Take a Spin Class

 In Crisis, Media Relations, PR 101, Trending

DiGiorno Pizza’s lack of research for this trending topic led to a major social media meltdown.

Before we send a tweet, eNewsletter, Facebook post, statement or any type of content out for SPR or our clients, we take a minute to spin around in our chairs. That may sound silly, but by spinning around in our chairs, we remind ourselves to take a 360-degree look at the content we’re distributing.

In a time where it’s so easy to press “send” on emails and post on social content, we encourage everyone to take a beat and consider your words. There are so many examples of brands trying to hijack trending topics, only to find out they didn’t do sufficient research to why the topic was being discussed. (We’re looking at your DiGiorno.)

The most recent mistake is brought to us by Adidas. After this week’s Boston Marathon, the zenith of marathon running, Adidas – a sponsor of the event – sent finishers an eNewsletter congratulating them on completing the 121st annual race. Seems harmless enough, but wait until you read the subject line of that eNewsletter: “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!”

Obviously, the content received tremendous backlash, given the history of the race. People took to Twitter to question how the brand could overlook the connotations of the subject line after three people were killed and more than 260 were injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.
An Adidas spokesperson told TIME magazine in a statement, “We are incredibly sorry. Clearly, there was no thought given to the insensitive email subject lined we sent Tuesday.”

Whether you’re a global brand distributing content to millions or a small firm trying to increase exposure in the community, taking the following few steps each time your finger is reaching for that “send” button will ultimately lead to fewer headaches and a more loyal audience.

  1. After writing the content – wherever it may be placed – take a minute to re-read it thoroughly. This is good practice for catching typos, but also good to take a second look at your work.
  2. Next, take a break from the content and do another task. I know this isn’t always possible, but when you come back to the content with fresh eyes, you may see something you previously overlooked.
  3. Now that you’ve re-read the content, time for spinning. As you spin, consider how the content you’ve created for your client affects their target audiences. Is the content on message and relaying the correct tone? Could anyone take the content out-of-context or be offended by the words? What is going on in the world today that could negatively impact this content? (Don’t spin too quickly, since you need time to think … and you may have just had lunch!)
  4. If you’re responding to a post or jumping on to a trending topic, do your due diligence to figure out just what the topic is about first.
  5. Once you’ve thought about all the angles, now it’s time to press send!

I’m not suggesting brand’s should not have opinions or sass, when appropriate, or that you have to be boring. Quite the opposite actually. If your brand persona has a little bite with its bark, that’s great! I’m suggesting that you take a minute in this high-speed world to consider the impact of your words. After all, it could impact your or your clients’ bottom lines.

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