pr embargo

Embargos introduce benefits and challenges in today’s public relations space. With PR embargoes, PR professionals can time key announcements to take control of a narrative and provide reporters with adequate time to prepare comprehensive stories about a subject.

At the same time, PR embargos are challenging to implement. Journalists feel obligated to publish a story first; hence, it may be a challenge to convince journalists to implement a PR embargo.

What is a PR Embargo

PR embargos refer to announcements or media releases shared with journalists prior to the publishing date. Embargoed announcements or media releases are meant to be published on the date specified by the distributor.

The purpose of a PR embargo is to share confidential information that’s meant to stay confidential until the specified date. Such arrangements allow journalists to prepare in-depth articles prior to the stipulated date.

What does having a PR embargo mean

Having a PR embargo means preventing the publication of information before its “full-disclosure” date. Particularly important, PR embargoes help public companies – that are required by law – to ensure that all stakeholders receive important news at the same time. Creating a PR embargo prevents leaking of information prior to the specified date.

Another reason for creating PR embargoes is to time the release of important information across different media outlets. Specifically, publishing information on magazines and newspapers varies. Newspapers are dailies that have a tight deadline, but magazines often require information several months prior to publication.

Announcements that need embargoes include highly complex announcements that need detailed demonstrations and explanations; announcements that have commercial implications making it important to prevent the sharing of such information, gradually.

How can PR pros use embargoes effectively

#1. Put it in writing

Communication professionals should avoid verbal agreements or email correspondence when issuing PR embargoes. Oftentimes, media reps may offer vague responses that do not obligate them to respect a PR obligation. To avoid leaking of time-sensitive information,PR professionals should create a non-confrontational agreement that’s shared with all media outlets and signatures from top editors in such media outlets should be obtained.

#2. Creating plans to respond to embargo violations and leaks

PR professionals should consider developing a comprehensive plan to respond to embargo violations and informational leaks. Specifically, PR teams should consider notifying other publications when an embargo is violated thus releasing them from a particular embargo. At the same time, PR agencies should consider banning publications that break embargoes. For publications that honor embargoes, PR agencies should arrange meetups with executives and thought leaders in an industry. Such arrangements help differentiate the coverage from publications that respect such arrangements.

#3. Manage client expectations

PR agencies should manage their client expectations in regard to PR embargoes. Particularly, media reps may interview clients but decide against featuring such an interview. To prevent frustrations, PR pros should make sure clients understand eventualities around their stories.

#4. Differentiate embargoes from exclusives

Exclusives allow PR agencies to release information to a single publisher while embargoes involve numerous publications. To ensure the effectiveness of an embargo PR pros should adopt appropriate pitching approaches to target the light publications.

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder, President and CEO of New York-based 5W Public Relations. He has overseen the company's rapid growth and expansion to the Inc. 500 list, as well as provided counsel to hundreds of companies, including members of the Fortune 500, Inc. 500 and Forbes 400. His work spans global interests, corporate entities, high-profile individuals, regional business entities, government agencies and academic institutions - both on routine public relations matters and extremely sensitive issues. One of the foremost public relations experts in the U.S., Torossian is known for his aggressive, results-focused orientation, as well as his close working relationships with members of the media, influencers, decision makers, politicians and celebrities. At 5W Public Relations, Torossian's client experience has included programs for Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Anheuser-Busch, Barnes & Noble, Cantor Fitzgerald, IHOP, McDonald's, Evian, EDS, VeriSign, XM Radio, Seagram's, The Loews Regency, Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment, Marriott Hotels, Vail Resorts, Pamela Anderson, Snoop Dogg, the Government of Israel, and others. Referred to by The New York Post as a "publicity guru," by Fox News as a "high-powered PR CEO," by Tyra Banks as a "crisis management guru," and by CNN as "a leading PR expert," Torossian is regularly featured in and quoted by the media, including by CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, The New York Times, and others. CBS National News said "Ronn Torossian knows spin," and a New York Times feature story on Torossian referred to him as "The consummate hard-driving, scrappy NY publicist." Earlier in his career, Torossian was a Vice President/Group Director for one of The InterPublic Group's (IPG) largest PR agencies, where he was responsible for significant client growth and successful client programs, including work for Clinique, Fox News Channel, DHL, Hard Rock Café and others. A resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, Torossian was named to the Advertising Age "40 Under 40" list, PR Week's "40 Under 40" List, is a regular lecturer at universities and conferences, a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of numerous non-profit organizations.