Clemens Makes His Pitch on YouTube

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New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens has released a video statement on YouTube in response to recent allegations that he used steroids. By using the video sharing site to spin his story, Clemens sidesteps the pitfalls of traditional press conferences, and gives us a glimpse into the future of public relations.

The deck is so stacked against a newsmaker, it’s a wonder people even call press conferences anymore. Reading from prepared statements in drab rooms in front of a hungry press corps that smell blood, who needs to deal with that? YouTube gives what every person embroiled in controversy wants: control.

There are so many advantages to issuing video statements, why aren’t more people doing it?

  1. Timing: Release your news when you want to either maximize or minimize the news cycle. Clemens released his during the holidays (and before his 60 Minutes appearance).
  2. Reach: Get your message in front of everyone you want instantly. Even if your detractors embed your video, they’re still spreading your message. Clemens hosted the video on YouTube, and embedded it on (where you can learn about his foundation).
  3. Setting: Instead of the standard blue curtain, put yourself in front a backdrop that reinforces what you want them to think about you. Clemens put himself in front of a logo highlighting his 300 wins.
  4. Editing: Flub a line? Just say it over. Or say it again — this time with more feeling. Give yourself a dramatic close-up to enhance an emotional plea. Clemens employs a close-up when he makes his denial.
  5. No Interaction: Don’t fall into the trap one of those pesky reporters has set for you, or risk giving an answer your lawyer doesn’t want you to give. Heck, you can even be like the English Royalty and disable the comments from your YouTube page. Clemens can make his statement without getting mired in a thicket of inquiries.
  6. No Sweat: Shooting the video is easy-peasy and a snap to upload to YouTube. While Clemens’ video looks professional, it couldn’t have taken more than a couple hours to shoot.

Though Clemens flubs his video a bit — he never introduces himself and the ending just tapers off, this video is a smart move. Aside from the fact that he’s spinning the story, he’s promoting his upcoming appearance on 60 Minutes, which will draw in more viewers now, and give Clemens more time to prepare for the tough questions.

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