The Glass Isn’t Always Half-Empty

 In Crisis Management & Media Relations, Blog

I often get those calls that could have an underlying scary movie soundtrack playing, where you know something really bad is going to happen. The client calls and says, “The media called.” Their anxiety is through the roof, and they are often scared, angry, or both. Sometimes, a little fear is warranted. Most times, however, they should be excited.

I recently received one of those calls. The client was completely panicked because a local broadcast outlet wanted to do a story about a policy change affecting the client’s business. I didn’t understand the basis for the client’s fear.  “I’m not understanding,” I said. “What did you do wrong?” Nothing was the response. In fact, they explained that they wanted their patrons to know about this policy change, but they had not been able to spread the news. They also wanted local lawmakers to know about it because the policy change would adversely affect many people, and they hoped education on the subject would convince someone to change the policy.

So, this was an opportunity. A golden opportunity. When I explained to the client that they had a chance to educate a reporter on an issue they were passionate about and get the word out to the community in a broad and effective way, suddenly, the client realized this reporter’s call      was exactly what they needed. In fact, they agreed to allow me to pitch the story to numerous media outlets. Eventually, they not only talked to the reporter who initially called, but they did a media circuit. Their patrons called, appreciative of the information. And more importantly, a local lawmaker called after watching one television story and helped them advocate for change.

The lesson here is that perhaps the glass is not always half empty when a reporter calls. There are ways to turn mere inquiries into opportunities because, despite the collective wisdom, reporters are not always the enemy. They are not always out to get you. A newspaper article or radio story may be something your company just has to deal with. But in most circumstances, if looked at from the right perspective, it could be a platform for your business and the most effective way to advertise what you want.

Next time that phone rings and you hear a reporter’s voice, think of a happy soundtrack playing in the background and seize your opportunity to captivate an audience.

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