The ‘empathy balance’: Promotion in a time of crisis

A PR professional’s guide to pitching media during times of crisis.

A PR professional’s guide to pitching media during times of crisis

As Hurricane Gustav churned in the Gulf of Mexico, public relations professionals across the country bantered about angles to pitch the press to generate high-value editorial coverage for their respective companies or clients.

A natural disaster can sure gin up public relations opportunities. The timeliness of the event enhances the news value of a product or service that can help address the crisis. This window closes quickly, so it is prudent for a company to evaluate how it can appropriately promote its interests when it is most opportune.

Consider the lightning-sparked wild fires that plagued California this past summer. Providers of rugged tactical radios and related computer products showcased how their solutions helped first responders tackle the flames. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was a catalyst for a number of stories about the reliability of satellite communications. Even a really big storm can’t knock a satellite out of the sky, or so our specific pitch to the media went.

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