Dealing with the press is an important and unavoidable aspect of public relations. Handled properly, it can be a plus to anyone, brand or organisation, otherwise it could be the beginning of a downward spiral for whoever is involved.
Here are some guidelines for effectively dealing with the press:
1. Stay Professional & Stick to Facts
While it is okay to make use of humour, be aware that your jokes can be taken out of context. The reporter is talking to you to “break or make the news” – it is in your best interest to stay factual and professional.
2. Don’t Say Anything You Don’t Want Published
The reporter may not need your permission to write or print anything you say, so don’t share any information you would not want to be made public knowledge.
3. Gather all Necessary Data
The reporter isn’t the only one who can ask questions. Get as much information as you can about the issue at hand. Only give answers to what you can, and don’t feel pressured to respond to every question right away. You can request for more time to properly understand the situation. This has an added benefit as that time-gap between conversation and deadline also gives you an opportunity to deal with the issue and by the time you get back with the reporter, the problem may have been resolved.
It is important to note that most of the time the press is simply trying to engage their audience with what they consider newsworthy, with that at the back of your mind informing your decisions in relating with the press you are better able to know how to shape the conversation in your favour.