COMPANY MEDIA POLICY
The POWER of PR with Danae Jones
It surprises me just how many companies do not have an active media policy or media crisis management plan in place.
A media policy should be one of the key components of any business and the time needs to be taken to have one properly drafted.
You might say, “but I only run a small business and we don’t speak with the media”; and that’s probably true, but you still need some form of policy in place to deal with the media if and when the time arises. What if you aren’t in the office and the media turn up on your doorstep. How are your staff meant to respond?
If you run a small business and can’t afford to have a professional consultant formulate a media policy for you, that doesn’t mean you should throw it in the too hard basket and forget about it.
A very basic media policy can be put together by you or one of your staff, but ensure that you include the following:
Nominate at least two company spokespeople
Put together a procedure for staff to follow if media enquiries are being fielded
If your business is a franchise or part of a national chain you also need to consider what you can and can’t say to the media without approval.
There is a long list of situations and scenarios that need to be addressed in a comprehensive media policy, but if you are attempting to formulate one yourself, the top three points at the very least need to be covered.
A media policy is also a very useful tool in the case of a crisis situation. Just think how much more at ease you will feel knowing that your staff are well informed and trained on how to deal with the media and should your staff receive any media enquiries during your absence, you can rest assured that they know the right process to follow to ensure your company profile isn’t damaged in any way.
Once a media policy is formulated, staff need to be trained in how to deal with the media, no matter what the situation. They should also be taken through the media policy step by step, so if the situation arises that the media do call your business, your staff will know what to say straight away.
I’ve seen it happen time and time again, where a company finds itself attracting media attention, be it positive or negative, and the staff do not know how to deal with the media and are often frightened to talk to them for fear of saying the wrong thing. This lack of training could mean the difference between taking advantage of a positive publicity opportunity or not.
A public relations consultant can point you in the right direction when it comes to media policies and crisis management plans, but if you aren’t about to give one a call anytime soon, at least do yourself a favour and have a brief plan in place for your staff to follow.
Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of headaches in the long run!
Danae Jones is Principal of PR & Marketing firm Danae Jones Consulting