The Podcast Playbook For Managing A PR Crisis And Emerging Stronger

 

In today’s digital age, a PR crisis can erupt in an instant and have lasting consequences. But don’t freak out! Tom Hazard and Tracy Hazzard are here to help you navigate the new world of AI-powered damage control. Forget burying bad news – it’s all about video, audio, and blog posts that get you back in the good graces of the tech gods (and your audience). Plus, some essential tips on getting ahead of the curve and having the right team on your side. Regain control and rebuild trust after negative publicity. Don’t miss this episode for a step-by-step approach to managing a PR crisis!

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The Podcast Playbook For Managing A PR Crisis And Emerging Stronger

Understanding The Evolution Of PR Crisis Management In The Age Of AI

We’re going to talk about the playbook for managing a PR crisis and emerging stronger from it. I’d tell you, we have seen many others deal with some serious PR crises in the past. The big message today, I think you’ll agree, Tracy, is what used to work years ago is not necessarily going to work today because technology has changed. Is that right?

That’s right. Yeah. We have actually done this episode before. It’s older, I think it was probably three or four years ago. It’s a while ago that we did this where we talked about how to combat negative SEO. That’s actually what the episode was about. It’s about when you have anything negative about you that’s showing up in Google, how do you combat it? It’s called negative search engine optimization. You’ve got to combat the negative with positive, or you’ve got to push it down in the search engine. That’s what you do. In an AI world, that’s not how it works anymore. That’s what we really have to talk about is you need a different strategy for how you’re going to handle the PR. I’m not so sure, Tom, that the PR firms are really up on this yet.

I don’t know if they’re aware of the reality of how this is changing their entire industry of PR really. Honestly, they should be, but I agree. I think there’s so much sneaking up on them because of the advancement of technology. We know some people that have PR agencies who have been very skilled at pushing down negative stories. The way they used to do it, it just doesn’t work today, but there is a method that does.

Let’s talk about the way it used to work. It used to work that if you had a bunch of negative stories, so let’s say you had Acme Business, because I’m not going to pick on anyone, Real Estate Acme Business, I’ll pick the real estate because there’s a lot of that fraud, and somebody typed that in, and there was any story about you, that would come up because Google and the SEO rankings is based on relevance. If somebody put in a fraud alert or reported you to any one of those negative companies, had a negative review about you, did any of those things, what was going to happen is that it would show up at the top of the search engine.

 

Feed Your Brand | Managing A PR Crisis

 

The only way to combat that is to take those same search engine terms, which nothing in that changed from what we’re going to recommend for today, it’s just how you do it. If you had Acme Business fraud as the search term that somebody did, or Acme Business Bad Review, any of those things, any of those negative terms, you have to put that in the title of your article or of your message, of your interview, of whatever it is that you did. The second part of that is that you could do it by proliferation, by having much more current content. If you’d started a podcast, your content, because it’s first person, would push down all those other things until they became no longer relevant because you just had so much new content.

No one’s going to go to the fourth or fifth page of Google search. You’re lucky if they go to the third. In the traditional search engine model, this worked.

A PR crisis firm, any firm handling PR crisis, they would go out and they would get you tons of interviews, and they would recommend you tons of blogs or did tons of podcasts or videos, all of those things. They would do that. I think the number, if I remember right, was somewhere around 50. You’d need to do about 50 to push it down enough, and that would work. Some of them, not every one of them, but at some point in those conversations, in those articles, you had to deal with the bad review, the fraud, you had to address those keywords so that they would show up somewhere in the conversation, or somewhere in the article.

You could flip it and you could spin it so that it was positive. You wanted to do that. You didn’t have to do that in all 50, but you had to do it in at least, I’d say about 20% of it, you needed to actual comment on the words that you were showing up for negatively. Now, it’s a little bit heftier. I think, Tom, we probably need to explain how AI is working to understand the difference. Search engine ranking was based on relevance and authority. Relevance meant if I typed in, I was looking for your company’s name, and I was looking for any fraud alert or any fraud and fraudulent information or crime or history or anything like that, it wants to give me what I’m looking for. It wants to bring that to the top because that’s actually the relevant terms. It’s looking for that phrase, but it also is looking for that phrase in the most current information, because that’s also what relevance means. It’s more current than something that would be two years old or a year old or even three months old.

 

 

It wants it from some authoritative sources. The most authoritative source is not your own voice. It’s not your own website. When a company tries to put out a statement or a press release on their website, it’s not enough. It needs to come from some third party that has an authority. That’s why the crisis PR firms will send you on an interview tour, get you interviewed by the local newspaper, the local radio station, the local TV station. You want to try to get that so that that happens for you in your industry or in your locality, which is also relevance factors for Google. That’s how it used to work. Anything you want to add, Tom?

No, I think you really nailed it. All those factors the chronological order of posts, which you mentioned the timeliness, the most current of it, was a much bigger factor than it is in the world of AI search today. As these tools are getting so rapidly and widely adopted, it is truly changing the game. It means the tactics for dealing with this have changed, but you can still, the good news is, for all you podcasters out there, all you people wanting to be a guest on more podcasts, going on podcasts and getting that content published out there is still an excellent way to do it, but your strategy has to adjust a little.

That’s why most PR firms would send you on radio interviews, TV interviews, those kinds of things, because they know that voice matters. They know when you’re getting a human interview, it’s getting a higher authority ranking because someone didn’t write that. It’s not spin or it’s not AI written. They have more confidence in the truth of it in a voice model. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, but that’s the belief system. That’s the authoritative ranking of those things. We still want to have those. That’s critically important to it.

If the radio station or the TV station isn’t publishing that in any kind of written format, it’s actually not necessarily going into the large language model and it’s not helping you in the AI search. That’s the real crux of the issue here is you have to understand whether or not you’re going into something that is going to end up in the large language model. Keep this in mind. Let’s say I had a really big problem in my business, and I went to go be interviewed by the New York Times. The New York Times is highly authoritative. However, the New York Times refuses to participate in the large language model because their information is copyrighted, so they don’t allow the large language model, the AI, to search it and utilize it to inform its decisions. There is no way my information is, and anything that I’ve done to combat that, is going to end up in the large language model.

We need to be critical when selecting the interview types and the materials we utilize. Share on X

I want to do that because from a human perspective, somebody might weigh that New York Times as being critically important, Wall Street Journal, whatever newspapers you guys read. I’m from outside New York, so New York Times was it in my family. Whatever that nice authoritative paper in your industry and your niche or in the overall marketplace, based on the people you want to do, you need to have that perceived value of that somewhere. You also have to have something that’s going to end up in the large language model. You have to understand what is being scraped and utilized that you can use to your advantage. That’s really where we get really critically picking and choosing the types of interviews and the types of things that we are utilizing. I’m going to say that because there are some that are participating, but a publication may no longer be the best option to combat this in an AI search world.

What would be the best things to be in for that AI search world, Tracy, to be in alignment with it?

Effective Strategies For Combating Negative Publicity Today

Here’s what we recommend to our podcasters is critical, that it is in video, audio, and the written word blog on a website that is open somewhere. That means that if you have to log in to a membership, which you do in New York Times, you have to log in to be able to read the articles. It’s a subscriber-based model. I guarantee you, it’s not publicly information unless you’ve read some article that says the New York Times has made an agreement with OpenAI. Until there’s an agreement in place for that particular publication, or they announce it on their website as you subscribe in that all of their information is available and a part of an AI model, you don’t want to utilize that as your only source of interviews or articles or anything to combat your negative press.

You need to have something that is open so that the AI will be scraping it. Like I said, video, audio, and blog, because we do want all of those because they are being scraped separately. YouTube is being utilized. There are lots of audio channels that are being utilized, and it is public information is being scraped by a lot of AI. No guarantees it’s going to happen, and it’s going to get in the system, but it’s more likely to. I can guarantee you if you’ve got an open blog, it is being scraped, and it’ll end up in a large language model somewhere. The next step is you have to have people commenting on it on places like Reddit and X, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. You need people commenting and linking back to that article and source because those conversations are being scraped.

Feed Your Brand | Managing A PR Crisis
Managing A PR Crisis: The sooner you begin creating positive content and tell your own story, the sooner you’ll regain control of the narrative and recover from this crisis.

 

If you have more conversations going on on that side saying, “I read this article about this fraud thing that happened to such and such real estate company, and it’s not true, or they appealed and they won their court case,” anything like that that you can do where their conversation is spinning it to giving most relevant current information, the things that are relevant, and linking to that source data and information, that is going to be essential in creating that. Not only do you have to get the articles and the information planted and put out there, seeded out there, you have to get it growing. You have to water it with conversation. The more authoritative that conversation, the better off it is. If you’re trying to combat real estate fraud or real estate complaints, because I can’t guarantee you a lot of those lawsuits and everything end up with a bunch of complaints that happen.

We’ve seen this happen to clients before. Tons of complaints that happen. They have no actual legal merit, there’s no legal filings, there’s none of those things that an AI would search. Now, if there is, you definitely want to refer to those. If you had the case was dismissed, or it was overturned on appeal, you absolutely need to connect that to whatever conversation, article, whatever that is, because that’s a government or public document, and that is definitely in the large language model. Connecting that up and making sure it comes to the top and people know about that, the AI needs to know about that. Making those connections are happening.

If the next thing you’re doing is that you get somebody who’s in the real estate niche, who converses a lot, influences a lot of people in the real estate niche, and they’re conversing with you about you on Reddit or X or Facebook or Instagram or LinkedIn, then you’re going to raise that value of your information higher in the AI model. Proliferation still matters. The more you do still matters, because the AI will take quantity over quality every time. They think if it’s being said enough, it must be true.

There’s good and bad about that, but it is true, quantity, so the more episodes you record about it, the more podcasts you go on to record episodes about it, the better off you’re going to be. It’s much easier to speak your way to audio and video content very quickly than it is to type it, and hope to get someone to publish articles here and there.

Quantity still matters. The more you do, the better, because AI often prioritizes quantity over quality. They tend to assume that if something is said enough, it must be true. Share on X

It’s a lot harder to get articles published nowadays. It’s less valuable if they’re closed into subscriber basis. It’s not actually doing any good anyway. These are the things that we really have to look at is looking at the authority value of the conversation that’s happening rather than the authority value of the main piece of content. Anything that is authoritative, such as a government document or anything that is open like a podcast episode, if you’ve got a blog on all your podcasts, that host is the host you want to go to and be interviewed by. You want to go in there and have a conversation with them.

Building A Comprehensive PR Crisis Management Team

Even if they don’t have their own show, and you’ve got a real estate influencer, having them converse with you on your show, and then having them publish comments about the conversation, that would be really good as well. Those types of things still make the connection between someone more authoritative and you. It has a perceived value in the large language model, but it has a perceived value in the marketplace as well. It’s good for you either way. Anything else, Tom, that we should really talk about in this? I think getting a good team together is also essential.

A good team, absolutely, because it’s a lot of work to do all this yourself.

It’s almost impossible. That’s what I hear from the people who are trying to do this on a DIY situation. Doing it yourself here is just not possible. In today’s world, normally, I would just say, “Go see a crisis PR expert. Cheryl Snapp Conner, one of my favorite people, and one of the best experts in crisis PR, she writes a great newsletter and blog in LinkedIn all the time about it, SnappConner PR. She’s just amazing. Cheryl Snapp is just amazing. She knows a ton about how to do this at a micro level.

Feed Your Brand | Managing A PR Crisis
Managing A PR Crisis: The disgruntled employee and a family member – these two people could ruin your business.

 

In addition to the great things that she does, you also need to bring in either a podcast booking expert, because you need somebody who can really look at the right types of podcasts. If they’re doing it in this blanket format where they’re just sending out as many invitations to as many people as possible, they’re just subbing it out to some assistant or some bot, don’t do it. Use someone who actually is creating a relationship and do spend more money on that. Tom, who do we recommend? Who have we done a lot of business with? What’s a group out of Rhode Island that do such a great job for podcast booking?

Interview Connections.

That’s the one I was trying to think of. Interview Connections over there, Jessica is just amazing. It’s just so good over there. They do a great job. Do someone who has relationships and connections. They’re not just phoning it in, sending out mass emails. You could do that yourself, and it will be unsuccessful at the end of the day for what you need to do in this kind of intense situation and need. Get yourself a podcast booking agent, get yourself a PR firm, and then get yourself someone who can advise you on the AI side of things. Really looking at and evaluating all the options of what the PR firm and the guest booking service brings you.

Look at both of those together and critically look at them from an AI perspective and then choosing your time wisely. Because if you’re going to have to do 40 to 50 interviews like mass all at once, make sure you’re doing the ones that are going to matter at the end of the day, because that is going to be an intense period of time for you. You may have to talk about something uncomfortable that you don’t want to talk about, so you might as well do it with effective sources. Then the most important thing I think we need to stress, Tom, is that the sooner you do it, the better. The longer you wait to fix something negative, the harder it is to fix.

It’s important that you protect yourself and have a legal representation on your team. Share on X

No question. You’re just delaying. Actually, you’re either going to lengthen the amount of pain that you’re feeling from this crisis PR situation. The sooner you get started putting out more positive content, telling your story instead of letting other people tell your story for you and cast you in a certain way, the sooner you’re going to get to where you need to be to recover from whatever this crisis is. Just get out there and start doing it. Even though as you go along, you may find better shows to be on, better ways to do it, ways to be more efficient at it, whatever, make improvements as you go, but don’t sit in this area of permanent potential trying to get it perfect before you get started. Just get started, then you’ll make improvements as you go.

The more content and the more relevant and soon you put that out to the original negative event, if it was an event, the sooner you do that, the better. The longer you wait, the harder it is.

Unfortunately, you’ve got to step through the crap. You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to go into it, step into it, dive headfirst into it. It’s going to be painful, but that’s how you have to do this and to get through it in this modern tech world. You really do.

The last piece I want to leave you all with is that if you are in some kind of legal trouble or potential legal trouble, you must have a legal expert on your team because the last thing you want is for you to say something that harms an appeal or harms your ability or then gets you into hot water and makes it so that you do get indicted or something like that. We make sure that if you’re in that kind of situation, that this isn’t just some bad review on your company, that you are protecting yourself and you have a legal representation on your team.

That’s sort of the ‘don’t sue Tom and Tracy for this advice.’ We’re not lawyers, but we certainly have a lot of experience. You don’t need to be a lawyer necessarily to do this. We’re letting you know if you’re treading in areas where you might have some legal jeopardy, depending on what you say, you better consult an attorney and make sure you understand what you can or what you should or shouldn’t say, according to your attorney’s opinion, really.

I know that Cheryl does that. She always makes sure that there’s a legal representation on the team when they have those situations, because it is like they can’t go out and publish articles and jeopardize your future and the future of your business. That’s it. That’s all we got today on this subject. I think that it’s critically important that we really make sure we never know when something like this is going to happen in our business. Us putting this out there for you, this is a reference for whenever it happens. I really hope that it doesn’t happen to you.

I have to say that I’ve seen it happen to too many people, too many good businesses. You get a massive complaint and it takes down your business. You get a disgruntled employee. That is the number one thing Cheryl Snapp always says, the disgruntled employee and a family member. Those two people will ruin your business. It’s pretty sad, but that’s what will happen. Somebody you trust will take it down. Most of the problems that come from that come from those two sources, disgruntled, obviously client or something, investor and client. That will be the third one.

Or disgruntled employee, I think too, if you have employees.

Disgruntled employee, family member, usually it’s like a divorce dispute or something, things like that. Then the third is a client or customer or whatever it is, investor, if you were in that kind of business. Look, Elizabeth Holmes got taken down by a bunch of investors who complained. We know someone personally who that happened to as well and is in jail right now. Honestly, when you’re in jail, that’s actually the perfect time to have your team working for you. You can’t do the interviews, but that doesn’t mean your team can’t be planning for the minute you walk out of that door. Anyway, I hope this doesn’t happen to all of you, but if it does, here’s our podcast playbook for managing the PR crisis and coming out stronger.

I agree. Even if this doesn’t happen to you as a podcast host, if you have a type of podcast that could help amplify a message for someone who is in some sort of crisis like that, that’s somebody you can target for guests too. Those are people you can look for in the media and reach out to them. Anyway, lots to think about, lots you can do.

Thanks, everyone, for being here. We’ll be back next time with another Feed Your Brand.

 

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Tracy Hazzard and Tom Hazzard

As podcasting and monetization marketing experts, husband and wife team, Tom Hazzard and Tracy Hazzard help major publications, sports stars, and entrepreneurial influencers broadcast their original messages. A highly successful inventor and product designer, Tom has been rethinking brand innovation to build in authority and high-converting revenue streams. Tracy brings an insider media/promotion perspective as a former Columnist for Inc. Magazine, contributor to BuzzFeed and international speaker. Together, they are the blog writers and podcast co-hosts for Feed Your Brand and The Binge Factor. They provide businesses of all sizes actionable tactics and strategies to spread marketing messages, grow valuable audiences, and retain valuable platform authority without a lot of time, cost or effort.
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