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What President Trump is doing right in media relations and what your company can learn from it

By Lisa Goldsberry

U.S._Presidential_Candidate_Donald_Trump_and_his_daughter_Ivanka_in_September_2016-523854-edited.jpg3 smart PR tools to guide you in dealing with news media

There has been much talk recently about President Trump and his very public battles with the news media. His tactics have been mostly unorthodox and his media style seems more shoot-from-the-hip than a comprehensive approach to news coverage. Still, he has done a few things right. With the help of public relations tools, your company can learn from Trump’s methods to develop your own media policy.

1. Decide what kind of relationship you want to have with reporters.

Although Trump has developed a contentious association with many members of the media, it’s of his own making. This is not the first time a U.S. president has been at war with the press and each has found his own method of dealing with journalists. Trump, however, has extended his anti-establishment stance to reporters, treating journalists with contempt, which affects how they cover him.

It’s vital for you to determine how you will work with news media to tell your story and gain increased visibility. You can work with journalists to build mutually beneficial relationships and earn positive coverage. This takes a smart media strategy, the right content and help from a good PR firm.

You could also choose to alienate the media by not returning calls, being evasive or pestering them with unremarkable news and pitches. Remember that how the media perceives you (and ultimately every prospect and customer) is up to you.

  1. Shift attention from negative stories.

Throughout his campaign and now that he is in office, Trump consistently deflects interest in one story with a different, attention-grabbing subject. For example, when the media was waiting for his first news conference to discuss the touchy subject of his business conflicts of interest, Trump was instead having a meet-and-greet with controversial rapper Kanye West, which attracted plenty of attention. The conflict of interest story has not completely disappeared, but it’s not in the spotlight anymore.

While your company may not be able to call up a superstar to get out of trouble, there are ways to change the focus of negative information and direct the conversation. Releasing positive information and crafting a favorable story can help to redirect attention and push negative information aside.

  1. Use non-traditional media outlets and social media to reach target audiences.

Recognizing that his core constituents had little trust in traditional media sources, Trump and his campaign worked to find alternative ways to connect. This included social media platforms like Twitter and Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which owns stations popular in Midwestern swing states. The organization received unprecedented access to Trump in exchange for favorable coverage. It’s a deal many perceive as unethical, but it was very effective for Trump.

Of course, your company eschewing traditional media altogether would be like shooting itself in the foot; it’s vital to go where your target audience is most likely to see you. For instance, you might find more success with industry publications or showing the evolution of your product through YouTube videos or in photos on Instagram. A smart PR agency can help your company get the right kind of attention and in the right places.

The media experts at Axia Public Relations understand the changing face of journalism and news cycles and will position your company to take full advantage. To learn more, contact us now or download our e-book Learn Media Relations from the Media.

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lisag-new.jpgLisa Goldsberry is a senior blogger for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business and technology PR. Lisa has worked for Axia since December 2013. Learn more about Lisa Goldsberry. Connect with Axia on Twitter @axiapr or tell us what you think in the comments below.








Featured image credit: Creative Commons

Topics: media, public companies

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