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When You Need to Take a PR “Sick Day”

I don’t get sick a lot, but when I do, it hits me like a ton of bricks. I’m laid up for a few days hacking my brains out and trying to breathe the best I can just hoping it will pass by soon. Recently my bi-annual bout hit me and I was forced to take a week off. Well, I still worked from my bed, but it’s like I was taking sick days. 

Sick woman with tissue on sofaAnyway, my time “off” got me thinking. Taking a break once in a while is a good thing (even though I cheated). Sometimes your body just needs to rest for a week straight and ignoring that can be detrimental to your health.

What if your public relations needs a similar break? Is it just as important to take a sick day for your campaign as it is when you get a bad cold or stomach bug, or is it important to always push through no matter what?

PR Sick Day 

Like you, sometimes public relations campaigns get a bug. When it happens, you might not notice at first. Think of the last time you got sick – you didn’t wake up with a full blown cold, complete with stuffy nose, sneezing, and chills. It happened in stages, like a tickle in your throat or having trouble staying warm unexpectedly.

The same goes for your PR. Normally a customer complaint isn’t a big deal and you’re able to fix it. But for whatever reason, that one complaint turns into two…then three, then four. Eventually you notice something is very wrong, but now things are starting to get out of hand.

Looking back it’s easy to see what’s wrong. There was a link on your website that went to an offensive page, or your product had flaws in it you should’ve seen coming, or your CEO was misquoted in a publication which you should’ve jumped on earlier. But just like that tickle in your throat, hindsight is 20/20. Is it time to let the campaign rest?

Medicine 

There’s something funky about taking medicine for a cold. On one hand you want to believe they pills are actually doing something. Clearing up your head, maybe, or getting rid of that cough. On the other hand, though, you know that there really isn’t a cure for the common cold and you’re probably getting hit with the placebo effect.

The same can apply to any “medicine” you apply to your diseased campaign. Are you actually helping it by trying to fix it, or just masking the symptoms with placebos? For example, is apologizing to customers for the broken product really doing anything in the long run without changing the actual product? Likely not. It’s like taking Melatonin – feels like you’re helping, but you should really lay down and rest.

So when is a good time to give up and actually go lie down and sleep off your PR cold? After taking precautionary measures, like answering angry messages and warning other departments of the issue, it may be a good idea to step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Just that little break to identify what the real problem is so you can tackle it head on could make a world of difference. If you immediately start applying small fixes that are essentially placebos, it could compound the problem.

Have you ever had a PR problem that was fixed by taking a step back to get the bigger picture?

This article is written by Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases (http://www.ereleases.com), the online leader in affordable press release distribution. Download your free copy of 7 Cheap PR Tactics for Success in Any Economy here: http://www.ereleases.com/offer/7cheaptactics.html

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