HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The newsonomics of MLB’s pioneering mobile experience
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.
The newsonomics of MLB’s pioneering mobile experience
Running a sports league and running a news operation aren’t the same thing. But there are lessons to be learned from baseball’s success in navigating mobile.
Why The New York Times built a tool for crowdsourced time travel
Madison, a new tool that asks readers to help identify ads in the Times archives, is part of a new open source platform for crowdsourcing built by the company’s R&D Lab.
Opening up the archives: JSTOR wants to tie a library to the news
Its new site JSTOR Daily highlights interesting research and offers background and context on current events.
What to read next
1020
tweets
The newsonomics of the millennial moment
The new wave of news startups is aiming at a younger audience. But do legacy media companies have a chance at earning their attention?
803A mixed bag on apps: What The New York Times learned with NYT Opinion and NYT Now
The two apps were part of the paper’s plan to increase digital subscribers through smaller, targeted offerings. Now, with staff cutbacks on the way, one app is being shuttered and the other is being adjusted.
413The new Vox daily email, explained
The company’s newsletter, Vox Sentences, enters an increasingly crowded inbox. Can concise writing and smart aggregation on the day’s news help expand their audience?
These stories are our most popular on Twitter over the past 30 days.
See all our most recent pieces ➚
Fuego is our heat-seeking Twitter bot, tracking the links the future-of-journalism crowd is talking about most on Twitter.
Here are a few of the top links Fuego’s currently watching.   Get the full Fuego ➚
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 ➚
The Ann Arbor Chronicle
Chicago Tribune
Suck.com
The Atlantic
EveryBlock
WyoFile
Semana
Las Vegas Sun
News Corp
Craigslist
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Forbes