services of a professional writer will not cost as much as you expect. In the grand scheme of things, writing is cheap. Far less than a rocket scientist.
  4. No one needs to know
    The reason they call it ‘ghost writing’ is that most professional writers work behind the scenes. Basically, we do the work and you take all the credit. PR writers like myself ghost for fellow communicators and top management, among others. We are a go-to resource when time and budgets and tight. And there is one very good reason for this…
  5. You’re better at something else
    Let’s face it: we’re all good at something. A few people are fortunate enough to be good at more than one thing. I know other communicators who are inspirational speech-writers and great presenters but who hate having to sit down before a blank page. Some of them are my clients. They come to me because my strength is the written word. Yours may be decoding data, managing a global team or selling ice cream to Eskimos. Whatever you do well or bring value to should be what you spend your time on.

I’ve got my thinking cap on now.

5 things blogging has taught me

May 12th, 2015   •   no comments   
5 things blogging has taught me

I am a writer. Ever since I was old enough to hold a pen, I’ve used it to put my thoughts on paper. From telling stories to selling widgets — you name it, I’ve written it.

As a writer who has honed her skills on just about every form of the art, I didn’t expect to learn much about the craft of writing from blogging. I was wrong. Since starting a personal blog in January 2013, my writing has improved immensely. Here’s what I’ve learned:

Blogging is a form of writing that requires a specific focus and edge. It is not enough to have something to say: sharing useful information with your audience is necessary but far from sufficient. You also need to share your personal point of view. Even if you are an expert in a particular field or niche, you need to get your point across in a voice that is uniquely yours.

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#JeSuisCharlie: What communicators can learn

January 14th, 2015   •   no comments   
#JeSuisCharlie: What communicators can learn

What can communicators learn from last week’s terror attacks in Paris?

No matter what your position on the issue – whether or not the satirists at Charlie Hebdo were right in publishing caricatures of the Muslim prophet – the outcome of their editorial choices cannot be ignored. Extremism and satire make strange bedfellows.

In my view there are 5 key thoughts for communicators to take away:

  1. Freedom of expression is a powerful shared value. Free speech as a value overrides nation, religion and politics in the western world. People are united by this value in ways that run deeper than previously imagined. This is both a freedom and a burden, as it puts the onus on communicators to respect that freedom, and its limits, in the context of their business.
  1. It takes courage to live that value, both as individuals and communication professionals. Religious extremists and zealots of all persuasions will go to unimaginable lengths to avenge their gods. Sometimes there is a cost associated with speaking our minds or sharing certain truths. We need to be aware – and sometimes beware – of the consequences of our communications.

read more

Corporate Speak: Are you guilty?

October 31st, 2014   •   no comments   
Corporate Speak: Are you guilty?

We all do it: say ‘leverage’ when we mean use, talk about ‘granularity’ instead of detail, refer to deliverables, low-hanging fruit, moving targets, key learnings. But what about the more serious culprits? Where we use euphemisms like ‘headcount’ for people, ‘change management’ to suggest restructuring – which is not to say downsizing, efficiencies, or heaven forbid, job cuts.

It can be tough to avoid using buzzwords and jargon in the world of corporate communication. Part of our job in PR is getting tough messages out on behalf of our bosses and clients. And after all, a good catch phrase or a cliché can get an idea across faster than trying to invent something new. Can’t it? read more

Can communication restore lost faith?

October 9th, 2014   •   no comments   
Can communication restore lost faith?

 After a two-week strike by pilots that left both passengers and crew on the tarmac, Air France KLM is fighting hard to regain lost ground. But in the long haul, it will take more than a letter of apology to win back customers

I’ve been flying between France and Canada for over twenty years. We usually travel back to Toronto at least once a year to visit family and friends. Several years ago we decided not to fly Air France anymore – it’s just too risky.

I’m not talking about safety – although the article in the October 2014 edition of Vanity Fair on the ill-fated flight from Rio to Paris isn’t exactly reassuring. The fact is Air France is just as safe as any of the world’s major airlines. And statistically, air travel is still the safest form of transportation.

It’s the risk of a strike that holds us back. Especially as we often travel around Christmas or during the summer holidays: prime strike season in France. And we are not alone in avoiding the national airline, especially since the latest round of cancellations.

It’s one thing to lose your luggage, even keep you waiting. Passengers are fairly understanding of delays caused by technical problems. It’s all in how it’s handled. And that almost always comes down to communication. read more

How to be a superhero

December 10th, 2013   •   no comments   
How to be a superhero

As we reach the end of 2013, it’s a time when many of us reflect back on the year and ask ourselves, ‘What could I have done better?’

This presentation from Bruce Kasanoff offers some of the best advice I can think of. (Especially Rule #1) Whether you apply it to your business, your relationships or any other aspect of your life…the world needs more heroes!

Give it a read: it’s quick, it’s fun and it’s something we can all do to make our world better.
Click to view on SlideShare: How to be a superhero!

How to tell a compelling story

November 26th, 2013   •   no comments   
How to tell a compelling story

A story is the shortest distance between you and your audience. How can you make storytelling work for your business or brand?

With the rise of social media, everyone with a smartphone has a picture to post, a point of view to blog about or a new link to share across the digital world. The explosion of so much content makes it all the more challenging for brands to cut through the clutter.

You can create compelling content that will engage your customers and keep them coming back. Content marketing has transformed the way brands interact with their customers – and storytelling is an essential tool for building relationships.  What’s more, your business is brimming with stories just waiting to be told. Stories that are relevant, timely and worthy of sharing.

To do this successfully requires a basic understanding of the art of storytelling. And that begs the question: how do you tell a compelling story? read more

Message from the White House

October 10th, 2013   •   no comments   
Message from the White House

As a communication professional I admire good PR regardless of creed or politics. So I’ve decided to share a letter that the Obama White House issued to address the government shutdown with U.S. federal employees. Simply because it provides, in my opinion, an example of good PR writing.

Why? Because it begins with an understanding of audience. Continues with an emphasis on the 3 most important letters in PR (“y-o-u”). Because it tells the truth (or contains factual information). Because it is true to its brand, with core messages throughout. Along with ample amounts of the secret ingredient of all good communication: emotion. read more