Don’t Piss off the Press!

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    Treat the media right

    In the world of crisis management and public relations, the media is a double-edged sword. With the right treatment, you can turn the media into your greatest tool and ally. Piss them off, though, and you’ll have a monster on your hands.

    In order to help prevent that, here’s a list of “5 bad PR practices that will frustrate journalists,” from a PR Daily article by Gil Rudawsky:

    1. No one home. Sending out a media release and then not having a spokesperson prepped and available to talk about it.
    2. Spinning the news. A common example of this is how some companies disguise terrible earnings by highlighting one piece of good news, even if it is irrelevant.
    3. Flat-out lying. Remember, some reporters will actually make follow-up calls to check out information.
    4. No homework. Following up on a story pitch or idea that already ran in the media outlet. It’s an easy rule, and it takes several minutes.
    5. Sly pitching. Pitching a story to two reporters at the same outlet and not letting either know about it. Trust me, they will find out about it, and good luck getting them to return your calls afterward.

    Reporters, whether professional or amateur, are doing their job just as we’re trying to do ours. Standard professional courtesy goes a long way. Often, responding to requests for interviews or details in a crisis case can lead to favorably placed articles when you’ve got more positive events to announce. Provide solid information to a journalist and you’ve got a lasting connection that benefits both parties.

    For more resources, see the Free Management Library topic: Crisis Management

    [Jonathan Bernstein is president of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. , an international crisis management consultancy, and author of Keeping the Wolves at Bay – Media Training.]