One of the first rules of crisis communication is that you should cop to your mistake as soon as you know that you have, in fact, erred. That rule was lost on the U.S. government in the wake of the botched launch of the healthcare.gov website, and the public relations world has taken note.
PR pros and content marketers have created two types of content in response to the debacle: One type is useful, relevant content that provides sound analysis and value to the public discourse. The other kind is what is commonly known as clickbait.
We can thank some particularly opportunistic PR pros for all that clickbait.
is calling the healthcare.gov mistake the newest crisis communications case study, replacing the likes of New Coke, the BP oil spill and even the 1982 Tylenol crisis.
So what’s the difference between the content that looks critically at the botched healthcare.gov communication and the clickbait?
says “obvious and wrong” content has been all too common:
In general, these PR companies are sort of like people who recommend that you try turning your computer off and on to get rid of a virus. Their expertise is obvious, and they keep talking to remind you they exist.
For example, post after post emphasized that the Obama administration should own up to its mistakes, and certainly the mea culpa
was a long time coming. Still, the article says, “You don't need a PR company to tell you to own up to mistakes everyone already knows about.”
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What do you think? Is this kind of thing superflous
, or is The Wire
being too dismissive?