The password is...

Some readers may remember "Password," a classic American TV game show that featured celebrities helping contestants win big money by guessing "passwords" with single-word clues. (Cue the likes of  Regis Philbin and Jamie Farr.)

Host Burt Convey oversees an episode of the popular TV game show, "Password". In the real world, passwords to critical social media accounts should be kept confidential, but shared with key staff.

Host Burt Convey oversees an episode of the popular TV game show, "Password". In the real world, passwords to critical social media accounts should be kept confidential, but shared with key staff.

It's too bad Regis -- or someone on staff--  wasn't on hand to help the governor of Hawaii on Jan. 13. Turns out the state's top elected was unable to debunk an erroneous missile alert earlier this month because, well, he forgot his password.

To his Twitter account.

This is is a crisis communications lesson served up on a pu pu platter.

The Hawaii Emergency Management System issued a mistaken missile alert at 8:07 a.m. on Jan. 13, sending residents and others to Twitter to seek clarification -- or at least more information. 

None came, until about 17 minutes later, when the governor finally issued five critical words: There is NO missile threat. (That's 26 characters, with spaces.)

In remarks to reporters on Jan. 23, Gov. David Ige admitted the reason for the long delay.

‘‘I have to confess that I don’t know my Twitter account log-ons and the passwords, so certainly that’s one of the changes that I’ve made," Ige told the Washington Post

What's more, the governor's Facebook account was not updated during the crisis until 23 minutes after the false alert. According to the Post story, the state itself did not issue an official correction until 38 minutes after the mistaken alert was issued.

Not surprisingly, social media -- Twitter, in particular -- is the first place people turn to in the event of an emergency. So it is imperative that in crisis communications planning, it's essential to have this kind of information stored, securely, of course, and shared with key staff so that when a crisis does occur (even an erroneous one), those accounts can be updated immediately.

Adding a page with the organization's key social media accounts and passwords to the crisis communications plan can help alleviate that stress. And when time is of the essence, having that information readily handy is vital.

The password is: anticipate.


Ferris Bueller Was Right

Life does move pretty fast, which is exactly why we're taking a moment to slow down: so we don't miss our one year anniversary!

And what a fast-paced year, at that. The past 12 months have brought new partnerships, engaging projects and, best of all, multiple opportunities to help clients tell their stories. That it all happened during the longest legislative session in Washington state history only made things even more interesting!

Naturally, no birthday party would be complete without a goodie bag, so here's a few treats we'd include in the mix, based on our work this past year:

  • Training the first class of Leadership Washington on working with reporters and handling  challenging media interviews. 
  • Visiting with the editorial boards of the state's top newspapers to help a client explain the state's K-12 education funding challenges.
  • Helping clients better use social media, even with limited staff, time and resources. #FTW! (That's "For The Win" in tweet-speak.)
  • Sharing good news about a Northwest business doing great things for people -- and their furry, four-legged friends.
  • Getting the email from the Department of Licensing reminding you it's time to renew your business license.

So we'll take Ferris' advice and pause a moment to savor our first year in business -- but then it's back to work, to ensure our second anniversary is twice as sweet. 

Now please pass the cupcakes -- and thank you for your continued support of Jocelyn McCabe Public Relations, LLC.

5 Media Relations Tips from the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch

His aggressive, on field "Beast Mode" personality speaks volumes, but off the field, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.

Which is to say media relations is not his thing - or is it?

Last week, the NFL fined Lynch $100,000 for not talking to the media. So when Lynch actually opened up to reporters Sunday after the Seahawks’ 19-3 win over the Arizona Cardinals, the result was decidedly entertaining, though no word on whether it met standard under the NFL’s media policy.

So what media relations lessons can be learned from watching Beast Mode’s sudden thaw to the press? 

  • SHOW UP: Lynch has made a habit of dodging the media — not exactly a sound strategy for clients being sought after by reporters. Avoiding the press can inadvertently suggest guilt or imply a negative message. By taking the time to sit for questions, however painful they may have been to him, Lynch diffused what's become an uncomfortable situation (for seemingly everyone) and appeared to be making an effort. Depending on the situation, and with good preparation, meeting with the press can be advantageous.  
  • BE BRIEF: While Lynch’s one-word responses (“Maybe” and “Yeah”) don’t exactly make for great sports copy, he responds to each reporter’s question using his Super Bowl-level brevity skills. PR lesson: Answer the question, stay on message – even if it is “no juice” – and wait for the next question. 
  • WORK THE CLOCK: It works on game day and at press conferences. There’s no shame in not filling the entire interview time with the sound of your voice. And if you have to wait for the reporters to come up with their next question, so be it. Lynch gives his response then patiently waits for that next question.
  • BE RESPECTFUL: Winning a clutch game always helps lighten the mood, just like answering media calls on a positive topic (your organization just won a major grant!) makes talking to a reporter a little more enticing. Lynch would probably just as soon be on his way after the big game Sunday, but he pleasantly – bemusedly? — fielded reporters’ questions. His smile, along with a touch of humor, helped make a tense situation a little less stressful for everyone in the locker room press huddle.
  • FASHION MATTERS: Yep, you need to look professional no matter what your vocation. Lynch represents best in his uniform, but for post-game interviews, players are on their own. So, about that hat....And at the end of the day, he’s Marshawn Lynch. He drags whole defensive lines down the field on Sundays. You gonna tell him his hat is out of place!? 

OK, so we're having a little fun with Lynch's press conference. But there's always something to be learned from watching these kinds of activities unfold - in case you're the one in front of the reporter next time. #maybe #yeah

(Go #beastmode and #GoHawks!)