Weeding out Fake News through PR

Weeding out Fake News through PR

With the rise of social media, communication has become faster and it offers many advantages for PR. However, at the same time, it has also brought with it one of the worst fears of the PR industry – the Fake News Phenomenon.





What is Fake News?

Fake News is news that is intentionally and verifiably false, and could mislead readers. It could be created by competitors to bring down a competing brand. The worst part is that these tend to go viral without any sort of verification or authentication. Combating fake news is one of the biggest challenges that brands today faces.


Monitor news online and offline

Keep a look out for news on your brand and on the industry both online and offline. Fake news can hit your brand any time and it’s good to keep your  eyes wide open. While searching online, make sure that you broaden your search criteria, so that you do not miss out on something important.

Stay ethical and transparent

When giving away news about your brand, be ethical. Do not get tempted to feed untruths to the press. If your lie gets called out by any other brand or person, then your credibility will take a big hit. Staying honest and transparent will build trust in your brand.

Respond quickly

If you are hit by fake news, respond immediately. The quicker your response, the less the damage. Squash the fake news by going all out in mainstream media with a full-fledged PR campaign. Provide proof to back up whatever you are claiming. For instance, if you are running a restaurant and there is a fake news report that you are adulterating food, respond by showing certificates from health authorities. You could also request regular customers to post positive reviews.

Push for more action

Facebook and Google have committed that they will work towards rooting out Fake News. They have identified and blocked sites with fake news created to generate advertising revenue.

They are taking initiatives but this is never enough. Push for more action, this can be done only through mobilizing more people and more PR agencies. Join the efforts to weed out fake news. When you find fake news on social media, flag it down.  Support this effort to rid the world of fake news.

Harness a thought leader

Experts in a field are trusted for their expertise. For instance, heads of industry associations and other industry experts have credibility. Try and exploit this to rebuild trust in your brand in case you have been the target of fake news. For instance, if you are a builder and fake news that your buildings are not up to the quality promised turns up, turn to the leader of the building association. Ask him or her to vouch for you after scrutinizing your quality checks and so on. This should be effective in helping your efforts.

Disseminate true news regularly

On a regular basis, feed the mainstream media with updates on your brand.  Post these on your website and also on social media such as FB. This gives customers a reliable source to look for news on your brand.


5 Top reasons to have a PR calendar

5 Top reasons to have a PR calendar

The world is getting more and more competitive and brands are fighting for limited editorial and media space. How do you squeeze your brand into the news? This question is the base around which every PR activity is centered. However, every question has an answer and here we go.

One of the best tools that PR agencies can ever use is a PR calendar and in fact this is a well-kept secret of many top PR agencies. This is a tried and tested method to consistently keep your brand in the news. It also means that you are not taking mere shots in the dark hoping to hit the target but taking sureshot steps that will win.

All you need to do is create a PR calendar on MS Word or Excel and you’re good. You can find many templates online too. When you fill in your PR calendar, make sure it contains  details of days that are important to the company such as the day it was founded, festivals, days that can be tied to the brand, brand launch days, brand BTL activity days and more. Also make sure it carried deadlines, status updates and contact numbers of those who you need to work with.

Stay sharply in focus

When you have a PR calendar, you are not randomly spreading your energies to promote your brand. You build laser-like focus and are able to reach the target. Try to make a calendar that covers significant events slated for at least six months.

Identify days to create awareness

There are certain days such as festival days and other days such as World Computer Day, Brownie Day, World Wildlife Conservation Day. Look for days that can link to your brand and promote on those days with some activities. For instance, if you run a café, you could celebrate Brownie Day by giving some away to kids in an orphanage. This heart-warming gesture will win hearts and editorial space as you spread smiles.

When you create a buzz around something lie say World AIDS Day, the media is hungry for news on this theme during that period and you could tap into this opportunity to generate publicity.

A constant flow of activity

Instead of one-off press releases, the regular stream of information to the media will increase the chance ofyour release getting picked up. You will also feature constantly in the news building brand recall. Press clippings can be shared with followers on social media to gain further leverage.

Makes things easier

Once you have a PR calendar, things automatically start becoming easier. It’s easier to schedule and co-ordinate activities from one place. Your tracking also will become far better.

Work ahead and get better results

Since you will be starting work earlier, you get adequate time to brief the media about launches, new products or services or initiatives. This also gives you ample time to create customised pitches and increase your success rate. Besides this, special supplements and issues are prepared well in advance and this lets you take advantage of such opportunities.

7 ways to get better PR


7 ways to get better PR


Every brand wants better PR, being experts in this field, we now share 7 insider secrets that will really do the magic. Try these and we are sure you will multiply the publicity you get.

Customise to suit the medium

The easiest thing to do while drafting a press release is to make a generic one and mail it off to diverse publications and media. Frankly, this is not the best way to do things.  For instance, if you have a product targeted at women and made by a woman entrepreneur, when you write to a general interest magazine, it can focus on the product but if it’s a business publication, you could customise the release to include some facts and figures about the business, the challenges faced by the entrepreneur etc., This customisation will increase the chances of getting good coverage.

Be easy to work with

Some companies think that keeping themselves a little inaccessible will push up their demand and try to cultivate that aura.  This might have worked for stars of yesteryears but won’t work for today’s media landscape where every brand is fighting to get a share of the media space. Make sure the brand’s spokesperson is easily available to the media.

Get some great clicks done

Photo-ops are a great way to get the publicity you want. Watch out for the right opportunities, a click of the company’s employees celebrating Deepavali for instance and release just before Deepavali is likely to get carried. Arresting visuals work wonders with newspapers and magazines who are always looking for ways to brighten up their pages.






Go digital with a vengeance

Everyone is up there in Digital Land, all it takes is for you to reach out to them. Stay active on social media such as FB, Twitter, Instagram and so on. Make sure regular blog posts are posted as this keeps your target audience engaged.  The greatest advantages of the digital medium are that your message can be really well-targetted.


Co-branding can work wonders

Co-branding is a smart way to get good PR for your company. Look for a brand that complements yours and has a similar target audience. For instance, if you are a pen brand targeting school kids, you could team up with a notebook brand, together you could run contests and events. This will generate plenty of interest and publicity.


Partner with a media house

Partnering with a media house is a very effective means to reach your target audience. Try working with a FM radio station or with a TV channel. An event at a mall or even at large gated communities and apartments can work well.

Use testimonials and quotes

Client testimonials build credibility for a product like nothing else can. The better known your client is, the better the testimonial will work. Always make sure that your press release has quotes form the top management or the spokesperson of the company. Quote make a very strong statement and increase the likelihood of coverage.






Everyone likes to win an award but do you know awards can get you the amount of hike you need in the PR field of commerce. No matter you lose or win, the try counts because either way or the other you will experience good reach of your company. There are few guidelines as well as nooks and holes for you to achieve the boost.


Applying for an award is not a task that can be done in a hurry it takes time team work and effort. All the drafting, collecting, and research cannot be done in a limited time period, if rushed it tends to flop down, rather allocate certain time and gather all the details and draft them accordingly prior to the date of the submission so you can be sure of what you are submitting.


Know what you are good at and identify the type of award you want and what your company is capable of getting, also look for the participants in various categories and analyse in which your company is more likely to get.


Showcase your business, no one will know about you if you don’t tell them, mention every single detail. Yes you can brag about it but in a humble way and make sure you don’t over write.

  • Turn over
  • Anniversary
  • Revenue
  • Fundraising details
  • Employee numbers
  • Accomplishment




When you answer questions online always download the document, draft the answers and then upload, as in some of the cases you tend to lose the hard worked answers you have entered. So draft and then copy the answers.



Promote your participation online so even if you win or participate you tend to get new clients into knowing your company. You can promote via:-

  • Messages
  • Social media
  • Blog posts
  • Email blasts



Failure is the stepping stones of success, not everyone gets what they want in their 1st try, do even if you lose keep on coming back up and don’t back down.

How to stay relevant in changing times

How to stay relevant in changing times

Many times you must have read the words, ‘The only constant is change’. Nowhere is it more relevant than today’s world where everyday throws up new opportunities and challenges. Today, communication is so easy and you can quickly spread your message  through social media but the flip side is that your competitors too have the same advantage.

Stay on top of mind

Today your TG is being bombarded with various kinds of information from all corners. This makes their memory quite short. You need to constantly keep your brand appearing before your customer. Brand recall and brand engagement are priority. Remember, out of sight is out of mind. Therefore, regular PR and branding activities are a must.

Don’t lose sight of your target

As brands grow and expand, sometimes they tend to lose track of their TG. thisan have a very negative impact on the brand, Once it’s unclear  to which TG you are talking, it’s a path to disaster. Create a solid identity and purpose that your brand is associated with.

Embrace Technology

Technology is the biggest change that has entered PR. Whether you are on your website, Twitter handle or Facebook, the communication and tone of the message must be the same. This is what will build your brand. Keep these channels updated.

Timing is everything

Ride trends! Make them work for you. For instance, if your brand is a natural washing powder and Earth Day is coming up and everyone is talking about eco-friendliness tie in your brand with this. You will get awesome PR coverage.

Keep your internal audience informed

Before even sharing any piece of news with external audiences, make sure you intimate all your internal audience. This could include employees, a board of directors, donors, members, brand partners and more. Only if they are kept in the loop will they be able to stay in sync with customers.

Content is King

At the heart of PR is good content. Develop content that’s not just engaging but relevant and stays ahead of the time. Tailor content to your TG and make sure it fits the season and context too.


Today just trying PR pushes in the media is not working. A look at the bigger picture shows that collaboration with media channels provide better results. For instance, you can tie your brand up with a FM radio channel and this can be a mutually beneficial activity.

Make sure you are useful and interesting

While working on a PR campaign, make sure hat it has a positive approach and that the TG has a positive takeaway form the communication. Make it informative ad useful so it will keep your TG more engaged

Play for the long innings

PR is not a one off thing and should to be looked at in that way too. A one-time PR splash can give you great reach but to maintain your position in consumer minds takes a well-planned and consistent PR Strategy.

The Four P’s of PR

The Four P’s of PR

When you speak of Public Relations, it’s such a vast subject that it’s not easy to try and fit it into tiny containers. Good PR is all about building a favourable brand image for a brand or individual. An image that will be trusted and respected. This does not happen overnight and has to be well-planned and strategized.

The Four P’s of PR are Protect, Promote, Perform and Prove.Following these four faithfully will make every PR campaign a huge success. The top PR campaigns have used this formula successfully.


Building a good reputation is not easy, so every brand must invest time and money towards building trust and goodwill. Once the brand begin to occupy a particularpositive space in the customer’s head, it’s important that this remains sustained. Therefore, all efforts to protect the reputation gained must be taken in terms of carefully articulated press releases and information that reaches the public.

Crisis management is one of the most challenging situations that PR faces. When a company or brand finds itself embroiled in scandal, this could directly impact its stock prices and sales. The information being passed about the situation may or may not be true. It’s up to PR agencies to keep their eyes and ears open for any negative reports about clients and either pro-actively kill the stories or instantly go into damage control mode and attempt to sort things out. Failing to do this can be detrimental to the future of the brand.


Once press releaseshave been drafted and everything set to connect with the media is ready, the PR agency must notwaste a single minute.  Connecting and promoting the newswith something newsworthy enough to hook them is the key. It could be an innovation, a new product launch, a piece of information that’s completely fresh.

To make this truly effective, it’s important to truly build bridges with reporters and editors. Personal relationships with them takes patience and persistence but this is a key factor in getting the news you want disseminated.


Earlier PR used to be an activity delinked from the rest of a company’s marketing activities. However, modern PR is completely different and is expected to align and contribute to the profitability of a company.  Today, the expectations from clients are very different. PR cannot succeed to its fullest on its own. It must properly integrate with marketing, social, digital, IT, data, insights, and /customer market intelligence.


Giving clients effective proof of the efficacy of a PR campaign will not only keep them happy but bring in repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals. The impact must be measured using metrics and this will help the brand gain customer insights and correct any wrong assumptions that might have been arrived at. The insights provided must be data driven so that customers can tweak their offerings based on this. To be taken seriously, PR must deliver tangible benefits that reflect in improved brand perception and in increasing sales.

Technology, the new hero of PR!

Technology, the new hero of PR!

Who ever said that press conferences need to be a series of boring speeches and PPTs? To grab the attention of the press and engage it, use technology and you will be surprised at what a big difference it can make. Why send out printed invites? Watzapp a gif invite or an interactive invite, saves time and gets attention.

There are many new innovative ways that technology can be used topep up press meets. Interactive touch kiosks can add an element of novelty to the venue.


VR & AR Conferences anyone?


Virtual Reality (VR) is one of the technology trends that are sure to be used in a big way in the press conferences of the future. The advantage is that brands can save a lot by hosting virtual conferences. Instead of having to fly in journalists and reporters from all corners of the globe to attend a press conference, all one needs to do is just get them to attend by slipping on a VR headset. This will not only save huge amounts of money but also create a real experience.


One of the most amazing ways in which VR was used was at the 2016 Olympic Games which was held at Rio de Janeiro.  At British House, the U.K.’s official residence at Rio 2016, Olympic gold medal-winning rower Helen Glover created history as she took part in the first live 360 VR press conference. This was a completely new experience for fans who felt like they were in the same room with her as she answered questions.



VR is ideal for occasions like brand launches where these can wonderfully demonstrate product attributes, features, functionality and more. This allows plenty of scope for creativity.It helps you gain a wider audience.


Holograms of brand ambassadors are a great way to engage the audience especially when the person is unable to come. This also provides plenty of photo-ops. India’s PM Modi successfully used his holograms to script a win.


Augmented Reality (AR) like VR is another emerging technology. While VR needs headsets, AR does not need any. It blurs the gap between reality and a computer-generated environment. Graphics, sounds and smell to the natural world can be added making it virtually come alive! This should create a very exciting experience at press conferences.

Using visual language for better impact

Did you realize 90% information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60000 X faster in the brain than text? This is the reason that making high impact presentations that harness the advantages of the latest technology can make a difference.

Interactive Infographics is an emerging area and can provide information to people using infographics which are more easily understandable. The interactive component can be created with embedded questions, embedded youtube videos and so on. Live chats also help.

Creating a mobile app for a brand helps in delivering customised content updates on the product, offers and more. It also helps in improving brand loyalty.

Technology is growing every day. It’s up to each brand to become an early adopter and reap the benefits.


“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations,”

~ Bill Gates

Jim was visiting a foreign country. He was walking leisurely on a nearly empty street. When he passed a store, he saw to his horror a fierce Rottweiler attacking a baby. Without a moment’s hesitation, Jim rushed forward, grabbed the dog with his bare hands, and wrestled it to the ground. After several bloody and terrifying minutes, Jim managed to kill the beast and rescue the child.

Jim was bleeding. People, who gathered by then, took him to a nearby hospital. Later that day, a city reporter came to the hospital and met Jim to report what had happened. When he learnt about Jim’s brave and selfless act, he exclaimed: “What a story!”. Even the title for the story flashed in his mind: “Local Hero Saves Child”.

But the reporter came to know that Jim was just visiting the city, and not a local.
The reporter thought that the story is even more interesting. He only had to change the title to:
“Visitor Risks Life to Save Child”.

Finally, before leaving, the reporter asked: “By the way, what do you do Mr Jim?”
Jim replied: “I am the chairman of a listed company.”
The journalist noted down and left.

The next day the story appeared with the title:
“Corporate Fat Cat Strangles Family Pet to Death”.

Nowadays relations between media and corporates are not something great to write home about. Journalists don’t believe what companies say. The bigger issue is that people do not believe what is reported. This affects public relations building.

We all want public relations – because public relations brings us new customers, new investors, new employees, new partners, and so on. But we end up killing public relations when we pay too much attention to public relations at the cost of customer relations, investor relations, employee relations, and community relations.

Public relations can save startups, grownups, granddaddies of all industries from failure. It is the first and only button to press when things go wrong. But it is often the only button that never gets pressed – at least not in the right way.

We can rescue our business and put them back on the growth trajectory. It all begins with the clear understanding that what we are doing in the name of business is building relationships.
Mr Roger Dickhout, a management consultant, explains this aspect in this thought provoking article he wrote for McKinsey years ago.

He says that the role of business is about maintaining “Constituent Balance”. “When the constituent interests (interests of shareholders, employees, customers, communities, etc) are out of balance in a large corporation, the gloves come off as shareholder groups rebel against complacent management, or customers punish a company for poor quality,” he writes. The way to bring back the balance is by maintaining good relationship with all the constituents – which is what is the means and ends of true public relations.

The role of leadership in the words of Roger is to maintain constituent balance by making sure that “customers are satisfied, talent and investment flow in, and management, employees, and shareholders feel adequately rewarded.” If this is what leadership in business is all about, then our working hours should be considered public relations hours. Sankar, Management Author and Consultant.

How to combat fake news through PR

How to combat fake news through PR

Today fake news is on the rise. The reason being that news sources today are no longer exclusively the mass media but social media too. Mass Media has always had gatekeepers like Editors and Publishers who do take the effort to verify the credibility of news. Social Media though is a completely different ball game. Facebook and Twitter have played a big role in the dissemination of fake news. Watzapp forwards too have become a menace when it comes to passing around fake news.

What is fake news?

Fake news can be defined as blatantly false or misleadingly exaggerated information presented as true through a trustworthy media source. It’s very easy and cheap to create fake news and distribute it through social media. Many of these go viral and in many ways unfairly damage the reputations of people brands and organisations.  It can be so powerful that it can damage the image, lead to a drop in sales or even destroy the brand.

How can PR combat fake news?

Keep your eyes open for fake news about your brand or organisation, at the first signs of it, work must be undertaken on a war footing to stop its spread.  Immediately, get into damage control mode and provide timely and accurate information through PR. Have an identifiable source.

Tell the truth

The most powerful armour that you have to combat fake news is the truth. Be transparent. Provide facts to back up what you say. Craft a clear message without being ambiguous and keep the channel of information flowing. Appoint a one point contact inside the organization that the media can reach.

Create the right team

Stemming the flow of fake news is also about sending the right kind of signals and right news out. Form a team of responsible thinkers who can handle this and put in the right kind of thought process.

Fight it with fire

Create powerful releases and keep regularly releasing them. Try and create something sensational so that gets into the news. Speed is of essence, so don’t hesitate, the minute fake news hits the brand, fire the cannons. How your write the release is also important, use straightforward headlines and simple language that conveys the content quickly and effectively.

Have a crisis plan in place

It always helps for brands to be prepared for crisis. There must be a kind of scale crafted to assess the impact – moderate to severe and different plans to deal with each contingency. Being prepared always works the best.

Use technology

Facebook has a feature that allows alerting objectionable news. Ask as many users as possible to do this and it could help get the offensive post taken down.  Getting the brand’s FB page to be a verified one goes a long way in helping disseminate proper news.

Keep your ear to the ground. Build a good network in the media and among others in different walks of life. This will help you sniff out fake news faster and react quicker.  Use these valuable tips to weed out fake news and bring back the trust factor to your brand.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑