Effective media relations are important to all organisations, including local authorities. Regardless of whether you are a councillor or an officer, it is important to not just understand how the media works but know the best ways to establish a good rapport with journalists. Councils may not always like how their work is reported, but that does not take away the need to have a professional working relationship with local and national media, preferably built on mutual respect.
This guide brings together and adds new briefings we have published on communications in local government. It looks at:
First, how to build good relations with the media: What is the best way of getting a message across so that it interests the media? How should councils ensure that journalists can get hold of its communications team? Who should speak on behalf of the council?
Second, how to handle bad news: Is it possible to prepare for a crisis? How should a council respond when things go wrong? What is the best way of explaining the council’s position? What about press complaints?
Third, how to use social media effectively: Who are the different audiences and what type of social media are they likely to use? What the pros and cons of Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms? How can councils make the most of chatting with residents, without getting into unnecessary rows or arguments and making the situation worse?