Friday, April 29, 2016

Five #PR Lessons from the Kelly and Michael Drama

Recently, the on-air talent for the morning television show “Live! With Kelly and Michael” experienced some unwanted publicity. A change in personnel was announced, and very unexpectedly, the two stars BECAME the news. ABC apparently informed Kelly about Michael’s departure from the show just minutes before the public announcement. Naturally, Kelly was upset and angry and opted out of appearing on the daytime talk show for four days. Upon her return, the two presented a united public face, but there may be tension behind-the-scenes. As a result of this public drama, we can all learn some valuable lessons about public relations.


Think about Kelly’s complaint about being blind sighted by the news announcement. Whether you work in a mom-and-pop store, a small business, or a nonprofit, how news is communicated can be just as important as the news that is being communicated. Therefore, assemble the people who will be most impacted by the announcement and share the news one-on-one. Let people digest the news and answer all questions at that time before announcing the news to the entire company – or to the public.


Was ABC’s announcement made at the best possible time? When you plan a significant announcement for your business, consider the day, the time, and the month. It might be best to make an announcement at the end of a month or the end of a quarter. Perhaps, your business has reached a financial milestone, so an announcement makes sense at that time. But whatever decision you make, implement a timing strategy for your announcement.


Think about the content of ABC’s announcement
a change in personnel hasn’t happened too often over the years, so it was bound to attract media coverage but certainly not the HOW and WHEN of the announcement. When a new announcement is made, employees and the outside community often look at the announcement by placing it in context with your company’s past news announcements and/or product/service launches. Therefore, does the latest announcement seem in line with the direction of the company, or does it seem like it came out of left field? Don’t confuse your audiences or stakeholders.

Think about how Kelly took a few days off to think about her reaction. She then returned to the show with a smile on her face. If unexpected things happen upon making a public announcement, your executive or leadership team must be prepared to admit a lack of judgment or erroneous information. They need to be comfortable in front of a camera and dealing with members of the media. Your company’s future could be at stake, so your media preparation is critical.

Immediately upon hearing the announcement, many social media channels lit up with the hashtag #KellyandMichael with all types of comments. Upon hearing unexpected news, don’t immediately rush to your favorite social media platforms. Remember that once something is posted to the Internet, it takes on a life of its own, and you cannot take it back or delete it. Therefore, keep your comments to yourself. If you have to tell someone, tell yourself in a mirror at home – not to the receptionist at your workplace – and definitely not on Twitter or Facebook.

Lastly, remember that everything your business does is in some way reflected outside your workplace walls. Even if you run a small business or small nonprofit, you have an audience, customers, constituents, and stakeholders. Since you want your news announcements to be met with a positive reaction, think strategically before publicizing your news to avoid as many surprising reactions as possible.

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