Businesses and organizations continually go through changes, sometimes minor and other times major. Some business leaders believe the minor changes are not noteworthy, and as a result, keep such details to themselves. Changes like a business’s facility renovations, personnel updates or budget cuts are often kept quiet if management doesn’t want or feel the need to spread the word. Communication teams are too often left in the dark in these situations, which is potentially harmful to the organization. Even if a business leader thinks some changes are subtle in nature, the communications and PR teams need to be kept in the loop. Here’s why.
- The media will come with questions.
No matter how much you try to keep something under wraps, word will eventually get out. Rumors can spread. Public records are released. Internal info gets leaked. It happens all the time, whether you prepare for it or not. PR professionals prefer preparation. Once word gets out, it’s only a matter of time until the media will come to the organization with questions. By keeping your PR team apprised, you will be armored with thoughtful responses as the questions roll in, rather than scrambling against a reporter’s deadline to determine a cohesive message and thoughtful response.
- No response can harm your relationship with a reporter.
When they’re breaking news, reporters often have tight deadlines. If an organization does not make itself available to offer a comment or answer their questions, it risks damaging the relationship with the reporter. Your organization will be seen as an unreliable source, and moving forward, the reporter will choose to exclude you from future stories and conversation. Even worse, other reporters may learn of your organization’s lack of access and choose to do the same. If you inform your PR rep of a situation, they can prepare to offer a response within the reporter’s deadline and maintain a healthy rapport between your organization and the news outlet.
- You can miss a great opportunity for a positive story.
Or even worse, a negative story can come out if you weren’t there to tell your side. Several news organizations might rush to be the first to break a story, even if that means not gathering all the facts they need to tell a developing story. Breaking news will run, whether or not you choose to respond to a reporter. Keeping your PR team in the loop allows the organization to take better control of the narrative when a story breaks. It gives your team a chance to respond and share its perspective, and it also eliminates any room for speculation.
PR teams are essential to maintaining the success of any organization. Serving as your advocate, they need to be well-versed in all moving parts of your business, including the most confidential items. PR teams shouldn’t be seen as a last-minute channel to deliver a message to the public. They also serve as a confidant who is by your side for news you want to share publicly and for news you want to keep under wraps. Open a seat to the C-suite table and invite your PR team to work by your side.