In just five weeks, members of the Royal family have taken the highly unusual action of issuing statements to the media aimed at stopping untrue stories from being published.
In early November, Prince Harry said in a statement that his girlfriend had been 'subject to a wave of abuse and harassment' following a series of news items about her. In sending the statement, he was simultaneously confirming that his girlfriend was indeed the Hollywood actress Meghan Markle, but that was not the point of his statement. The media furore calmed down.
Just last week, Prince Andrew issued a statement to 'terminate further speculation and innuendo', based on a number of stories that ran in various newspapers, which he said had 'no basis of fact' and one relating to his daughters, which required 'correction'. The action has also had the desired effect of stopping further stories from being published.
So what, I hear you ask, does this have to do with law firms?
Some firms are too quick to press release news, and may well be viewed by journalists as creating too much 'noise'. This can dilute a firm's message and have the effect of important developments being 'buried' as journalists 'switch off' at the sight of yet another call or email from 'that firm'.
In contrast, some firms only send out communications when there is 'real' news to tell. Often, these firms are more likely to stand a chance of being listened to by busy journalists.
By sending fewer but stronger news stories, your firm is much more likely to see positive coverage of new developments, and more so if you have taken time to find out what that journalist is interested in and is interested in hearing about.
As I started to work with a new client some years' back, I rang key journalists for their perspective on the organisation. What one journalist said has stayed with me as being very telling about any organisation: 'We don't often hear from them, but when we do, we listen.'
Wise words indeed. We listen. The old adage less is more certainly rings true when it comes to media relations. Less noise, more real news means the media and, in turn, stakeholders are more likely to listen.
Prince Andrew has denied claims of a rift between him and his brother, Prince Charles, over his daughters’ roles in the royal family. In a rare public statement, he moved to end speculation that he wanted princesses Beatrice and Eugenie to become more central figures, and bear greater responsibilities at public engagements. He also insisted he has not asked that his daughters’ future husbands be given titles. “As a father, my wish for my daughters is for them is to be modern working young women, who happen to be members of the royal family, and I am delighted to see them building their careers,” Prince Andrew said, in a statement released on Friday.