A 6-Point Checklist for More Shareable Press Releases

By Alex Altman You’ve crafted the perfect headline, finagled the just-right quote, triple-checked your spelling, and scored client approval. By all traditional measures, your press release is ready for life in the wild. But how long will it survive? While quality content is important, it hardly matters if the press release isn’t sufficiently “shareable.” This wasn’t an issue 10-15 years ago, when generating awareness was as simple as sending an advisory to local media. But today, creating a buzz is more of a self-starting enterprise — one that requires both social media savvy and an understanding of how your audience […]

PR For Small Business

By Brian Murnahan (This article originally appeared in the July edition of FW Inc. Magazine) Utilizing public relations in business is often seen as a big business luxury, but in reality, even smaller businesses can use basic tools for successful PR campaigns. PR is defined around key pillars that encompass audience, message, relationship and strategy. Businesses that put a communications strategy in place based on these pillars can find it to be extremely effective. Step one involves taking the time to research and define key characteristics of your intended audience and what value points matter to that group. Use research drawn […]

How LaVar Ball Built a Billion Dollar Brand with Brashness

By Alex Altman A few days from now, Lonzo Ball will be a top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’ll almost assuredly be taken by the Los Angeles Lakers, his hometown team, where the former UCLA point guard will instantly become the face of the NBA’s most iconic franchise. But he still won’t score as many headlines as his father. If you haven’t heard of LaVar Ball, it’s not for his lack of trying. For the last several months, the patriarch of the Ball basketball dynasty has seared his way into the public consciousness with a string of comments […]

How Sorry Apologies Doomed Pepsi and United Airlines

  By Alex Altman, contributing writer More than a month later, the bruises still shine bright. No matter what they do, Pepsi and United Airlines can’t outrun the ignominy of their recent PR blunders. In an age where attention spans are as limited as airplane legroom, that’s really saying something. At this point, pretty much every aspect of these mistakes has been unpacked. And what’s interesting is that while both situations transpired in completely different ways, they’re bound by common themes: including weak apologies that only made matters worse. When you make a mistake, an immediate, thoughtful and thorough apology […]

6 Solutions for Combating Fake News

By Alex Altman Six months after the election, fake news continues to be a real threat. Not just to the political system, but to businesses and the PR professionals charged with safeguarding their fragile public images. If last year’s campaign season taught us anything, it’s that people will believe anything that supports their personal agendas. That’s how fibs like Pizzagate, a wild conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton and a human trafficking ring, spread like wildfire and become part of the national conversation. While most will read a story like Pizzagate and ponder the political implications, there’s another victim here: the […]

5 Companies Winning in PR and the Reasons Why

By Alex Altman From polls to social media, there are many ways to measure a brand’s public image. But trying to figure out what drove that perception in the first place is a different story. Several factors lead consumers to form the belief that Brand A is good and Brand B is bad. But study the most reputable companies in the world and you’ll find there are more commonalities than you think. Here are five brands with favorable public images, and the reasons they appeal to consumers. Rolex There’s a reason Rolex is the most respected company in the world. […]

Tips for Working with Social Influencers

By Alex Altman The relationship between brands and celebrities goes back decades. Watch TV for an hour today and it’s a virtual certainty that you’ll see Jennifer Garner hawking credit cards, Chris Paul peddling insurance, or some other famous person selling you something you don’t need. In 2017 though, you don’t need to star in sport or cinema to get paid like a celebrity for endorsing a product. All you need is a large social presence. People who wield their social clout to promote brand messages on their own accounts are known as social influencers, and they’re part of a […]

Travis Kalanick’s Uber PR Problem

By Alex Altman It’s been a bumpy ride for Uber so far in 2017. In January, the company was excoriated for not disavowing President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order — a decision that spurred 200,000 customers to delete the app. But in some ways, what happened a month later was even more damaging to Uber’s reputation. On February 27, dash cam footage showed CEO arguing with Uber driver Fawzi Kamel over prices. In the video, Kamel complains that the company’s oft-changing policies had caused him to go bankrupt. “I lost $97,000 because of you,” he told Kalanick. “I’m bankrupt because […]

3 PR Trends That Will Define 2017

By Alex Altman We’re only two months into 2017 and already we’re living in a drastically different PR world than a year ago. The media is under siege. New technologies are transcending the way people consume information. And social media is a volcano primed to erupt the very moment a brand or public figure does or says anything even remotely controversial. A reasonable argument can be made that the need for PR has never been greater. With that in mind, here are a few of the trends that will come to define 2017. Tougher Journalists Since taking office, President Donald […]

War of Words: Trump’s Feud with Press Reaches Boil

By Alex Altman Mere hours after the inauguration, Time reporter Zeke Miller unwittingly gave President Donald Trump the ultimate gift. Standing in the Oval Office, surrounded by fellow members of the press corps, Miller made what he thought was a stunning observation: the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was missing. On January 20, Miller shared the scoop with his 150,000 Twitter followers without first verifying with the White House that the bust was no longer there. Not surprisingly, the missive uncorked a tidal wave of anger about the apparent omission. The reaction was none of Miller’s concern. It’s […]