Common sense should reign in PR
Like me, you all probably watched with shock and awe as Hurricane Sandy made her slow trek up the East Coast, pummeling seaside towns and major cities along the way.
I headed into work on Monday, Oct. 29, with a to-do list a mile long, like you did, I’m sure. Part of that to do list was to reach out to some New York City-based editors to fill them in on some client events coming up. Did I mention they live in New York City? The same city that, on that particular day, was bracing itself for what would soon be dubbed as one of the worst storms in it’s history?
Right, okay, I did. So, knowing (or hoping) these editors were either A) evacuated safely somewhere riding out the storm or B) waiting to see what would happen as the storm passed through, I decided it would probably not be in anyone’s best interest to bother them with updates with anything that wasn’t related to where they could find a power generator and a hot cup of coffee. That just seemed like good common sense to me. My phone call could wait until later, when the storm passed and the debris cleared, and they were back in work mode.
But as I followed along on Twitter during the storm’s duration, I was amazed as some of the tweets I saw posted from media members based in the Northeast. Things like, “When a hurricane is coming through, it’s probably not a good time to pitch your story. #PRfail.”
We are keeping our friends and business colleagues affected by the storms in our prayers. And we know there will be plenty of time to connect with them once they’re back up and running, more than anything to make sure they’re okay.
Public relations is about positioning your message to the right people, at the right time. Use common sense to ascertain whether or not your timing is right when you’re contacting not just the media, but anyone, for that matter, with your story. We’re human, after all. Take time to be human, especially in light of the aftermath of an event like Hurricane Sandy. Soon enough everything will be back up and running and back to normal. And the to-do list will still be waiting for you.