PR Promises: Keep Them
Several months ago NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams (now no longer with NBC) took a temporary leave of absence from his job to reduce the controversy that swirled around his false claim that he was aboard a helicopter that was “hit and crippled” by enemy fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
According to the PR News Blog Report, not only did he erode his own credibility, he also jeopardized that of NBC's as well. The report’s author Matthew Schwartz notes that this very tragic mistake is a lesson all public relations professionals can learn from.
“The scandal is a stark reminder that even the slightest embellishment in communications could seriously damage your career and reputation, not to mention the guilt by association that your brand or organization would most likely suffer if you get caught in a lie.”
We know first-hand that maintaining credibility with the media is essential today and tomorrow. Many times members of the media have been willing to consider our pitches BECAUSE we are credible. We don’t switch and bait and we don’t make promises we don’t keep.
We also treat our media contacts with respect because we value them and know that the relationships we build are designed to be long term.
The PR News Blog Report mentions 4 things to never say to reporters. Here are two:
“We have an exclusive story planned for you.” You better make sure upper management is in alignment with the particular media outlet you have in mind for the exclusive. These things can change on a dime, and nothing alienates a reporter more than having an “exclusive” suddenly disappear, particularly after he told the editorial brass.
“I can get you an interview with the CEO to talk about the new campaign.” Oh really? Is this something that was definitely agreed upon during a recent board meeting to discuss a specific campaign or did the CEO mention in passing that he or she wants to be more media-friendly (without providing any kind of commitment)?
Schwartz suggests several more things that are also helpful to keep in mind. To read the complete article, click here.
Related Article: Working with the Media.