When pitching a story idea about your food truck or handling a crisis situation that your truck is involved in, it helps to have established good working relationships with reporters and news organizations in your area. If you are the person in charge of handling the media questions, think of the one or two main points or responses that you want to get across before entering the interview. Have relevant facts at your fingertips. Resist the temptation — or pressure — to reply at once.
If you aren’t the only person that is responsible for handling the media and some of your food truck spokespeople may be old pros at dealing with reporters, others may be less experienced. Here are some basic principles of dealing with the news media.
Handling The Media: How Food Truck Vendors Can Deal With The Media
Follow these suggestions to get that ball rolling:
- Establish working relationships with relevant outlets and business and food/food truck reporters. Learn their deadlines and broadcast schedules so that you can avoid calling at those times.
- Be a good neighbor. Invite reporters for a meal at your food truck (on you, if their organization’s policies allow them to accept). Provide a copy of your press kit.
- Attitude counts. When pitching a news story, be friendly and to the point. Focus on why your story idea would be of interest to their readers/viewers/listeners.
- Quick turnaround is best. Respond to media inquiries in a timely manner; reporters are often on same-day deadlines.
- Know your facts. This is particularly important when dealing with a sensitive topic or crisis situation. Find out what happened and know the story cold. Write the facts down to memorize them more easily. Identify confidential information that can’t be released.
- Educate your team. Communicate with your employees so they know where you stand and why.
- Centralize crisis communication. Designate one person to handle crisis communication so your story doesn’t get garbled.
- Practice, practice, practice. Rehearse your story so you won’t stumble. Refer to written notes. Anticipate potential problems and questions, and have answers ready.
- Avoid saying “no comment.” Don’t become defensive or hostile, and never repeat a negative accusation made against your restaurant.
- Check for accuracy. Note any inaccuracies about your food truck business and correct them.
- Respect a journalist’s role. Don’t ask to see the story before it runs – journalists prefer to retain editorial control.
The Bottom Line
Handling the media can be an intimidating experience – or a rewarding way to tell your food truck’s story. Use the tips to deal with the press the right way.
Did we miss anything in our tips for handling the media? Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on social media. Facebook | Twitter