The actions of several corporate communication departments during and after the storm fell into both categories, carving out an unlikely place in the headlines for PR and marketing folks as Sandy walloped much of the East Coast.
The bold actions and unfortunate missteps of these organizations—among them retailers, PR firms, and government agencies—provide lessons for people working in the PR and marketing field when a disaster strikes.
Avoid pitching reporters nonessential or overly advantageous stories.
The topic of “newsjacking”—which refers to angling a pitch to a news story—became a hot topic after a handful of public relations bloggers offered advice for doing so during Sandy. Many commenters online found the advice distasteful.
At least one New York Times reporter also commented about PR pitches after Sandy made landfall. Stuart Elliott, the longtime advertising and marketing reporter for the Times, tweeted:
To those PR people who think you’ve waited a decent interval after #Sandy to resume business as usual … you would be wrong