The funny thing about PR is that in many ways, it can be a curse if you don’t plan for it carefully. Think of the common cliché: “Be careful what you wish for, because you just may get it.” As it relates to PR, if you don’t think beyond what happens after achieving your publicity goals, you may be setting yourself up for a bout of negative attention.
An example of such a string of events comes from the world of restaurant PR in DC. Back Alley Waffles recently secured a publicity boost by bashing Groupon, after its partnership with the daily deal site resulted in the restaurant going bust. Perhaps the restaurant owner was tipping a toe in the water to see how easy (or hard) it is to secure headlines. That said…
… what Back Alley probably didn’t anticipate was (1) the possibility of reporters being interested in additional coverage beyond the Groupon fiasco, (2) irate former employees filing complaints over unpaid wages, and (3) city regulators ready to go after the restaurant for lack of proper permits.
No doubt the restaurant owner wanted to vent about perceived unjust treatment and consequences from dealing with Groupon. Given that the coupon site is a perennial media and online target, the likelihood of media attention was strong, but therein lies the problem with sugar-rush PR – you can’t assume you’ll have control over the story if you’re seeking quick publicity. Now that the restaurant owner actively sought media attention, it shouldn’t have been a stretch to guess that reporters would delve further into the restaurant’s history.
So unless you’ve thought it through, think twice before sending out that angry media advisory or press release, you may bite off more publicity than you can chew.