June 30, 2011

Don't threaten the press

You’ve come out with a new product or service and are convinced it’s the best thing since sliced cheese and apple pie. You’ve hired a PR company to help get you traction — or you've gone it alone — and you’ve already garnered a few glowing reviews. Then the tides turn. John Doe of Big Daily Newspaper writes a scathing review of your brainchild — your baby. And you’re heartbroken in the first breath and filled with boiling blood in the second. What do you do?

Here’s what not to do: threaten them.

Recently, the publicist for the new Duke Nukem Forever, a highly anticipated video game 15 years in the making, did just that after a slew of bad reviews. And he did it via Twitter, threatening that the sour reviews will determine who receives the next go-round of games and who doesn’t. Like the rest of humanity, members of press don’t take kindly to blackmail, so this clearly did not go over well. (Feel free to read more about it.)

Remember this, my friends: members of the press have one job — to share information. Oh, sure; they don’t all exercise their jobs appropriately. Some write fluff pieces and advertorial and the like, but that ethos is typically driven by the media outlet for which they work. Regardless, however, they have no allegiance to you or anyone else they’re writing about. If you want your offering depicted with flawless verbiage, you must purchase an ad. And hiring a good publicist to help position your offering can be vastly helpful. When it comes to reviews, though, you have no recourse.

People — press included — will either like your brainchild or they won’t. Use the feedback to be better — or, if it’s unwarranted, brush it off. And remember: getting press — good or bad — puts you in front of people who otherwise wouldn’t have known about your offering. Even bad reviews of the video game at hand will garner interest in the product. The publicist’s threats will only make it less likely present and future clients’ video games get reviewed again, for good — or bad.

So, if you feel you've been slighted by a member of the press and are contemplating sending a nasty email or the like, first count to 10, 20 or even 100 before, if you have to. But whatever you do, don't theaten them...or else.

About the Author

Brook Larios

Brook Larios

Brook's 14 years of professional communications experience spans newsroom reporting, national nonprofit and luxury public relations management and building a successful pr agency founded on uncommon connections and creativity. She's a lover of horses, fitness, reading, nature and good conversation. Zany and approachable, Brook prefers removing the surface rather than scratching it.