If your organization is trying to gain media coverage, then media training offers you some real benefits. Here are four:
- Tell a better story: Put yourself in the reporter’s shoes for a moment. Who gives a better interview? A fact dispenser who answers questions along the lines of true or false, confirm or deny? An expert witness being subjected to a cross-examination? Or someone who can tell a story from your organization’s perspective, providing context and understanding? Your story-teller will tell a better story if she or he understands how reporters work, what motivates their questions, and what they’re trying to accomplish.
- Get more media coverage: An interview isn’t just an opportunity to answer a reporter’s questions. Rather, it’s a chance to help a reporter to make news. If you understand the reporter’s perspective, you can concentrate your remarks on what the reporter wants. Or you can suggest story ideas, and refer reporters to other resources. A reporter needs a trustworthy source for ideas and connections. In becoming that source, you raise your value as a media ally. You’ll find yourself quoted more often, too.
- Get better media coverage: The only reason to accept a media interview is to gain an opportunity to communicate your organization’s point of view. It’s a chance to reach your audience with your key messages – the main points that you want viewers and readers to take away from the media coverage. Through training, your spokespeople can master these key messages and work them into their answers to reporters’ questions.
- Find your key messages: Media training is a silo-buster. It brings executives, managers, policy analysts and program people into the communicator’s world – often a place they haven’t been before. They begin to understand the role of key messages. Then they realize that the messages—oftentimes the very messages that they have approved—don’t really communicate anything relevant to their audiences. That’s when they help to develop key messages that hold real communications value. By equipping your spokespeople with useful key messages, you help the media to report about you more accurately.
Training helps prepare your spokespeople for interviews and helps to equip them with the right key messages. Perhaps more importantly, it enables executives and managers to include media considerations in their decision-making, as they navigate your organization through a world of fast-expanding media.
Did you know? The average Canadian adult consumes 65+ hours of media per week, including television, radio, newspapers, magazines and Internet. That’s a large, attentive audience. Why not make the most of it?