Scottish crisis PR expert Tricia Fox found herself at the centre of her own PR crisis after penning a blog on the Huffington Post describing how small businesses could take advice from the Amy Winehouse brand.
Her blog caused a storm on Twitter - and on the comment section of the site itself - being described as ‘tasteless’ by many readers. The post received 113 Comments, 432 Facebook shares, 1,013 Tweets, 58 emails and 18 Google +1s… and that was on the Huffington Post site alone.
However, Fox, managing director of communications firm Volpa, has hit back, saying that she tried to remove the blog from the Huff Post site, but was unsuccessful and claims that many of her replies on the message board were blocked.
Fox said “In retrospect I wouldn’t have posted it. I didn’t know about ‘linkbaiting’ until Sunday night… The Huffington Post tell bloggers to make posts topical – they’re the ones benefiting. I searched but there is no way to take it down.”
Fox, who stands by the analogy, told The Drum “I certainly didn’t mean to cause offence”, and on her own blog she has posted an apology, as well as adding an apology on the Huffington Post website.
While the post seemed to get good feedback on Fox’s Facebook page, where there are comments such as: “It's a shame that some of the readers took it so literally. I can understand people being upset but at the same time, I think your analogy is a good one if you remove the emotional sentiment.”
However, the response was completely different on the Huffington Post, with comments such as “This is such a tacky and tasteless capitalization of a woman's tragic death that I don't even have words for it. Please show some respect and class. This should be removed."
She suggested on her own blog that she became bait by raising the profile of the Huffington Post and in particular the small business blog.
Fox said to The Drum that she did try to reply to all comments posted on her blog, but not all of these were allowed through.
On her blog she added: “In a McCarthy-esque turn of events, people began to hunt me down. Huffington Post didn't publish their comments so they turned to Twitter to harass me. Others got to me on facebook. Some tried other routes.
Despite the bad experience, Fox has said that she will continue to blog on the Huffington Post, as she believes that after you have learnt a lesson, you should not walk away from it.
Speaking about how she would use this experience both in her blogging and in her business, Fox said: “The experience has been extremely helpful. I’m certainly going to be treading a little bit more carefully in future seeing how things go viral.