Cultivating good relationships with the media is important for small businesses. But bad press can sting, if you don't know when to say "no comment."
CASE IN POINT
Alan Robbins, president of Plastic Lumber Co., a 50-person recycled-plastics maker in Akron loves to see his company's name in print. So last year, when a national newspaper asked to interview one of his managers, Robbins said O.K. Unfortunately, the employee revealed his salary, which is supposed to be confidential. "There were a lot of hard feelings among other workers," Robbins says. Now, Robbins handles all press inquiries. "You never know what's going to come back and bite you."
About.com has a section (www.publicrelations.about.com) featuring free articles and links to online resources. Publicity Hound (www.publicityhound.com) offers guides on subjects like damage control and interviewing for $7 each. For a look inside a journalist's head, check out Mediasmart: How to Handle a Reporter by a Reporter, by Dennis Stauffer (MinneApple Press, 1994, $19.95) or Bulletproof News Releases: Help at Last for the Publicity Deficient, by Kay Borden (Franklin-Sarrett Publishers, 1995, $18.95).
By Joan Raymond