How NOT To Engage With The Media In A Crisis

Communicating with the media in a crisis is always a tricky experience.

The media have an in-built sense of when things are going badly within and organisation and have a determined and dogged approach to uncovering more dirt/scandal/mismanagement in order to satisfy their reader’s lust for interesting news and to sell copy.

Never take it personally they are just doing a job – of sorts!

The chance of scoring a spectacular own-goal in how this is managed is increased drastically when there is a calamitous mismatching of PR strategy to the current situation. Classic examples would include;

  1. Calling a press conference to announce something relatively minor – message is “What are you hiding?”
  2. Having staff with poor communication skills escort a group of VIPs on a tour around the establishment – just asking for a PR spanking.
  3. Issuing the same generic press release to all media outlets – how rigid, inflexible, uncaring and patronising does that feel to be on the receiving end?
  4. Having a relatively junior spokesperson for any PR issue – message reads loud and clear that PR is not taken seriously and that the perception of the importance of PR is, well, pretty low.
  5. Threatening editors with removal of advertising if they fail to kill a story unfavourable to your organisation. Oh dear, smelling slightly of desperation there. Ideally the editor will have rung you first to let you know what was up and coming to allow you time to muster your PR response.
  6. Making clumsy attempts to get staff to masquerade as neutral parties by writing letters and ringing talkback radio with scripted responses. The refuge of only the truly desperate – if that ever gets out you are totally fried and have nowhere to hide. That mud really does stick!
  7. Telling blatant lies. It is perfectly fine to “spin” a story but never lie. Difficult possibly to keep up the pretence, a whistle-blowers paradise and once the lie is out in the open your reputation is totally trashed.

For more information on our services please contact us at www.davidsummertonconsulting.co.uk

How Not To Engage With The Media In A Crisis

Communicating with the media in a crisis is always a tricky experience.

The media have an in-built sense of when things are going badly within and organisation and have a determined and dogged approach to uncovering more dirt/scandal/mismanagement in order to satisfy their reader’s lust for interesting news and to sell copy.

Never take it personally they are just doing a job – of sorts!

The chance of scoring a spectacular own-goal in how this is managed is increased drastically when there is a calamitous mismatching of PR strategy to the current situation. Classic examples would include;

  1. Calling a press conference to announce something relatively minor – message is “What are you hiding?”
  2. Having staff with poor communication skills escort a group of VIPs on a tour around the establishment – just asking for a PR spanking.
  3. Issuing the same generic press release to all media outlets – how rigid, inflexible, uncaring and patronising does that feel to be on the receiving end?
  4. Having a relatively junior spokesperson for any PR issue – message reads loud and clear that PR is not taken seriously and that the perception of the importance of PR is, well, pretty low.
  5. Threatening editors with removal of advertising if they fail to kill a story unfavourable to your organisation. Oh dear, smelling slightly of desperation there. Ideally the editor will have rung you first to let you know what was up and coming to allow you time to muster your PR response.
  6. Making clumsy attempts to get staff to masquerade as neutral parties by writing letters and ringing talkback radio with scripted responses. The refuge of only the truly desperate – if that ever gets out you are totally fried and have nowhere to hide. That mud really does stick!
  7. Telling blatant lies. It is perfectly fine to “spin” a story but never lie. Difficult possibly to keep up the pretence, a whistle-blowers paradise and once the lie is out in the open your reputation is totally trashed.

For more information on our services please contact us at www.davidsummertonconsulting.co.uk

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