Media-Wize
Giving a voice to startups, founders and fast growth companies

Public relations professionals who have provided ethics counsel to senior management are at least as fervent about serving the public interest—sometimes even more so—as they are about their duty to their organizations, according to a Baylor University researcher.

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Media-Wize’s CEO and co-founder, Anthony Caruana is a regular tech commentator on ABC Radio. He recently joined Rafael Epstein to talk about Googling your children and misinformation on social media.

Congratulations to all the outstanding finalists in the 2019 Samsung IT Journalism Awards.

Media-Wize’s CEO Anthony Caruana is nominated for Best Security Journalist, Best Technology Issues Journalist and Best Corporate Content.

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For major brands, the road to social media infamy is paved with what seemed like good ideas at the time.

Just this week, Qantas succeeded in having Twitter suspend the well-known spoof account, @QantasPR, claiming users would mistake it for the real thing (Shane Warne did, but that’s not exactly saying much.)

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I got the job of editor for Macworld Australia after many years of being a freelance contributor to the magazine. The combination of relationships with the publisher and experience got me that job. But, the publisher has decided to shutter that operation and I lost a long-timer retainer client. While that hurt, the pain was short-lived.

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When it comes to deciding the best job titles to use for media spokespeople it’s important, they’re easily understood. Leave being creative to the actual work you do.

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Doing your homework for interviews and preparing your facts are critically important for a media spokesperson.

This is why media training, conducted every two years is so critical as it will help you learn what facts you need to check, obtain, create and use to tell your story in the most compelling way.

There are many facts that you’ll need to be armed with and ready to use if required in a media interview, depending on the topic. These may be technical facts about your products or about turnover, growth plans, staff numbers, customer numbers etc. Some of these facts may be in constant flux, so you need to be aware of what you’ve said previously and what you’re saying now.

Google indexes news and makes it easy for anyone at anytime to Google your name, company name or product and read news reports going back years. If you said in 2017 that you had 10,000 customers in Australia, but the number is still 10,000 in 2019 reporting, then that’s easily noted.

It’s important that you know your most up-to-date stats at any time (check with your team regularly) and are consistently building on your message. If in fact, you only had 9,700 customers in 2017, but by the end of that year expected to have 10,000, then say you have 9,700 customers to the journalist – don’t round up numbers. Be accurate and build a truthful account of your business.

This is crucial for many reasons and for startups hoping to achieve coverage in major publications be aware you’ll be asked for your turnover. Why? Because your claims will be verified – if you say you’re the largest in Australia, but in fact haven’t made any money yet, then the reporter will wait till you’ve proven your idea is recognised by customers and investors.  If you do secure coverage, your turnover will be on the record so if you’re on track to become the next Atlassian, Canva or unicorn it will be touted.

Many media groups also run startup and fast growth awards so make sure you’re always operating with full disclosure. If you apply for these awards, the reporters will check your facts and if they find that they don’t match what you said in the past, you can be assured of not only failing to win but failing to be trusted again.

Reputation is crucial – it’s better to wait till you have a great story to tell, than jeopardise it.  

If there is one thing that the tech and startup industry loves, and reporters can’t stand it’s the use of jargon.

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Issue jacking is the art of using something that’s of significance in the news of the day to, sensibly, further your company’s message. Handled correctly, issue jacking is powerful tool to help you get valuable publicity for your startup. But it’s important to be thoughtful and ready so you aren’t caught on the hop.

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When it comes to your business, brand and credibility the most important asset you have is your reputation. In today’s world you can express your opinion quickly and have it viewed by a potential audience of millions in just a few minutes. That means a whole new way of thinking about what comes out of of your mouth or streams from your fingertips. Just ask former PR consultant Justine Sacco.

To summarise, Ms Sacco, the former PR executive of InterActive Corp, the owner of popular websites Match.comDictionary.comOkCupid and Vimeo, posted a quick tweet to her small band of fewer than 200 followers. Although it was intended as a lighthearted joke, it quickly took on a life of its own.

She posted this just as she was boarding a flight to South Africa – the country she was born in. In a statement she said

“This is my father’s country, and I was born here. I cherish my ties to South Africa and my frequent visits, but I am in anguish knowing that my remarks have caused pain to so many people here; my family, friends and fellow South Africans. I am very sorry for the pain I caused,”

By the time she had landed, one of her small band of followers had sent the tweet to BuzzFeed where it went viral. She has lost her job as her employer didn’t want their reputation to be tarnished by her actions.

While it was treated as something of a joke (as evidenced by the “LOL” tag on BuzzFeed this is really serious business. This moment of poor judgement will haunt Ms Sacco for the rest of her career. Indeed, like the unfortunate Claire Swire, Ms Sacco will find this story will appear in every web search any future employer, friend or colleague makes. Her reputation will precede her, even if that one tweet is not representative of her actual views.

It’s easy to make offhand comments over social media, thinking that the only people who will read them are your immediate friends. But as Ms Sacco, and Ms Swire before her, can attest, the retweet or forward buttons are very easy to click and their affects can be long lasting and damaging.

Over the holidays, you might be tempted to post a funny picture or make a witty comment about a news story, something you see or some random thought that pops into your head. My advice is – don’t do it. Even if you delete a silly post within a few minutes of making it, it’s possible that someone might screen capture it and send it on.

If you’re tempted to do this, leave your smartphone at home. If you absolutely need to be contactable, buy a cheap, boring cell phone that can make calls and text without all the social media apps.

Christmas and New Years are meant to be a fun time where you enjoy yourself and let your hair down. Don’t spoil it in a moment of poor judgement.