CXO

How to deal with the media in times of crisis

If you or your firm find yourselves in the unfortunate position of announcing bad news to the media, you need to make sure your media-relations skills are razor sharp. This collection of TechRepublic and Web resources will get you ready for your close-up.


With layoffs, downsizing, and budget cuts leading the evening news more often than not, you might be saddled with the difficult task of delivering some unhappy news to the press. If the thought of stepping up to a microphone gives you sweaty palms and a cracking voice, you might benefit from a few lessons in public relations. Here’s a rundown of some power-packed resources.

Develop your media-relations skills
Before you step in front of a group of reporters or even take a seemingly innocent phone call from one, you might want to brush up on your public speaking and reporter-relations skills with a few TechRepublic articles.

TechRepublic’s Barbara Eilert and Joan Harvey, a seasoned reporter and TV producer, share the secrets of the trade in this four-part series on dealing with the media:
  • Reporter relations—Harvey helps you devise some media strategies so that you’ll be prepared to get the most out of your publicity when a reporter calls.
  • Studio savvy—A studio interview is a little different than being interviewed by a reporter. Harvey offers some tips to make your guest appearance enjoyable and successful.
  • Crisis communications: It's not an ordinary day—Facing a crisis head-on can help restore your company's credibility in the face of disaster. Barbara Eilert offers these tips for weathering the storm.
  • Hooking the media—How you position your company’s event can make or break your media coverage. Here are some tips on how to get the best media coverage possible.

The power of poise and preparedness
Sending news releases is a low-cost way to advertise your consulting firm. But the success of releases depends on when you send them, where you send them, and how you send them. Read "Promote your firm with an effective news release" for tips and tricks from Thomas Pack.

If you’re already in a public relations panic, whether it’s an announcement of layoffs or a lethal legal battle, read Matthew Osborne’s"Litigation, legislation, and lawsuits: Managing a public relations crisis."

You'll also want to check out our article, "Present your good side during public speeches," which includes tips on how to organize your presentation, deliver an impressive speech, and recover from mistakes.

Also on the Web…
Visit About.com to find more resources for handling your firm’s announcements and getting the most out of your media exposure. The following three articles will give you a start:
  • Picking the right PR firm is easy—If you’ve decided to let the experts handle your media relations, follow the steps laid out in this article to “pick a winner.”
  • Develop a crisis communications plan—Use these 12 steps to plan for any potential crisis in your business. “Advance crisis communications planning can mean the difference between disaster and survival.”
  • How to produce a winning news conference—You know the who, what, when, where, why, and how, but do you know how to deliver your message in a compelling way? Use these 15 steps to prepare a winning news conference that packs a powerful punch.
What sorts of media crises have you survived, and what was the most important thing you learned from the experience? Share your thoughts with your fellow members by posting your comments below or send us an e-mail, and we’ll share the best stories in a future article.

Editor's Picks