November 23, 2015
Before your next public event or speech, consult with PR
Dr. Ben Carson is widely considered to be one of the more likeable and honest of the Republican candidates running for president. Nonetheless, his ride has not been completely smooth. The media is now accusing him of lying and exaggerating his credentials.
This kind of allegation is damaging, whether you’re a candidate for the country’s top job or CEO of a corporation. Using PR tools and tactics can help get you out of this type of crisis, but only if they are done correctly. Your company and top executives can learn from Dr. Carson’s experience and manage and prevent your own media troubles.
Don’t let the media tell your story
Once the media sinks its teeth into a story, it almost takes on a life of its own. Before you know it, they will be telling your story for you. Don’t let this happen. When negative news hits, get in front of it as soon as possible. Quickly find out what went wrong, decide what you will do to fix it and communicate it on all channels. Also, if an apology is in order, make sure it is done sincerely and promptly. In short, get the truth out there as fast as possible.
Don’t let just anyone speak for you
Dr. Carson – and your company – can benefit from the services of a professionally trained media spokesperson. Carson is currently using his friend and business manager. You want to be sure that your CEO, or anyone allowed to speak on your behalf, has the patience, knowledge and training to deal with anything the media throws your way. A spokesperson should be articulate, prepared and confident enough to convey your messages, even under constant pressure and scrutiny.
Don’t attack the media
When someone hits you, it’s human nature to want to hit back, but this would be unwise. You would be better served to make the media your friends. You can do this in several ways, such as granting one-on-one interviews, making yourself and staff available for comments and offering helpful information even if it is not directly related to your company or current situation.
Don’t hide from the media spotlight
Some companies may believe that in order to avoid conflict, it’s best not to seek any media attention at all. But this is incorrect. Companies need news coverage to tell their stories, announce important developments and increase visibility. You just have to know how to manage it correctly. With help from PR, you can learn to speak the language of journalists, attract more positive coverage and minimize the damage if a crisis does occur.
Don’t forget to hire a PR firm early
Many companies wait until things get out of control before bringing in a PR team. This forces your PR representatives to play catch-up, wasting valuable time as they get up to speed on the issue. Having PR experts review your messages first may prevent a crisis from happening at all.
Before a crisis consumes your company, contact Axia Public Relations. We can develop a crisis communication strategy to help you frame your messages in the best light. After a crisis, we will help to restore your reputation and get you back on track. For more information and tips, download our ebook Managing Public Relations in a Crisis.
Lisa Goldsberry is a writer for Axia Public Relations with more than 15 years of public relations experience. She specializes in business, higher education and technology PR. Connect with Axia Public Relations on Twitter at @axiapr.
Featured image credit: Creative Commons