I’m witnessing a case study of media management and communications brilliance so wonderful that I want to shout it from the rooftops. But I won’t. It would betray confidences for a story-in-progress. Yet it shows how, even in a world where media has gone online and conventional “press” has lost much of its power, if you can cultivate excellent relationships with the news media you may be able to achieve amazing results and even save your business from an immediate killer crisis.
What I can say is that the success here in part results from the business owner having developed excellent relationships with journalists in less-stressful circumstances. This gave him (a) direct contact when he needed it and (b) enough credibility that the journalist, seeing a good story and a scoop, took the story seriously.
There are other chapters here including the careful “drip management” of the story to other media outlets, perhaps convenient timing for the crisis (a long weekend with a low-news cycle) and strategic measures to avoid embarrassment along the way by honourably controlling media access to certain sites/interviews — without putting on any appearance of manipulating or tricking the media.
I think any architectural, engineering and construction business should give priority to conventional media relationships and management, along (and in conjunction with) a solid social media presence, though the benefits may be uncertain and jerky, and I don’t think any business would like to experience the crisis I’m seeing here, for which the publicity pill has turned out to be the magical cure.
You should understand you forego much control when you engage/encourage media involvement and participation in your business, but you can manage the story, and there are some best practices which will help prevent media relations disasters.
I plan to work for the next six months compiling stories, examples, and developing strategies to help businesses with their media relationships and management. If you have a news media challenge or success story, please share it (in confidence if you wish) to firstname.lastname@example.org or as a comment here.