January 4, 2013
Using Charity Work to Overcome Publicity Snafus
Your business is your lifeline and you devote enormous amounts of time, energy and money towards making it the best. Despite your best efforts, unfortunate incidents can hit your company without warning and beyond your power. You need to stem the flow of negative publicity before things spiral completely out of control, and direct attention elsewhere to put your company back in the positive limelight.
Unless you’re completely disconnected from pop culture, you know that the best PR companies for celebrities often have their hands full cleaning up the regrettable moments of their clients. Fortunately, you can incorporate some of their tactics when faced with less than stellar chatter about your business.
You can’t turn back time to erase a disastrous episode, but you can turn the spotlight on a more positive picture of your company. Monetary donations, dedication of time, and other efforts to charitable causes can be coordinated to defeat bad press – or at least distract some attention away from it.
Taking first the concept of financial contributions, I want to stress that these are important only when used in conjunction with other measures. After all, we’re talking about making a swift and immediate impact to divert eager cyber minds away from negative chatter. Your money is obviously a generous gesture, but 5WPR has seen firsthand that writing a check is not going to buy a shiny new image.
The truth is that donations of time toward charitable causes go further than money alone. You don’t necessarily need to spend a year abroad with Doctors Without Borders to draw interest away from your medical practice that got hit with a malpractice suit. But a presence of some sort at popular, local events with a charity angle is easy and can be accomplished on a modest budget.
Even before you have the need to work out damage control, it’s wise to cultivate and develop relationships with charities. You will be first in line when they consider which company is the right fit for their silent auction or event sponsorship.
Participating in a meaningful way to charitable causes has an impact that will resonate with the online distribution channels when properly focused. The best part is that the charity itself usually takes the lead role in publicity of an event, whether it’s a gala for community leaders or plunging into a frigid lake in the middle of January. Society websites in larger cities and social media events pages are filled with pictures of the past weekend’s fund raiser and announcements of upcoming festivities. This visibility is priceless to your company’s image.
You’ll also need to do your part to circulate your company’s charitable contributions. Post your involvement on all of your blogs, and include links to the charity’s page of sponsors and participants. Take your own pictures at the event, and upload these to your website and blog posts. Of course, charity events are perfect newsworthy pieces to include in a press release. Focus your content on how your company is generously invested in the community and involved at a local level.