Telling Your Story: The Importance of Media Training
You’ve carefully crafted your message and now you’re ready to spread the word. Now what?
Unfortunately, the ‘now what’ can be a purgatory for many companies, nonprofit organizations, and public figures’ messages. After identifying what you want to communicate it’s time to figure out how to do so. This is where one of the most vital services a public relations advisor offers comes into play. Media training can greatly add to the effectiveness of a PR campaign and is a must-know for any spokesperson or representative interacting with the media. So what is media training and how can it help you?
Media training often consists of a classroom training session where participants learn strategies to help them successfully communicate during on or off-camera interviews with reporters. There are few people who are completely comfortable being interviewed, which is why it’s so important to prepare yourself or your spokesperson to feel relaxed in a Q&A setting. Media training will teach you how to get your message across to your audience, will provide you with the confidence to answer unexpected questions, and can help you to keep an interview on-track so that your goals for the news segment or radio show are met.
Here are some learnings you should take away from a sucessful media training session:
- How to identify the message you’d like to communicate in the interview and make it newsworthy, impactful, and memorable
- Ways to craft the perfect soundbite and how to keep it off of the cutting room floor
- What the reporter mindset and work environment is like and how that will affect the interview and how you interact with them
- How to represent yourself and your organization, from your attire to the setting in which you choose the interview to be conducted
- Ways to answer tough questions and techniques to segue back to your message so you maintain control of the interview, not the reporter
This is just a small sample of the many insights to be derived from media training. Whether you’re just looking to learn new and more effective ways to communicate your company’s existing message, or you’re in the midst of a public relations crisis and need your spokesperson(s) to handle sensitive information, media training is an indispensable tool to PR pros and their clients.
Now for some fun! Here’s a recent example of how a lack of media training know-how can make an interview spiral out of control. A little background: During an appearance on “Piers Morgan Tonight” Christine O’Donnell, the 2010 Delaware Senatorial election Republican candidate, fails to stay on message when Morgan asks her questions she doesn’t want to answer about her book, Troublemaker: Let’s Do What It Takes to Make America Great Again.
How do you think O’Donnell should have handled Morgan’s questions?