Thursday, November 19, 2015

14 Trust-Busting Ways to Destroy Your Credibility with the Media

Media and presentation skills coach Edward Segal contributed today's post. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times, and is author of Profit by Publicity. His post describes 14 ways publicists, spokespersons and executives destroy the media's trust.

Credibility is essential when trying to generate publicity. 

If you are in the public spotlight (or want to be), your ability to instill trust among the media will determine your reputation with reporters, editors, columnists and bloggers.

Trust is about establishing (and maintaining) successful working relationships with those on whom you depend for publicity.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of ways to get on a reporter’s bad side. Here are some of the major ones, followed by the excuses you might use to justify violating the media's trust.

But then, why would you?

  1. Don’t return e-mails, texts, or phone calls from the media. (Excuse: “Don’t they know I’m busy?”)

  2. Refuse to provide the source of facts, figures, research, or other information that you include in your news releases or answers to questions from the media. (Excuse: “They should believe me, and not question where I got the information.”)

  3. Don’t spell check, proof, or fact check news releases and other press materials. (Excuse: “There’s no such thing as perfection. Beside, who cares if it’s not 100% accurate?”)

  4. If you don’t know the answer to a question posed by a journalist, just make it up. (Excuse: “Politicians do it all the time, so why shouldn’t I?”) 

  5. Don’t post the latest news releases and other information on your Web site. (Excuse: “They could Google it if they want to.”) 

  6. Plagiarize information, research, or quotes. (Excuse: “I have too much on my plate to write it myself. Besides, no one will ever find out!”)

  7. Miss deadlines important to reporters. (Excuse: “I’ve have my own problems!”)

  8. Agree to do media interviews on topics in which you have no knowledge or expertise. (Excuse: “Why should I pass up an opportunity to be quoted by the media?”)

  9. Cite outdated or questionable facts, figures or other information in your press materials or conversations with reporters. (Excuse: “I just don’t have time to update all of that stuff myself!”)

  10. Do or say something that will make the reporter look bad in the eyes of her editor, colleagues or audience. (Excuse: “Now she knows how it feels!”) 

  11. Ignore time limits that reporters may impose on their interviews with you. (Excuse: “I have a lot to say!”)

  12. Deny you gave the reporter information that proved to be false or wrong, even though you did. (Excuse: “What difference does it make? Reporters get things wrong all the time.” 

  13. Show up or phone in late for media interviews; better yet, don’t show up or call in at all. (Excuse: “I was having a really bad day and had much more important things to do.”)

  14. Forget to send information to a journalist that was important for their story. (Excuse: “What’s the big deal? If it was that important, she could have gotten it from someone else.”)
  • Why is trust more important than ever?

  • Find out by reading Path of Persuasion.
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