Media Kits and You

Today’s blog is going to be a little different. Rather than learn by the example of others, I want to talk to you about something I’ve been working on for a while. Let’s talk about my digital media kit.

As I explained in my first post on this blog, I am currently enrolled in a Principles of Public Relations class at Missouri State University. It’s been a wonderful experience and I feel like I’ve learned so much about PR, but that’s beside the point. Throughout this semester, one of our assignments has been to create something called a digital media kit.

A digital media kit is a tool for both your company and reporters. Whenever you launch a product, you will use a media kit to organize all the company information, PSA’s, news releases, and more related to the launch. Then, reporters, reviewers, and more can look in your media kit and pick out the information they want to use. A well-constructed media kit will make covering your product release an even more attractive option.

For this assignment, I had to come up with a fictional company, then that company had to launch a fictional product. Then, I had to create a media kit for that launch. I came up with a company called EnerGG, a fictional energy drink company known for their natural energy boosters that replace caffeine and sugar. For the media kit, EnerGG will be “releasing” a new product called EnerGG Apple, a new twist on their signature drink. In the kit, I included a fact sheet, a news release, a radio PSA, some artwork, testimonials, and a page of general industry information.

This kit is the culmination of everything I’ve been blogging about these past few months, and I am proud of the result. I hope you find something useful in the kit and, beyond that, I hope you feel like you’ve learned a little bit about public relations. I know I have.

Enjoy!

Spinning by Example: Crises Communication

Let’s talk about crises.

From time to time in the PR world, things are going to go wrong. Sometimes it will be a minor hiccup, sometimes more. Occasionally it will be a disaster that draws the attention of the entire nation. That last one is what I want to talk about today.

In 2014, the Virgin Airlines spacecraft SpaceShipTwo was torn apart during a test flight and crashed to the ground in California. The pilot survived with serious injuries, but the co-pilot did not. An investigation eventually found that the feathered tail-bloom system, which increased drag, was deployed earlier than expected while the rocket was still accelerating. This caused the rocket to tear itself apart.

Although the cause was human error, it was determined that the design of the aircraft Image result for virgin airlines galactic crashand the training of the pilots included no safety measures for human-caused error, instead opting to focus on errors in responding to catastrophic failures. For more details regarding the specifics of the accident, read this article. There is also this video by ABC.

Now it seems like this situation is set up to be the perfect PR disaster storm. It’s an industry that many are unsure about the safety of, it seems like there was neglect for industry safety standards and regulations, and people died as a result of it. However, Virgin found Richard Branson managed to stop the impending doom of his space program with some brilliant crisis control and I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned in his response over the hours and days that followed the crash.

Within hours of the crash, Branson had tweeted about the crash, extending apologies and loving words to the families of the victims. He then immediately flew to the scene of the crash and released a blog post about the incident before the mainstream media outlets had picked it up. In the post, he called the pilots brave, had more kind words for the surviving families, and let the world know that the space program would “persevere” through the tragedy.

The lesson to be learned here is in spinning crises. That sounds bad at first, but it doesn’t mean that a bunch of men in a board room are twirling their mustaches and trying to convince the world that the victim is at fault. Instead, it simply means that there are a lot of ways to approach a story, so maybe you should try and convince news outlets to approach it your way.

Look at Branson’s responses. He could have talked about safety regulations; then the world would ask why they didn’t follow them. He could have talked about the rigorous training their pilots went through; then the world would ask why they didn’t think a human could cause an error instead of simply respond to one. Neither of those is very good, but there is a third option. He could talk about the brave pilots who were taken before their time and extend his heart and his good wishes to their families; then the world would ask what they could do to help those in grieving.

Bingo.

By focusing on the human element, Branson was able to keep Virgin’s space program alive. Now, instead of shutting down to avoid more senseless tragedy, they could continue the course in memory of the pilots. By spinning the story to in his favor, Branson was able to prop the victims up while standing next to them. That’s something every PR professional should aim for in a crisis situation.

See you next time.

Let’s learn PR

Hello friend! My name is Austin Lambkin and I’m a Public Relations student currently enrolled at Missouri State University.  I’m excited to get into this blog, but first let me tell you about myself.

I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and spent almost my entire childhood there (there was a brief stint in New York, but let’s not worry about the little details). My entire life, I’ve had a knack for anything involving words. Reading, writing, public speaking, and anything else in between. You name it, I was good at it and excelled at it.

That’s actually what led me to Public Relations (or PR, if you want to sound like a professional to strangers). I realized that, oftentimes, I was better at articulating the ideas of other people than they were and they often appreciated any help I could give them. Nothing annoys me more than when someone has a great idea but can’t seem to find the words to tell anybody about it.

Anyways, enough about me. Let’s get into what this blog actually IS.

This blog is going to be my way to show the world all the wonderful intricacies and theories of Public Relations (it may also be my way of earning points in class). But don’t let that discourage you! I am still incredibly excited to write this blog and share PR with the world. However, it is generally a good idea to be transparent in your actions and reasoning, so here we are.

Before I found PR, I was studying to become a Chemist. I still carry that love of theories and deep knowledge pools around with me, and PR has a lot to offer in both departments. I can’t wait to share all that I have learned and am still learning with you and the rest of the internet.

If there is anything specific that you are trying to learn about or if you just want to tell me how excited you are, leave a comment down below. Otherwise, see you next time!