The issues facing the recreational boating industry are numerous and complex. And this situation will only get more complicated as media searches for something to report.
On one day, the issues might include styrene, carbon monoxide or engine dumping; tomorrow’s issues could be just about anything.
When the TV news crew is heading to your office isn’t the best time to begin studying the background and facts or figuring out how to present your position. Poor handling of an inquiry (refusing to comment, providing incorrect information or making an inflammatory statement) can have negative effects on your company and the entire boating industry.
NMMA reduces the risk of such problems by providing background information on known issues and acting as a quick-response resource for new issues that arise. It is important that we speak in a unified voice when we communicate to our key stakeholders locally and nationally.
Key stakeholders include:
- Existing boat and marine equipment owners
- Potential boat and marine equipment owners
- Other NMMA members
- Regulators (NIOSH, OSHA, CARB, EPA, SCAQMD)
- Local and national lawmakers
Whether we like it or not, the boating public receives news about our industry from the mainstream media (newspapers, TV and radio), online media, and the leisure magazines they read. We control the message when we place advertisements, but in a news story, the reporter and editor often determine whether the story is positive or negative.
We can’t tell the media what to write, but we can help manage the dissemination of information. With proper communication, accurate information can be promptly released, the effects of an issue minimized and the industry’s relationship with the public preserved. Like any industry, we are vulnerable to issues and even crises which could hamper our ability to prosper.
How to Use This Kit
Virtually all of the publicity our industry receives is overwhelmingly positive. It happens because boating and its associated leisure activities are fun and the industry has a reputation of providing excellent service to the media.
While some of the tips contained in this kit are applicable to most media situations, its primary purpose is to help you with the rare instance when the media calls about something negative.
No one knows your business better than you. You know the issues. You are the expert. The media needs someone like you to help them understand the various issues and you may need the reporter to gain access to your key audiences.
In this section, you will discover an array of tools to help manage the media and the response. There is no magic and there are no guarantees when dealing with the media. But if you are prepared and responsive, you’ll minimize the chances for negative coverage of you, your company and the industry.
The key messages in this kit are only suggestions. Rewriting them in your own language, personalizing them with your own experience, examples and anecdotes will improve them.
If the media calls your organization, it’s usually because they seek a comment on an issue or event they are covering. In some instances, they may be calling about your company or organization.
When the media calls, it is important to use this kit, but regardless of the situation, you are invited to contact NMMA Public Relations for advice, counsel and help.