Do you really have to respond to that media inquiry?
Yes. Every time.
There’s no such thing as no comment. True then. True now.
In fact, “could not be reached for comment” is a big loud message about your brand.
This is especially true in these days of our lives when unsubstantiated “facts” and artificial divisions have reached a global fever pitch.
It’s not as scary as you think. Especially if you’ve got an authentic position and the facts, and you’re prepared (really prepared) to share them.
We’ve helped many brands communicate through tough times. Here are some things to consider if you find yourself in a potentially brand-compromising situation:
- Get ready. There’s no such thing as too much prep. Know your facts. All of them. Even the hard ones. And practice preaching them.
- Know your stuff. Be ready to face (and share) those facts. All of them. Even the hard ones.
- Prioritize internal comms. Don’t let your staff hear about your situation on social, or in the local, daily or evening news, with everyone else. Help them understand the situation, what you’re doing about it, and who is (and who isn’t) authorized to speak on behalf of your brand.
- Be available. While you absolutely do not have to answer a question the first time you pick up the phone (see #’s 1 through 3), you do need to be present and available throughout the issue or crisis.
- Practice overcommunication. Nothing new to say? Say that. Managing through a crisis requires constant care. Err on the side of repetition to ensure your message is getting through and on the side of transparency so your stakeholders know you stand behind what you’re saying.
Journalists don’t exist to be your friend. That’s not their purpose. But they do have an important job to do.
And it’s always a good idea to authentically try to help them do it.