Friday, July 29, 2016

Should you tie your business to a national news story?


By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


Because the media is always “on” and always “live” there is the need to constantly search out new content. Often, when there is a big national or international story, local media looks for local businesses, organizations or individuals that may have ties to the story or have expertise related to the story. For instance, if there is a natural disaster, the media may turn to the local Red Cross or The Salvation Army. If, a few months down the road, rebuilding in that impacted area isn’t going as fast as anticipated, local media may turn to area home builders to find out just how long it takes to build a house. In those cases, it doesn’t hurt to showcase your expertise.

But, the media may also call when there’s a national recall or a controversial study is issued. Generally, you don’t want your business or organization tied to that type of negative event. First of all, you probably won’t have all of the pertinent details so it could be difficult to make an informed comment. You could also wind up defending your industry or practices or be put into a position of criticizing a competitor.  

So how do you evaluate whether that kind of a news tie is right for your organization? Ask yourself these questions: Is the overall story positive or negative? Will I have anything to say that will reflect on my business/industry in a good way? Can I reassure others that something similar is unlikely to happen here? And if you decide to go ahead with the interview, find out all you can about the national/international news story and make sure you’ve taken the time to develop and practice your main talking points. 

Sometimes unsolicited media attention can be a good thing; but other times you may want to take a pass.
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