When Silence isn’t Golden

Peace and quiet? The two do not always go hand-in-hand. Not in my world anyway. In my world, there are several scenarios where silence can actually be a pretty legitimate cause for concern.

The sound of silence is not always peaceful.

Parents know this. It’s that eerie quiet that settles over the house and kicks your parent “spidey-senses” into overdrive. Somewhere in the house those little loves-of-your-life are creating chaos. They have slipped from your sight and are surely ripping something, spilling something or eating something that they absolutely should not be ripping, spilling or eating. (For those non parents out there who cannot relate, Google “when the kids are being quiet.” Enjoy the hilarity from your safe, childless space.)

Silence isn’t always golden… sometimes it’s just awkward.

I know. I can spot an awkward moment coming from a mile away. Elevators. Being left alone with someone you just met. Saying goodbye to an acquaintance before realizing you are both awkwardly walking in the same direction, still together. (Do you say goodbye again? Pretend it’s not happening? Seriously, I want to know.) Studies have shown that it takes as little as JUST FOUR SECONDS for a lull in conversation to become awkward, causing most of us to feel anxious and inadequate. (Anyone who ever suffered through an awkward first date can attest to that, am I right?)

No news is good news – but not if your PR game is in trouble.

Another time when silence isn’t always golden? When your PR game is in trouble. Unfortunately, most business owners don’t have spidey-senses sending up warning flares when things are silent on the public relations front. In fact, most of the time we comfort ourselves with the old line, “no news is good news.”

But that isn’t always the case – sometimes it just means the media is ignoring you (because they don’t know why your story is relevant), or doesn’t yet know you exist. That might be a hard hit to the company ego, but without an established relationship with your local media outlets, more often than not your story won’t be the one being told on the front page of the paper or during the evening news.

Here are some very real scenarios that mean you should be developing a public relations plan for your company, now:

  1. You see a news article highlighting a bright new business in the area – offering the same service as you.
    More than likely what this means is that this new company pursued the coverage, and told their story in such a way that the media wanted to share it with the public. YOUR story is just as good, if not better – you just aren’t capitalizing on it yet. Remember, you believed in your company and its product enough to get it off the ground. You need to believe in it enough to share it, especially with those who can help share your story with others.
  2. You want to be known as the local/regional/national expert in your field.
    You won’t be seen as an expert if no one knows how much you know. If you are speaking at a forum, invite the media. If there is a national story with local relevance to your company, offer yourself up as an expert to reporters. Position yourself and your company as the experts in your field, and make yourself available to the media.
  3. Your competition continues to pop up in the headlines.
    Reporters develop trusted contacts for stories – companies and individuals who they know they can rely on – and your competitors have realized this. They make themselves available for interviews and have made it known that they are interested in being part of the story. It’s time for you to do the same. Building relationships with the reporters and editors at media outlets in your area is a necessary part of earning the type of media coverage you want for your company.

Managing communications between your company and the public takes a lot of work, and planned PR is the best PR. A public relations plan that works with traditional media, social media and is fully integrated with your company’s marketing plan can help ensure you never again miss opportunities like the ones described above.

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