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Lesson 16 from: Smart PR for Artists & Entrepreneurs

Ryan Holiday

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Lesson Info

16. Risk

Lesson Info


So what what? I wanted to talk about this and this is maura message in the book but all this stuff that we're talking about two double in short so it's really great that offers a lot of opportunities but there's also risks inherent when you when you enter the public eye and you do things and you become a subject for media that gets paid jews after at a certain point you there's a powerlessness that comes along with that as well. So someone anyone could write a story about witchcraft tomorrow and you don't get to fact check that story you know they're not going to necessarily come to you for a quote they can post a yelp review that accuses you a bunch of of a bunch of untrue things that you don't have the opportunity to respond to and they could be doing that for whatever agenda they have whether they were legitimately wrong they're just a crazy person maybe they work for one of your competitors and at the same time we have to remember that journalists and reporters and in this era of m...

edia have their own agendas as well and they have an incentive almost to create and make up news they're not going to lie, but they're not going to think they're not going to think about the consequences of their actions before they do it so like some my favorite examples this was a so this was a story that american. This was a photo that american apparel innocently put on its website earlier this year. I'll show you the headline. Uh, american apparel flora shot fail. Hey, where that horse go? And so you think we photoshopped out the horse except now, actually, if you just look at it, the horses there it's body is just turned and it's a skinny horse. But all over the internet from the huffington post, the daily mail fashionista, everyone was talking about how american apparel was so stupid that it photoshopped out a horse and, you know, like, how could you do this? And one of our claims is that we don't use photo shop in our advertisements. We photographed real models, and we don't even use professional makeup artist. So this was like we taught you here you are photoshopping a horse. So on dh. Then this was a year or two ago. This is the photo we uploaded and the headline is, did american apparel give a black model a white hand? Except no. We sell a black body suit that the model is wearing that's no different than hosiery. And if the people who are like so look this is it's credited photoshopped possessors dotcom this person is such an expert at photoshopped that they see photo shop where it does not exist on dh so this is the huffington post headline you know did thousands of comments is a big deal the company has to issue a statement denying that it's racist on that you know, denying that it would ever do this thing and when you're in that position you're you're already coming from behind ready to say like first off that headline that question is much more interesting than the eventual explanation of what she's wearing and unless you care about fashion, you know necessarily even believe it and so it's it's a dangerous world too I just want everyone to be thinking like think about offense all the time obviously but then also be prepared and understand that the the same the same rules that give rise to the opportunities that we talked about are going to present the potential for backlash as well. So you're sending out of fake video that's getting you press that's great maybe someone make something super offensive with one of your things and now you're having toe explain that and no one's really going to care that you didn't have anything to do with making that video because the drive and the need for controversy is absolute and doesn't care who it hurts in the process and so those are just two examples but throughout my career media relations I've had to deal with a lot of fake trumped up controversy that I didn't invent either but the media did and that's something to be aware of and we could maybe talk about specific examples that you guys have gone through uh you just kick that around a little bit yeah thiss run risk what is a little bit for sure we'll be really quick right being timely um and and being quick and maybe which would cause you to make some mistakes in some cases but also the balance of that being don't let the perfect be the enemy too good right so how do you but you all know also just there on another cliche you only get one chance to make a first impression so how do you balance sort of being quick and the first impression versus the being so buttoned up in bureaucratic that you don't actually get anything out in a timely way yeah maybe raise a bunch of issues and that's what that I dont within all companies deal with this situation so one s o this story breaks right the way you would respond to a real crisis would be like okay what is the lawyer have to say what is the ceo want to say but the reality is this story is spreading around really, really fast and getting a lot of attention you've got to get your thing out there immediately so like, what will happen in a lot of these cases is the blogger will say, hey, I'm posting a story about this right now do you have common? And of course you don't because you're in a meeting, so you get it thirty minutes later and you respond and their post is already up right? And it's not I your phrase, there is great the perfect campy, the enemy of good it's better just to get a response out that addresses it because if you wait a day or you wait two days or you wait a week, nobody cares nobody is going to write a second story about this thing unless our response is super interesting. So that's the other option that I wanted to bring up, which is like you're not going to correct these these these sort of misperceptions you replace them by doing something else interesting and new. So the fact so like what this story probably likely became was photos at american apparel give a black model a white hand and then I'll be in brackets will say like updated and then so you read this whole article accusing the company of this horrible thing and then at the bottom it says like on second thought it was none of this was true and we were totally wrong but we're not going to delete the article because of course why would we do that so that's like that's this sort of messed up world that we exist in and uh it's better in my experience to sort of try toe think about it this way how can your response be more interesting than the thing you're being accused of? Did I just I'm just wondering do they sell a lot of black bodysuits after this? I mean, look, I don't think anyone likes being falsely accused of racism so like it's like, for instance, I wrote this article about this a couple days ago about the maker's mark controversy, which is another good example so maker's mark the high end high and whiskey company they berman whatever they decide to because of supply shortages they decide they have to start water in the the product down well, you look a little bit, but just just to meet demand and not have to raise prices, the issue what seemed like a fairly well thought out uh compassionate sort of explanation the customers about what they're doing of course the internet outrage cycle grabs a hold of it it becomes this whole thing there watering it down how could they that's the end of the brand? They end up having to issue an apology saying they're never going to do this again it's this whole big thing and some some people email may be crying into these media manipulation stuns, could they could this have been their plan the whole time? Like they were going toe, they were going to introduce this thing, and then they never had any plans of going through that no one likes to be accused of racism. No one wants to be accused of water him down their product on dh. So what happens is cos air human, they make mistakes, there's just this audio there's this very motivated audience ready to jump on those mistakes and turn them into something bigger than what they are. And you've got to be prepared for that, and you've got to be prepared with with responses. You can't drag your feet when bloggers email you better be ready to respond you better. You better have your facts, facts straight when they ask you questions like you, you have to do their research for them. So if if someone comes to you and like, you know, I heard your company's going to do acts, you have to say, we're not going to do that and here's proof of that stuff don't take my word for it also, here's a better story idea of what you should write about instead, because just like pitching the story is all on you preventing someone from screwing over your company with an untrue slander story sort of all on you as well this is sort of hard to talk about in the abstract I just wanted to say that at any moment someone could write something about your company and you've got to be prepared you've got to be prepared for that to happen and and understand that it's not the end of the world right like no one this this happened less than a year ago no one remembers that this happened but it did happen and way wish that it hadn't but could you just briefly walker if someone does happen to find themselves in some type of controversy right especially for a small business that can really be damaging just again some quick steps I mean you always hear respond immediately lot of big companies they dropped the ball wait a few days just quick steps and find yourself in hot water yeah it's respond immediately but don't respond emotionally like when we talked about the help a reporter out then he responded immediately but he lost his cool and made himself look like an idiot and so you don't want to do that if you're going to respond like uh keep it short keep it interesting but keep don't go unhinge that's the big thing and then it's so if if one site writes this article um that it's got the untrue that this is one side of the story right? What's another side I could go to with the actual explanation of what happened? Who could say, look how dumb the huffington post is they don't know what what a micro mesh bodysuit is so that's a lot that's a lot more interesting now it's the sort of discussion it's like another level of the story it's replacing the old that's a lot better than me trying to franticly email the huffington post and get them to retract their stories? Is there anything that you recommend? Of course you know, reputation management is so important and your book you talk about how things like this happen and that post doesn't go away just a bottom the article correction, but they don't change me bang and you major sometimes reporters or bloggers they're not apologetic about it like sorry do right, but when we're texting reputation management perspective are things you can do so that's not coming up the first time someone searches for your name for your business. Yeah, so that's why you want to keep doing interesting things that are new because newness matters and the search results too so if you're in the news all the time this thing has been pushed out by a million other things at american apparel is good and bad since since march of two thousand twelve but also its make sure that you are telling your own story to your customers so like, who cares what the huffington post is saying? Are you communicating effectively and properly with your audience? We email and twitter and facebook and letting them know what's happening so they could go on the comments and say this isn't true don't believe this that kind of thing quickly before we get to an online question, I mean again, it sounds like, you know, business is not easy game, but not knowing extremely well seems like you have to ask him thick skin as well, yeah, some of this is just a cost of doing business and and like it's, it's the other side of the sword, right? Just like you can use it to get a lot of easy press also people can use it to get easy press against you or not as well thought out press could be printed about you and you've got it. You've got to be prepared for that it's, not the end of the world if you act like it is, you're going to make it far, far worse and again, this doesn't apply to everyone it's just a reality and I think it's something to think about, we have a question over here, I'm sure I'll go I mean, I'm just trying to think of how this might apply to you small businesses like really small businesses like say you're you have a catering company or whatever like somebody had sandwich at some point or like just askew said maybe a competitor who's like just out to write horrible yelp reviews or whatever. So how how do you think about that? Yeah, so like on the l pour like trip adviser a lot of those sites they allow they give you the opportunity to respond but make sure you take advantage of those things I would make sure that the rest of this stuff looks so good that it doesn't matter that there's this one negative review I think there was I remember a couple years ago there was this one business owner who got like and this is what I'm talking about they got this negative yelp review and then they they found the person they went to their house and confronted him it's like, come on, people are going to not get a life you all the time it's not the end of the world and in some in some ways the fact that they're angrily commenting about you it could be a good thing right like there doing interesting things and being a leader means pissing people off sometimes you know, not everyone's going to love you and those people are going to be in the world except that this person has one of them and move on yeah s o in my previous company my co founder and I we have to get this little game through lady it was around lady gaga and we've launched it and within hours had a season asses from teams in lady gaga right were like, holy crap that's good potentially big, you know, huge and, you know, lady gaga fans were totally outraged which we really care about that, but how do you feel about, like, the legal risk skin around? Like, how do you provoke something around like a seasoned assist? Like, would you move forward and embraced that or yeah, probably I missed opportunity, I would follow the whatever you're legally obligated to follow, but then I would see what advantage you could get on top of it so that I think the game is shaved, you gotta shut your you've got to shut it down because of this thing, but how can you get press out of it as an upside? So question from the movie spy de pool is asking, how does someone else saying something bad about your company differ from making your critics irrationally worked up? So that's that's a good question. So for tucker, we were thinking about this it's like, look, these people don't like us how can we make them talk so much all the time about how they don't like us that it propels us to a new level that I think is a good thing. The idea that sub log is just lazy and prince something that's untrue that something you want to be a little bit more worried about. But at the end of the day, the headline does begin with our brand name, which is nice. Uh, so it's sort of it's, I guess. It's there's good and bad. Okay, well, how about we get ready? Todo hotsy wants to and bring david back out, and while they comes out, I'm curious. Of course, I'm sure ryan meet some of these bloggers and people who have said some pretty nefarious things about something your clients do you find sometimes are actually nice people. They're super this it's always ridiculous, they they don't, I understand the costs of what they're doing, and david talked about this a little bit. We're all on both sides of the equation. We forget that the other people are human and that the company were writing that thing about is filled with people who might be heard or offended by whatever you're writing, but in a system where you're paid by the page and you got to get ten posts out today, it's really you're you're by that process dehumanized, and you dehumanize others.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

HARO Case Study.pdf
Ryan Holiday Recommended Reading List.pdf
Tucker Max Planned Parenthood Case Study.pdf
Tucker Max Twitter Case Study.pdf
How to Pitch Haro.pdf
How to get on Blog Radar.pdf

bonus material with enrollment

Brendan Gahan Bio.pdf
Chris Johnson Bio.pdf
David Thier Bio.pdf
Joey Roth Bio.pdf

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

I would highly recommend this course. Ryan's insights and experience give a wealth of information here. He gives really practical tips on how to get yourself, your services or product seen in fun and original ways. The advice he gives to the audience members is superb and his guests give wonderful insights too.

a Creativelive Student

Absolutely brilliant course. Very informative and Ryan's words and concepts are highly motivational. There is a great diversity of the businesses that took part in the studio audience and Ryan and his guests do a wonderful job of deconstructing the companies image and give them great new perspectives. This course has removed a lot of the intimidation of approaching blogs and websites about your service or product. Highly recommended!

Aleksandr Staprans

I've been following Ryan Holiday for awhile and have loved his books. This class is a fantastic addition to any marketers self-education toolkit. Ryan provides clear information and, better yet, it is really enjoyable to watch!

Student Work