Ten Media Crisis Tips
No comment. These are probably the two most damaging words in the English language to the reputation of a professional, business or organization. While positive publicity is always wanted, what happens when bad publicity comes your way? One day damage control is bound to be necessary. It might be a lawsuit. Maybe an accident at your place of business. Or perhaps a labor dispute. Want it or not, a crisis will bring the media to you and thrust you into the spotlight. In dealing with the media during a crisis, here are 10 specific steps to follow.
Often the first reaction is to say "no comment." This is the worst thing you could ever say, short of a full admission of wrongdoing. Such a comment is condemning, as it implies you have something to hide. The news media and the public will assume you are guilty.
If your goal is to postpone comment until you assemble the facts, there is another phrase you can use. When asked to comment before you are ready, say this instead: "It would be premature to speculate at this time." Tell the media that you are greatly concerned about the issue, it has assumed top priority, and all resources are being used to assess the situation.
Many reporters will admit privately that you will be treated much better by the media if you use this approach. Look at the world through their eyes. They are on a deadline to produce a story. Even if all you can say is that it's premature to speculate, you are helping them out.
If the situation is ugly, by all means get professional public relations help. You are about to be tried in the court of public opinion. Abraham Lincoln said that a person who defended himself in court had a fool for a client. You wouldn't go to a court of law without legal counsel. Don't go into the court of public opinion without competent counsel as well.
In dealing with the media during a crisis, here are 10 specific steps to follow:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Henry DeVries is a marketing coach and writer specializing in lead generation for professional service firms. An adjunct marketing professor at the University of California, San Diego since 1984, he is the author of "Self Marketing Secrets" and the recently published "Client Seduction."
© 2005 Henry DeVries, All rights reserved. You are free to use this material in whole or in part in pint, on a web site or in an email newsletter, as long as you include complete attribution, including live web site link. Please also notify me where the material will appear.
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"By Henry DeVries of the New Client Marketing Institute. Please visit Henry's web site at http://www.newclientmarketing.com for additional marketing articles and resources on marketing for professional service businesses."