Sunday, June 8, 2008

Take the Long View in Media Relations

A few years back Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) was selected by not-for-profit research and engineering firm Noblis (formerly Mitretek Systems) for a project to provide messaging and public relations services for the Process Control Systems Forum. This is an organization managed by Noblis (and supported by the Department of Homeland Security) to facilitate the sharing of best practices between industry and government for the protection of SCADA systems used to manage critical infrastructure (i.e. nuclear plants, water treatment facilities, etc.).

We generated a fair amount of industry and vertical market press coverage, yet interest among business journalists was tepid. Without a specific incident to demonstrate the ramifications of a poorly protected computer infrastructure, we came off as merely alarmists.

I bet that would be quite different today. As reported by Brian Krebs of the Washington Post, a nuclear power plant in Georgia was recently forced into an emergency shutdown for 48 hours after a software update snafu. Here is a link to Brian's article:

Much of effective media relations is establishing ongoing relationships with influential journalists. Even if there is no immediate story opportunity, we counsel our clients to take the long-view. Be proactive in ongoing dialogue with the a resource...identify ways to provide value.

When a story breaks, you'll be top of mind and all of the time invested in relationship building will pay-off with an exceptional PR result.

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