HOME
          
LATEST STORY
A conversation with David Rose, little magazine veteran and publisher of Lapham’s Quarterly
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
June 28, 2011, 5 p.m.

Chesapeake Energy fights bad PR by buying Promoted Tweets on Twitter

Chesapeake Energy promoted tweet

Chesapeake Energy was not pleased, to put it politely, with Sunday’s New York Times story about the natural gas industry. The piece quotes from company emails to suggest Chesapeake executives are overstating productivity and profitability.

Chesapeake PR responded swiftly and strongly, but with a novel social media tactic: The company bought Promoted Tweets on search terms like the hashtag #naturalgas and the Times’ primary account @nytimes. Search for either one of those terms and you’ll see the top tweet features a link to CEO Aubrey McClendon’s rebuttal. (The company is rotating multiple tweets in the promoted slot.)

Spokesman E. Blake Jackson, who manages the @Chesapeake account, is actively replying to tweets that mention natural gas, retweeting users who link to favorable stories, and sharing links to stories from other news outlets, including a fracking-friendly Wall Street Journal editorial. (The company posted McClendon’s email-to-staffers rebuttal on Facebook, by the way, not the corporate website, to make it easily sharable.)

Back in the day, a corporation stung by a newspaper story might try to buy a full-page ad in the paper. But that route was controlled by the very organization they were battling. Targeting PR ad dollars toward social media is another sign it isn’t just stories that can spread virally — it’s also the conversations around those stories, pro or con.

I’m trying to get in touch with Chesapeake for an interview, but until then I’ll note that their move seems to be an evolution of one we reported on in late 2009. Back then it was the New Zealand fishing lobby that was mad at The New York Times, about a story alleging overfishing. The New Zealand Seafood Industry Council bought Google text ads in response to a the story. The ads (“NYT Apologizes for Story”) targeted users discussing the Times article in their Gmail accounts or searching for more information about the bug-eyed hoki fish, linking users to a critique of the article. Of course, an ad impression only goes so far: Chesapeake’s spin is shareable, commentable, and retweetable.

POSTED     June 28, 2011, 5 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
Show comments  
Show tags
 
Join the 15,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
A conversation with David Rose, little magazine veteran and publisher of Lapham’s Quarterly
“I hear the argument, Oh, these poor little magazines with their tiny readerships, if only people appreciated them more. It’s partly true. But the bigger side of that is, well, if only you knew how to read a budget. If only you actually knew anything about publishing.”
The New Inquiry: Not another New York literary magazine
For New Inquiry publisher Rachel Rosenfelt, building cultural significance was easy — building a sustainable business is the hard part.
iOS 8: How 5 news orgs have updated their apps for Apple’s new operating system
ABC, the AP, Breaking News, The Guardian, and The New York Times have all updated apps (or introduced new ones) to take advantage of new features on iOS 8.
What to read next
753
tweets
How a Norwegian public radio station is using Snapchat to connect young listeners with news
“A lot of people check their phones before they get out of the bed in the morning, and they check social media before the news sites.”
727When it comes to chasing clicks, journalists say one thing but feel pressure to do another
Newsroom ethnographer Angèle Christin studied digital publications in France and the U.S. in order to compare how performance metrics influence culture.
714Wearables could make the “glance” a new subatomic unit of news
“The audience wants to go faster. This can’t be solved with responsive design; it demands an original approach, certainly at the start.”
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Encyclo is our encyclopedia of the future of news, chronicling the key players in journalism’s evolution.
Here are a few of the entries you’ll find in Encyclo.   Get the full Encyclo ➚
Vox Media
Backfence
Chicago Tribune
Sacramento Press
Upworthy
The Daily
New Haven Independent
The Atlantic
Current TV
Amazon
The Weekly Standard
New West