There are four main reasons an organisation decides to engage the media:
- to promote their organisation and its work,
- to persuade the public of their viewpoint,
- to pressure government or regulatory bodies to act, and
- to protect their organisation from reputational damage.
With a new financial year coming up it’s worth doing a media audit of your organisation to see where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and where you might need to invest more time and resources.
Promotion and PR
Outside of paid media like advertising, Public Relations is the chief way that organisations promote their work and objectives.
It is by far the most cost-effective way to promote your organisation, is much more trusted, goes into more detail, and is much more agile – able to react to the news cycles or developments. PR is the only media source with credibility because its about problems and solutions, not promotion and sales.
Is it for you? The media thrives on industry experts and case studies, so if you have opinions on your industry and access to case studies (those impacted by issues) you can do PR.
Recommendation Look at your marketing budget and consider setting aside a sum for PR to complement your broader comms and marketing strategy.
Persuasion and Media Training
If you decide that you want to boost your organisation’s profile and credibility by speaking to the media, you want to make each media hit a winner, and should consider media training.
A media opportunity or interview should not be approached as a conversation with a journalist. Have your mind focused on the key messages you want to deliver, how to pivot and control the interview so it steers toward your talking points, and how to deliver impactful interviews by using sandwiching techniques and real life examples that illustrate why your messages are important and impact lives.
Is it for you? If you want to become a media go to person in your sector, have a vision for your sector, want to impress potential stakeholders, and want to make a difference, media training will help you nail those objectives.
Recommendation If your spokespeople need training, a brush up, you want to become an industry leader, or you’re looking to spread brand equity, consider booking in for media training.
Pressure and Campaigning
Organisations and industries have been severely buffeted by COVID and many are turning to campaigning or lobbying to impact government policy or funding. One of the key elements of campaigning is to apply pressure in the right spots.
Some campaigning is purely inside, i.e. lobbyists doing inside work with politicians like scoping opinion, having meetings, articulating the case for change. Other campaigns require an outside dimension: working through traditional, social, and digital media channels to build public support and pressure for change.
So many causes could be impactful and move votes if sentiment and people are cohered into a group. A successful campaign focused on the right people, be they MPs in specific portfolios, their opposite number, those in marginal seats, or departmental heads, achieves enormous outcomes.
Is it for you? If there are significant problems in your sector that might have broad resonance in the public, or amongst significant cohorts (older Australians, those with a disability, small business owners, the construction industry, etc.) then you have the foundations for a lobbying campaign.
Recommendation Speak to some others in your industry to gauge their appetite for activity and action. If resources are an issue, consider splitting the cost amongst others in your industry, enlisting the peak body, and/or having a fundraising element to help cover costs.
Protection and Crisis Media
We live in an increasingly volatile world. In fifty years, global warming is set to plunge a third of the world into Saharan conditions. The World Health Organisation suggests pandemics will continue apace. Political instability will not abate due to the rise of China and India and the relative decline of the west. All that while digital and social media surveillance continues to monitor individuals and organisations.
And this is just the outside noise and wallpaper. Each organisation and industry will face its own micro and particular problems, from CEO faux-pas’, to industrial relations issues, to mental health, to social equality, to staff behaviour. Invariably there will be problems, the question is how do organisations respond to them? If an organisation shuts down, or if it makes a mis-step, it can very quickly have its brand equity wiped out. Doing a crisis media audit, establishing a crisis media team, anticipating the topics likely to occur and responses is absolutely critical today. An organisation that doesn’t have a crisis media plan is like a truck fleet going on the road without insurance.
Is it for you? If your reputation matters to your stakeholders, clients, staff, and the public, then the answer is yes.
Recommendation Get a plan underway, pronto.
The best organisations develop ecosystems where budget is set aside for all these matters and is something you should consider investing in for the new financial year.
Founder and Director of Good Talent Media