This week, Jami-Lee Ross took an hour-long press conference to let the political cat out of the bag over accusations he has made against the party leader Simon Bridges.
Here are some lessons we can learn about media campaigns from the whole saga.

1: Get your facts straight
Write them down, double check them and sound them off of a trusted colleague or member of staff.
Never jump into a media interview, or write a press release, with half-baked facts.

2: Know when to shut up
That said, know when to zip it! Too many facts are a bad thing. Keep it short and sweet.
The best way to save face is to keep the lower half shut.

3: Choose your battles
Many campaigners and business people use the media to stage a battle or apply political pressure on an issue to get a resolution. Often, it’s a powerful way to get what you want. Sometimes, it’s a terrible course of action!
If standing on a message of opposition – against industry regulators or government or whoever – make sure it’s a battle worth fighting and one that you can win!
Don’t use your media space or opportunity pick on your competition, though, with the goal of dragging them down to boost yourself. Readers won’t think much of you and you’ll isolate yourself in your industry. Nobody likes a meanie!
Stay positive and use the opportunity to send a positive message about yourself, company or staff, or even your clients, to readers.

4: Process, process, process
Follow the rules, always. Sure, being a renegade will get you some media stardust for a little while, but the experience will bite you in the ass and media coverage won’t save you if you’ve stuffed up. Life goes on, post media.
Always think big picture. And don’t be rushed into an interview. If a journalist calls you to discuss a controversial topic, find out what they want to talk about and take some notes, as well as their name and publication and deadline time, and tell them you’ll phone them back in 30 minutes. Then when you phone them back, you’ll be responding and not reacting.

5: Revise your controversial messages from all perspectives
How will your customers, competition, the media and your industry regulators view your message? Be mindful about your messages  – what you say – as you may not want to insult or offend anyone.

6: Never say “No comment”
In his following media conference, Simon Bridges would not be drawn on accusations made against him. Some say “Why should he?”, many say “That looks dodgy!”
If a media outlet has given you the chance, as they should, to respond to a comment or accusation, and you’re in a position to comment – be sure you avail of the media space to reinforce your positive key messages and handle the incident with professionalism.

7: Don’t overcook your messages
Again, Bridges trotted out the same messages over and over, in the same order, even when the answer was miles away from the topic.
“…a leaker…pattern of conduct..”
An overtly-scripted message does not sound sincere. Be a real human and sure, bring out the planned messages but don’t overdo it. And for goodness sake, at least try to answer the questions.

8: Avoid late-night social media statements
Social media statements, especially those made after 7pm, as perceived to be from those who are a little on the edge of reason. How much respect does Trump get for his? In fact, late-night Tweets will often see you accused of drunk tweeting. Leave late-night social media alone and make your media statements during the day and through reputable media outlets.

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