Interaction with media: 5 tips on how to make it more effective

Nov 18, 2020 | Judiciary, Justice

The rules of effective communication are changing with the development of technology and information overload. Thus, Svitlana Chernetska, national expert of EU Project Pravo-Justice advised that usual arrangement of interaction with the media should be reviewed in order to get the best communication result during webinar "Interaction with media: Practical Recommendations" of training course "Model Communication Solutions for Ukrainian Courts".

  • Act strategically

When writing a post on Facebook, sending a press release or publishing a news item on your website, ask yourself, “What is its value for my target audience? For what purpose am I doing this? Will this information be important, useful or interesting?” All your public information must somehow reflect the communication strategy and achieve communication goals.

And even if you do not have a strategy, your communication with the media can be aimed at 4 goals: awareness ("the court is in place, it functions"), attitude (preferably approving or at least neutral), action (send a comment, cooperate, get information, as this institution is open to cooperation) or a recommendation (dissemination of information among fellow media outlets, NGOs, during sociological research that it is possible to have mutually beneficial information cooperation with this institution).

Therefore, each of your information pieces must achieve at least one of these goals and carry general strategic messages.

  • Press map

A press map is a "living document" that needs constant updating. The press map should be made by you, ideally, as a result of personal calls, correspondence from you which will be both acquaintance and consolidation of contact with the journalist or editor. In this case, you can expect that when the journalist is fired or changes jobs, he/she will inform you about it and, as a rule, introduce you to a colleague who will continue to work on the topic. In fact, this means that the press map will be updated promptly.

There can be different formats of press maps. The main thing is that it contains up-to-date data and is easy to use. This can be a document or Excel spreadsheet with data, a saved letter template with e-mail addresses, a closed FB group or Telegram channel, or a list generated in FB.

The only thing is that if you formed direct personal contact with specific media in the social network, it will be difficult to pass the "press map" to colleagues in case of force majeure, illness or dismissal. Therefore, you should take care of the format that will allow access to media pool data with one click.

  • Press release

Mass distribution of press releases as a means to ensure media presence is becoming less effective. At the same time, press announcement does not lose its relevance. However, press release as a similar-looking text on competing media platforms is forcing the media to increasingly refuse to publish it.

When a journalist is working on a topic, he/she would rather ask for a personal comment or join an event or live broadcast to describe it himself. If the topic is of no interest to media, the fact that there is a press release will not solve the problem.

Possible solution: work with releases if there are high-profile topics or with specific media that publish them regularly, as they are constantly updating the content or working on this case or have a thematic column.

  • Quantity or quality?

If there are high-profile cases, the media themselves will come for comment. But will there be such a massive media interest in operational activities of the court if there are no scandals and high-profile cases?

Given enormous amounts of information and that the media want to produce unique content, it will be reasonable to establish individual cooperation with journalists and the media. This means introducing thematic special projects, proposing topics for joint radio programs, agreeing on judge-speaker's blogs or running a column, proposing topics for specific articles or news, and so on. High-quality individual cooperation with journalists will give more loyalty to the audience and a more positive effect than publication of standard messages in several media.

  • Tone of voice

It doesn't have to sound very formal and in bureaucratic legal language.

If you are understood, you are better perceived. From time to time allow yourself a humorous, debatable, or benevolently explanatory tone of message. If you can't do it on the official website - do it in special projects with journalists (for example, analysis of funny court cases), or in social networks (legal-court memes) or in video format, where you can mask the change of "tone" and make it soft.