In the uncertain political environment we are in right now, some members of your organizations may be thinking “Retreat!”, “Don’t engage the media!”, “Don’t seek out attention!” While it is understandable why those thoughts exist, having that mindset is actually holding you back from real opportunity to have your organization’s voice heard.
As communicators, we may just need to go about things in slightly new and creative ways. Here are five tips to think about as you’re planning the best outcome for your media strategy this year:
- Record two versions of soundbites. If a vote or announcement is expected and you want to comment immediately, record two different versions of your spokesperson’s response. That way, depending which way a decision goes, you can easily and quickly pitch the appropriate soundbite. With 265 million people listening to the radio each week, there is huge potential to have your organization’s position be a part of the conversation.
- Do a media push from your legislative fly-in in D.C. Your spokespeople are all in one place and they’re in the mindset of political advancement. They’re coming to and from meetings on the Hill. Doing radio interviews make sense for them to report back to their home audience, and plus, you’ll be there to offer them feedback in-person.
- Be prepared to continue the conversation with a call to action. People are looking for ways to get involved. If they hear your spokesperson being interviewed on their drive home, you need to let them know how they can be a part of the change or the conversation. Do you have a clear call to action? Many organizations will set up a micro-site before doing a big media push. A web address that’s easy to remember, where further instructions can live. Do you want people to head to Twitter? Do you want them to call their representatives in Congress? Be specific.
- Talk about what you’re hoping will happen. It’s OK that you don’t know some things. A lot of industries don’t know what to expect in terms of funding and priority the new administration will put on their issues. You’re not alone. But that doesn’t mean you should not do media interviews. Transition to talking about what your goals are, or about what happened last year and how you hope that will drive the conversation this year. You don’t have to have all the answers.
- Be adaptable if you’re asked about a hot button topic. Don’t be afraid of doing media just because you may be asked a tough question. Most journalists are fair, balanced and thorough in their reporting. And, you should want them to be. They are just doing their job. Have a brief response prepared for such a question and make sure your spokesperson is comfortable with it. That way, if asked, they can confidently answer, and move on.