If someone from the media called you or showed up at your food truck and started asking you questions related to your business, would you know how to respond? Unfortunately with most food truck owners, the response to this question is usually, no. Being ill-prepared for media inquiries can have serious consequences to your food truck and its reputation.
Food truck vendors, new or old, need to hold a proactive approach in dealing with media inquiries. It is important to build strong relationships with the media because they help establish the public perception of who you are and what your food truck does.
There is no need to feel intimidated when being approached by the media. It is good to remember that members of the media do need you as a source of news and background information as much as you need them to give your food truck publicity.
10 Tips For Food Trucks Responding To Media Inquiries:
Answer your phone
Our first media inquiries tip covers phone requests. There are times when you are in the middle of a shift and you can’t answer the phone and let it go to voice mail, but when you can answer the phone, do it!
If you do not know the answer to a reporter’s question say you don’t know. Do not try to “fake it” because that will come back to haunt you. Instead, try to help the reporter reach a source who is able to answer the question.
If you don’t know the answer, say so. Tell them that you don’t know but that you will get them an answer.
Call them back with the answer
This one is simple…don’t make them call you back.
Always be honest
Never knowingly tell a lie or exaggerate. Trust is a critical ingredient in developing positive and enduring media relations and if you violate that trust it will have very negative results.
Don’t play favorites
If you tell one reporter something, tell ALL of the reporters the same thing. A very important rule to stick with. Even if you don’t like a specific reporter or if one provided not-so-favorable coverage, you still have to remain professional and work with them every time.
Reporters are doing a job and they have deadlines. When you begin a conversation that results in your having to get back to them, find out their deadline and work hard to meet it. If you can’t meet it, for whatever reason, call them BEFORE their deadline and tell them so.
Know your local media
Research and become familiar with the print and electronic broadcast media outlets and the reporters and editors that you are likely to receive media inquiries.
Never say, “No Comment”
By answering “no comment” to media inquiries immediately makes you look like you are hiding something. Instead you might say something like: “I’m sorry but I am unable to respond to that question at this time.”
Treat reporters courteously
The media’s impression of you will affect their impression of your entire food truck business, and that may possibly influence how they decide to write or broadcast stories about you and your food truck. Don’t argue, be persuasive, but never be confrontational.
Be selective in challenging the story
Our final media inquiries tip relates to challenging the facts in a story. A basic guideline to consider is that if the published story contains minor factual errors or omissions, do not make a big deal of it. If the story seriously misrepresents your position or misstates an important fact, then you can call it to the reporter’s attention in a polite communication, requesting a correction.
The Bottom Line
As a journalist, I can assure you that how you respond to media inquiries is just as important as the response itself.
I hope you find these basic tips on media inquiries helpful. If you have any to add, let me know and we’ll share them with the rest of our readers. Share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section, our food truck forum or social media. Twitter | Facebook