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How the Public’s Lack of Trust in the Media Affects Your Company

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It’s tough out there in the media world right now. Today’s media faces scrutiny like never before as cries of “fake news,” scandals and media bias have deteriorated the public’s trust. People are more likely to question what they see and are constantly trying to determine reliable sources for information. In fact, in a recent Gallup and Knight Foundation poll, 69 percent of U.S. adults said that their trust in the media has declined over the past 10 years. When pressed for reasons why their trust declined, most respondents said that bias and inaccuracy were the leading causes.

We’ve got an overload of information and messaging, with an abundance of sources including our social media accounts. Unfortunately, this media mess also affects your company. Whether it’s what you’re putting out as a company or what others are saying about you, mistrust and skepticism are at an all-time high. In order to overcome the current media climate, companies need to focus on owned media, transparency, and hiring a PR agency to help gain back trust from current and potential customers.

Owned media are those channels that are controlled by the company. For example, websites, blogs, social channels and email blasts are all communications avenues that the company controls. Making sure these are dialed in and present the company in the way it wants to be presented is the first step. Make sure that any information available in these locations is accurate and truthful. Additionally, the type of content shared matters. Followers of your social media accounts don’t want to just see ads. Stop selling and start connecting! Give them content that they want, that is helpful and makes their lives better. Build trust in your brand from within.

Transparency is another important factor in gaining the public’s trust. Be honest in your communication, especially if you’re faced with a crisis situation. Ideally all media coverage of your company will be positive. However, some things are out of your control and crisis communications may be needed. As a company, you need to own up to the issue, acknowledge wrong-doing and present a plan for fixing the situation and forward movement. Lack of transparency and trying to cover up negative information will only dig the hole deeper in the public’s eye. Perhaps tarnishing the brand name for years to come.

Finally, hiring a PR agency is a great way to help combat the negativity in the media and lack of public trust. A skilled PR agency will carefully craft messaging and stories to manage your company reputation. They’ll also be selective about which outlets they pitch ensuring that your company is only covered on the most respected media channels for your industry. Finally, if there is a crisis situation, you have a capable team at the ready to help you address the issues and manage public opinion.