Is There Something I Should Know?
Empower Your PR Firm With the Inside Scoop
The other day I heard an old song from Duran Duran called, “Is There Something I Should Know?” There is a part of the chorus goes, “Please, please tell me now” that repeats a few times. I couldn’t help but think that it could be the perfect mantra for PR professionals. What do I mean? Well, there have been a number times when I have been working for a client announcing some new initiative, office or product and after the press release is distributed and pitching has started, the client nonchalantly reveals more information about what I was promoting.
Now, I am not talking about bad or negative information that someone is trying to hide. I am talking about information that the client did not deem important enough; it was an oversight or sometimes it was done because the client was telling you only the information they wanted out there. This “unrevealed” information, even if it’s not negative, could alter the way the story is told. This doesn’t necessarily mean it is done in a bad way, just different. Whatever the reason, the result is the same; I can’t get the entire story to the media. Now, the “unrevealed” information that was not a big deal in the first place can potentially be a big problem when the media finds out about it.
Here is an example of what I mean.
A few years ago, we were announcing a client’s new office opening in a new market—simple and straightforward stuff. While I was prepping the office manager for a phone interview, I found out that the client had actually bought out an already existing business. Small detail, but it does alter the story. The client really did not mean to hide this information; they thought it was not an important detail. However, media are inquisitive by nature and always looking for a way to find a new angle. By withholding this information from the press release, it can be perceived as something you want hidden when in actuality that is not the intention. Media may start to think: Was there something wrong with the buy-out transaction? Did the existing office have problems/scandals? You see where this is going.
This story has a happy ending. I told the office manager to bring up the acquisition in the interview, and it all went well.
Think of it this way, if a friend of yours was dating someone for six months and didn’t tell you about them, what would your reaction be?
It is very possible that you would think something is wrong with the person or the relationship. Whatever the reason, your mind will go to the worst case scenario as to why they are not telling you. The media can work the same way. If you do not reveal information, they will always assume it is for a bad reason.
Another aspect to think about is that the information we are not told could actually enhance the press release or story and make it more attractive for the media. Unfortunately, once something is out there, the media does not like to be pitched the same topic again.
The moral of this story—tell us everything. This empowers us to help shape your story and maintain as much control as possible over how your message is conveyed. If there is something I should know, “please, please tell me now,” and keep the surprises to a minimum.