Why You Shouldn’t Fear the Media


Don’t trust the media!

I’ve heard this a million times and I’m not sure if it’s due to the over exaggerations we see in the movies of the aggressive reporter hiding in the bush, or if it is due to a bad past experience. Either way, I’m going to try to help you see the benefits that can come from working with the media.

During my days in the media, I would often call individuals to inquire about different topics and be greeted on the other end by someone who was absolutely terrified to speak with me.

Maybe it was a fear of speaking on TV or on the radio, or maybe they just didn’t want to have their picture in the paper.  Either way, it made me wonder what the possibilities would have been had they not shown such objection.

If fact, strong relationships with members of the media can be a huge benefit to your business or organization.  Many companies spend hours strategizing on how to get media coverage. That’s because PR is often viewed as being way more credible than paid advertising.

So I’ve compiled 5 things for you to consider in your attempt to build better media relations:

1. Learn who makes up the media  – The first thing you need to do is create a media list and determine who you want to get to know.  Most businesses already have these lists, but not many know the journalists on the list personally.  In fact many businesses just send emails with press releases attached without ever really taking the time to get to know the reporters on the receiving end.  That leads to my second point……

2. Build real relationships – The goal is to make authentic connections with members of the media. Remember, the media is not the enemy.  In fact, most are just like you – just trying to go to work each day and do their job.  They are open and willing to build relationships too.

3. Learn about their job – Find out what journalists do on a daily basis.  Get an understanding of their deadlines and responsibilities.

4. Create a win/win relationship – Offer to assist and provide insight on subjects when opportunities come up.  Many journalists keep a list of names of people they can contact for comments or analysis on different subjects.  Even if you don’t offer your services, most journalists end up calling on people they have relationships with. You too can be of assistance!

5. Be realistic – It is important to remember that even though you have taken the time to get to know members of the media on a personal level, at the end of the day, they still have a job to do.  A journalists first responsibility is to present an unbiased perspective of the story.  If you acknowledge this and still maintain a strong relationship regardless of how the story is written, you will be much further ahead!

Good luck and remember, the media is your friend!


Small Business, Big Crisis – What You Say Makes a Difference

“How to communicate in a crisis situation using the 3 R’s.”

It’s a common misconception that only large companies face situations that can have a negative impact on their reputation.  In fact, no business is really immune to the issues that surface in a time of crisis.  And the way in which a company decides how to handle their communication can greatly affect the outcome.

In crisis communication we refer to these as the 3 R’s.   Regret, Reason and Remedy are used to help formulate the key statements to be communicated to stakeholders during these difficult times.

For the sake of discussion, lets say a local restaurant gets shut down over a health inspection report.

The way the restaurant may put the 3 R’s into action might be something like this:

Regret – The business should start by showing regret over the issue itself and communicate their concern to their key stakeholders.  In some situations they may even apologize for the closure since it will likely have an impact on their customers.

“We regret to inform our customers and staff that the restaurant had to be closed due to some concerns brought to our attention by the health department.  We understand that this closure may be an inconvenience to our clients who continue to be our most loyal customers.”

Reason – Most people want to know “why” something has happened.  If a business can provide the reason, or at the very least, some type of explanation, it can help to avoid rumours from spreading, and help to build back trust.

“As a company we take full responsibility for the issues that have been presented to us by the health department.  We are working hard to determine how some of these key areas may have been missed.  We take these concerns very seriously.”

Remedy – Even the best explanation in the world, isn’t going to help restore reputation in a time of crisis.  But what a company chooses to do, and say, in order to rectify the situation can certainly have a huge impact.

“While we determine how these issues came to light in the first place, we intend on making some major changes in our operations to ensure this doesn’t happen again. First, we will be taking this time to initiate a massive store-wide cleaning and inspection.  We will also be providing quarterly staff training sessions to ensure every member of our team, new and old, abides by the health standards set out.”

The best part about the 3 R’s of crisis communication is that they can also be used to help manage customer complaints.  They often help to diffuse a situation, provide context and help to build customer loyalty.

Give them a try the next time you encounter a crisis, whether big or small!