Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How Twitter, Google and even Airbnb can shape your media relations

Media relations is a moving target in a social media age, but it's clear that old tools and tactics need to adjust. One perhaps-overlooked source of ideas: Big social businesses like Google, Twitter and even Airbnb. They've got data and decision-making you can put to use in your own media outreach efforts:
  • That press release diet's looking pretty meaty right now: The latest updates to Google are resulting in huge decreases in the search-results rankings for press releases published by third-party sites like Vocus's PRWeb. What does huge mean, this time? PRWeb lost half its traffic in one night, May 27. Paying attention to Google's algorithm updates and their impact on press releases is a must for media relations mavens. Makes publishing your news on your own blog look even smarter, doesn't it? Those authentically published posts retain their strength in the search engine in this update. Find more ideas on doing that in my series on the press release diet.
  • Running with scenarios: When Airbnb was confronted with a renter who was throwing an open-to-the-public orgy in a New York apartment, the real news became how the company swung into action. Within 24 hours, it had changed the locks on the apartment, moved the owner into a hotel for the week and wired him more than $23,000. The secret to rapid response and crisis management and communications here? Running scenarios. Fast Company reports that "the company spent the past year preparing for scandals not just related to sex parties, but also to prostitution and even suicide. 'Because we're a high-profile company, there are things that will go wrong,' Airbnb hospitality chief Chip Conley told me recently. "So how do we deal with the aftermath of things that don't go well?'" They ran scenarios they thought had a tiny chance of happening, just in case. Does your communications team do the same as part of your crisis comms planning? There's no better way to be ready to respond.
  • Big news event prep: And speaking of events that make big news, you need a different Twitter strategy, whether you are changing how you post on Twitter during a crisis at your location, or responding (or getting out of the way) when a major news event takes over the tweets. Because Twitter has been generous in helping researchers access its gigantic data sets, you can base those decisions on something solid. For example, this study looks at how Twitter changes during a big news event: Everyday conversations take a dive, while attention shifts to the elite users. That doesn't mean you're out of the picture if you've taken the time to establish your Twitter feed as a reliable source of information--and if the issue happens to be yours, you could have a big influence on the discussion.
Where are you getting your creative ideas for media strategies?

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Effie Yang)

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