Any PR pro worth their salt knows that getting ahead of the next story is a key goal to any campaign, but not always that easy. Often, the first one there has a chance to frame the conversation and in turn, reap the results.
RLM PR CEO and Bad Pitch blogger Richard Laermer gives an excellent example today, via the Microsoft / Yahoo ongoing saga:
When the deal fell apart, Microsoft was smart and engaged the press early. Their PR team reached out and massaged reporters, putting the blame squarely on Yahoo.
The press painted a picture that made Microsoft seem reasonable and open to negotiations. Microsoft’s flexibility was met by an unwillingness on the part of Yahoo to negotiate or cooperate. The reason the deal fell apart had nothing to do with the suddenly valiant Microsoft; it fell apart because Yahoo was unreasonable.
Certainly, Yahoo felt the heat both from the press and shareholders. This everything to do with shareholder Carl Icahn’s rumored proxy fight, and the continued impression of the Yahoo board as irresponsible.
As Laermer notes, “The effect PR has goes way beyond people liking you, your product or your company. Always be the first person/company/whatever talking to the press. If it’s not you it’s your competition. Beat them to the punch; put your brand, your spin and your ideas out there.”