branding & industry perspectives

public relations

Six Signs You Might Benefit from Media Training

15 Jan , 2017 | Mason

The media is a conduit between your brand and your audience, and quality earned media coverage can help brands emerge as leaders in their fields. Sometimes information travels along that conduit smoothly, and sometimes, not so much. Before that happens, it could be time to bring in an expert in media training and brush up those media relations skills.

Signs You Might Need Media Training

  1. You approach all interviews the same way.
  2. You have a new message or talking points to deliver.
  3. You don’t practice enough, or at all.
  4. The press isn’t doing much with your quotes.
  5. You find media interviews intimidating.
  6. You trip over, evade, or drift away from the questions.

Let’s look at these one by one.

Not all media is created equal. Print, radio, and television each have their own conventions and require a different approach. What’s more, today’s media landscape is no longer fenced in by those three traditional pillars. You might be asked to do an interview for a blog, a podcast, a Twitter chat, or an “Ask Me Anything” feature on Reddit. Approaching each medium with the same strategy is not the most effective way to get your message across.

New campaigns require new training. You may have your standard brand messaging committed to memory or be an expert on the topic at hand. However, when there are new talking points to introduce, that calls for an update to your media strategy to ensure that you are talking to your key stakeholders with jargon-free language that cuts through the clutter.

Even the professionals practice. That’s how they get to be professionals in the first place – very few people have a natural flair for public speaking. Practice is especially important for those whose contact with the media is limited to sporadic appearances, or who are being called upon because of their expertise on a particular topic, but otherwise rarely come out of the wings to be the public face of the organization.

Make the press’s time worthwhile. Perhaps the only thing worse than being misquoted is not being quoted at all, because what you had to say simply wasn’t useful to the reporter. Maybe it lacked enthusiasm, or memorability, or eye-catching information, or personality. If you find the resulting coverage from an interview to be lackluster, it might be time for some refreshers on providing a worthy soundbite.

Even an introvert can do an interview. The thought of getting on camera, behind the microphone, or otherwise front-and-center before an audience is enough to make most people sweat, and that discomfort often transmits through the interview. Trust us: you are not alone. And also trust us when we say that impeccable interview skills can be learned. We wouldn’t be in the business of offering media training if it couldn’t.

Questions are opportunities. Some interviewees have complicated relationships with questions. They get caught off guard. They look like a deer in the headlights or  start answering the question, and dig themselves into a hole. They bridge back to their talking points even when those points aren’t relevant to the question. These potential tripping points in an encounter with the press can undermine not only your credibility, but the credibility of your organization.

Media training can make the difference between a so-so interview and a stellar one. Interview gaffes quickly go viral – you can probably think of a few cringe-worthy examples off the top of your head – but so do expertly handled answers and quote-worthy responses.

If it sounds like media training is in order for your brand representatives, Mason has you covered. Tell us about your pain points and let’s see what we can do for you. Contact us.

Got any stories of interviews gone horribly wrong, or epically right?

Share them in the comments, or Tweet them to @mason_inc.

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