BCIA members are active in their industry and communities, and are therefore recognized as subject matter experts. When information about the carrier industry, such as the recent AAP news release, reaches any form of media, you are often the go-to to provide a response. While larger companies may have communications teams on staff, smaller companies can sometimes be caught by surprise by media requests.
The risk with any story involving a perceived special interest such as babywearing is that it is often portrayed poorly. More often than not, this is through the interviewer’s ignorance or bias, rather than malicious intent. This can actually be a plus, because it allows you to positively influence a more accurate portrayal.
Some examples of typical negative portrayals of babywearing are:
-Interviewing a “counterpoint expert” as well as a babywearing expert.
-Including the negative statements from a press release, while leaving out modifying or contextualising details.
-Using more negative images, headlines, or quotes than what is included in the main piece.
-Presenting babywearing as a trend, fad, or unnecessary.
-Using images of outdated or improperly used carriers (sometimes both!).
-Using counterpoint from medical professionals with no experience with carriers.
Managing Media Tips:
Asking good questions before you agree to be interviewed, appear in a guest livestream, etc can help avoid negative portrayals. You can:
-Get them to guarantee you editorial right of refusal/correction, in writing. This means that they show you the piece (including any photo or video) before it goes live so that you can make corrections.
-Use the messaging from BCIA’s Statement (News Release Response: AAP and Baby Carrier Safety – Baby Carrier Industry Alliance) in response to the October 2021 AAP Abstract to formulate your talking points.
-Ask specifically if they plan it to be a point/counterpoint piece & suggest a referral to a friendly resource in your community. If they’re including counterpoint information from sources that are going to be negative, consider not participating at all.
-Don’t let them into a public location or group to get quotes, video, or photos. Make sure you are only providing them with access to people who have been coached on talking points, and who will model best practice babywearing. This might look like curating a caregiver’s group for them to meet with, or as background while you’re speaking
-Agree with what you can- even if this means spinning it a little!
“Yes, absolutely, I am so glad this highlights how great it is for caregivers to learn more about babywearing!”
Social Media Specific Suggestions:
Deciding if, & how, you should respond to viral events like the AAP press release with your followers, group members, or clients can be anxiety causing. The instinct is often to ignore it, so as to not give it more attention, or to provide quick replies before it gets ahead of your circle of influence. Your approach can be much the same as above, with some modifications.
-If you don’t want to promote or drive traffic to a story, avoid sharing a link.
-You can also use indirect language to avoid triggering search terms: “Hey, customers/clients/followers/friends! You might have seen posts about XYZ recently,” and then share an appropriate statement or further information as outlined above.
-Be mindful that while the internet lives on forever, people also have a short memory and news changes over quickly. Dragging out a topic once you’ve addressed it can often prolong negative attention. Redirect the conversation in a more educational or positive vein.