HOME
          
LATEST STORY
What’s the right news experience on a phone? Stacy-Marie Ishmael and BuzzFeed are trying to figure it out
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.
What’s the right news experience on a phone? Stacy-Marie Ishmael and BuzzFeed are trying to figure it out
“Nobody has to read you. You have to earn that. You have to respect people’s attention.”
Come work for Nieman Lab
We have an opening for a staff writer in our Cambridge newsroom.
The newsonomics of telling your audience what they should do
At WNYC, a public radio station is getting more aggressive about telling people what to do: go vote, get more sleep, stay healthy. What happens when a news outlet starts talking about behavior change?
What to read next
686
tweets
Ken Doctor: The New York Times’ financials show the transition to digital accelerating
The numbers may look flat, but they contain a continuing set of ups and downs. Up next: executing on a year’s worth of launches.
496Controlled chaos: As journalism and documentary film converge in digital, what lessons can they share?
Old and new media types from journalism, documentary, and technology backgrounds gathered at MIT to share practices and discuss mutual concerns.
389Here’s some remarkable new data on the power of chat apps like WhatsApp for sharing news stories
At least in certain contexts, WhatsApp is a truly major traffic driver — bigger even than Facebook. Should there be a WhatsApp button on your news site?
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 ➚
Tampa Bay Times
The New Republic
Circa
Daily Mail
New West
National Journal
Next Door Media
TBD
Center for Investigative Reporting
San Diego News Network
PolitiFact
Semana