Media Training 101: What It Is and Why You Need It

By Nikki Bracy
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Media relations should be a key component of every company’s overall marketing and communications strategy. Why? Because earning positive and compelling coverage in your targeted, top tier media outlets keeps your company top-of-mind, allows you to share brand messaging and positions your business as a valuable resource.

One of the key components to successful media relations is having an expert who can successfully give interviews and speak on behalf of your company — and that’s where media training comes in.

What is media training?

Media training is a session in which a potential spokesperson is given the download on everything he or she needs to know in order to shine in an interview. The training typically covers everything from key message points to deliver, to how to dress for different interview formats. Proper media training will also include an actual run-through of a sample interview so that the expert can practice providing clear and succinct answers, get acquainted with how to stay on message and receive comprehensive performance feedback.

Why do you need media training?

You may be thinking, “I’m a leader at my company and speak in public often. Is this really necessary?” The truth is, even the best public speakers can benefit from media training. Being interviewed by a reporter (especially if the interview topic is sensitive, controversial or timely) can be a nerve-wracking experience. Many experts have tanked in interviews because they get unexpectedly nervous, are not prepared for curveball questions or haven’t been armed with the right messaging points. Media trainings are critical because everything said to a reporter is considered on the record, and can therefore be printed or aired. One small slip-up can negatively affect the interview and destroy your credibility.

What do you do after the media training?

The most important thing you can do is to take what you have learned and put it into practice. The training is only valuable if you implement the advice in the actual interview — and that requires practicing on your own. Take notes during the training and make sure to review them a few times before speaking with the media so the advice is fresh in your mind.

At the end of the day, there is one key thing to remember: Not everybody is an appropriate spokesperson for your company (whether they have been media trained or not). Work with your PR agency to make sure you are putting your best speakers forward.

Are you ready to train your team for media interviews? Contact us today!

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