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Things that go bump in the night!

What keeps you up at night? 

That’s the question that public relations practitioners ask, and the answer yields strategic insights and opportunities.  But what about a different – dare I say spin – perspective on that.  What keeps a PR practitioner up at night?  Although it doesn’t happen often, it would be a lie to say I’ve never had a sleepless night that was work or client related.  

In honor of Halloween, here are some of the ghosts I’ve wrestled with or things that have scared the you-know-what out of me.

  • Cold Feet:  The CEO who wanted executive visibility, funded a publicity program and approved the media materials … but then balks or refuses to participate in an interview with a prominent reporter.  (What’s even scarier is the article that ensues when the reporter moves forward without interviewing the CEO and thus needed to include other sources when it could have been a singularly focused, positive feature.)
  • Unintended Attribution:  The PR person provides the background information to a reporter, who then decides it’s not necessary to interview company executives and attributes everything by saying, “according, to Rose McKinney, PR spokesperson for XYZ company.”
  • MIA:  A roundup feature article includes a number of prominent players in a particular industry – just not your organization and the person who funds the PR wants to know why their company is Missing In Action.
  • Oops:  Although a key document went through rounds of approvals and proofreading scrutiny, there’s a darn typoo that no one caught. 
  • Ghost Town:  You plan the event, make all the arrangements, promote it and the venue might as well be a Ghost Town … no one shows up.
  • Not Guilty:  Even though we didn’t make the decision or the mistake that has everyone up in arms, we’re viewed as the perpetrator in the court of public opinion.
  • Never, Never, Never:  The letter L is absolutely critical to the word public, especially when you’re writing about public relations.

Trick or treat!  I’ll never tell which of these really happened and which were simply bad dreams.