Diary of a PR Amateur

Putting Out Fires

May 3, 2010
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I was put into this role for various reasons, and I’m happy to list them for you:

1. I’m an excellent writer
2. I’m not afraid to say what is on my mind
3. I’m creative
4. I’m a strategic thinker
5. I’m not a “yes-man,” but I can be, if necessary
6. I’m tall and not fat
7. I’m handsome
8. My name is easy to remember, which helps me develop relationships with reporters
9. I know how to take technology and make it understandable for the average person
10. My salary demands were not too high

But there is one reason that trumps them all, and it’s the one I’m most proud to discuss. I put out fires.

That’s right. I’m the fireman. You got a communications crisis? You come to me.

So when that announcement went out about our new head of corporate development, and it was clear that the media were going to attack the company for possibly expanding “in new directions,” I was ready.

Of course, I didn’t write the release the way I did for the purpose of making myself look good. In actuality, I had wanted to make the new guy look bad. But as luck would have it, I was able to put out the fire and make myself look good to management as a result. Not a bad bonus, huh?

So, how did I do it?

Simple. I called each reporter, one-by-one, and told them that the language in the release, written without thinking it through, was misleading, and that the company is not going in new directions. In fact, I told them, “you can even say that this new guy isn’t going to change things at all for us.”

Well, the articles didn’t come out yet, but one things is for sure: This fire has been put out … by the fireman.

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