Because this is a business blog, I have to be careful to mind my manners and not say anything that I wouldn’t say in the executive suite of the same CEO who might be reading what I write here.
I just learned another lesson about manners and good business. Respond thoughtfully and professionally when other bloggers or people who comment at this blog or other blogs post negative comments about me, my producsts or services, or what I’ve written.
Kudos to Steve Blinn, head of BlinnPR, the agency of record for KeepYouSafe.com, who was brave enough to explain what in the world he was thinking when he wrote a press release tying his client’s product, an online safe deposit box, to the death of Anna Nicole Smith.
You can read the entire release here. The bloggers went berserk and publicly chastized Blinn. Rather than blog about it, blogger Dave Taylor emailed Steve privately and said he thought the headline was terrible, the tie-in missed the mark, and it was just bad PR.
Steve replied with what Dave calls “a superb example of the very best of PR writing” that “demonstrates exactly how you can take a negative — a thought leader in your market sending you a blunt criticism — and turn it into an apology and explanation of the benefits of the product and why it’s not as bad as it seems.”
He got Steve’s permission to post the entire response.
Dave is right. I replied and said that I give Steve credit for explaining his thoughts:
“I’ll bet 9 out of 10 other agencies wouldn’t have had the courage to do what he did. They’d just write a crappy release, then look the other way while the bloggers pummel them.”
I know because I read lots of crappy releases—the kind the bloggers love to hate. And seldom if ever do the writers either explain their thinking, or apologize, or even come out of hiding.
Bottom line: All of us—bloggers, PR folks and others—need to be mature enough to answer criticism with a thoughtful explanation and, if necessary, apologize.