SIMPLE STEPS: How to start to answer a media query

I accidentally killed a sacred cow this week.

For years I’ve agreed with the view that everyone thinks they can do comms.

The librarian with the clip-art poster because they think they can do comms.

The director asking for drone footage because they think they can do comms.

The transport officer’s website knocked up because they think they can comms.

They all think they can do it from design to writing and they’re almost always wrong.

But it dawned on me the one thing all the self-appointed battalion of experts will run from is to answer the phone to a journalist.

I’ve also come to realise that it’s also the one thing that most PR and comms people will really dread.

During training, it’s clear that this is one thing that fills people will fear.

Let me share something with you, the strategy is simple.

First, ask their name, who they work for, what their question is and what their deadline is.

If they’re pressing you for information immediately they’re just doing their job but you don’t have to answer. Check it out first.

Your organisation has maybe thousands of people making tens of thousands of decisions a day. There’s no way you know what’s happening everywhere. You are not omnipotent.

So the answer to them: ‘I don’t know, I’ll find out’ is a reasonable one. Keep repeating it if you need to.

Once you know this strategy, it becomes easier and you’ll become more confident in doing the hardest task in comms and PR.

For more information about ESSENTIAL MEDIA SKILLS I deliver training head here.

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