One valuable asset public relations consultants can bring is their own credibility with reporters. Credibility with journalists is not easily gained, and it’s earned through honesty and transparency with reporters over sustained periods of time. But, credibility doesn’t necessarily equate to the media reporting what you want. That’s why you always want to make sure you hire a PR consultant who plays the role of advocate – someone who is out there fighting for you, your brand, or your cause – and not someone concerned about preserving a “good” relationship with reporters. The former is someone who is on your side; the latter can be a walking conflict.
It’s been three years since Rolling Stone published its infamous and defamatory report about rape allegations at the University of Virginia, but it’s important to revisit the most piercing analysis of what the magazine did wrong. Rolling Stone’s investigation: ‘a failure that was avoidable,’ a report co-authored by the dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, is still worth reading because it has crisis communications lessons for every potential target of investigative journalism. Indeed, it’s a tool you can now use with reporters, should you need it.Read More
For startup and high-growth companies, learning that a reporter is sniffing around and asking hard questions can be bone-chilling. Perhaps you have heard from investors that a reporter has called. Perhaps the reporter messaged employees on LinkedIn. Typically, the client instinct in these instances is to go fetal and speculate about worst-case scenarios. We’ve seen this time and again, and it is almost always the wrong crisis management approach. Here’s the right one: call the reporter.
The companies best at crisis management aren’t the ones who do everything right after a crisis emerges; they’re the ones who do things right before there’s even the hint of a potential crisis. There are three steps you can take right now, when everything is calm, to put you far ahead of the game should a crisis emerge.