Last week I noticed an outstanding example of PR done right. It wasn’t from a Fortune 500 company who employs a big-time PR agency. It wasn’t even from America. This example came from the Kremlin. That’s right, this week’s post focuses on smart PR strategy based in Russia. Vladimir Putin’s Op-Ed in the New York Times shows how impactful it can be to take the narrative on your own story. I am not sure how he managed to write the article with that iron fist of his, but he put together a wildly popular and controversial piece.
Writing an Op-Ed can be extremely effective in managing a person’s brand. This is not a political blog, and I won’t share my opinion of Putin’s views. However, I’d like to point out why this can be such a successful PR tactic.
There is no chance of spin
The lesson to learn here is that often times the best way to get your story across is to tell it yourself. When getting the media involved, it is impossible to know exactly how you will be portrayed. Also, there can be no misinterpretation of the message. The public is well aware that the media is in the entertainment business, and will present the story in a way that will garner the most interest, even if it is not 100% accurate.
Jason Collins told a controversial story in his own words. He was applauded by the gay community as well as his fellow athletes.
It has more impact
Your message gains credibility when readers realize that it has not been processed by the media machine. Many people distrust information that comes from the media. The public is very wary of bias, especially in political news.
David Cole wrote an interesting Op-Ed explaining his views on gun control. Because he is a professor at Georgetown University, his opinion has more authenticity and credibility because it wasn’t filtered by the media.
It allows you to be proactive
An editorial like Putin’s allows the author to get ahead of the story. The author has the ability to change topics or steer the conversation in a new direction.
Angelina Jolie headed off a possible media frenzy by writing an Op-Ed in the New York Times.
You can stand up for yourself
There is no better way to defend yourself than to do so directly. Specifically, in an Op-Ed there is enough space to thoroughly explain whatever it is you’d like to get across.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta changed his view on Marijuana, and was able to give his reasons.
We’re not sure what his intent was, but the amount of attention that Putin’s Op-Ed piece received shows that it certainly made an impact. Being able to tell your own story in your own words is invaluable. Not all of us can get published in the New York Times, but we should all be looking for an opportunity to lead the stories about ourselves or our companies.