Media training is essential for businesses that want to communicate effectively with the press – and, more importantly, the public.
Making the most out of interview opportunities is a valuable skill, helping you build authority as a knowledgeable and trustworthy business. On the flip side, poor preparation can lead to poor media performance. The potential reputational damage (and embarrassment) is never worth the risk!
Your chosen spokespeople should therefore be well-versed in public relations and understand how the media works so that they can deliver informative and persuasive messages without getting into any difficulties. This article discusses the importance of PR media training, explaining what it is and how it can benefit your business.
What is PR media training?
PR media training is used by public relations and communication teams to sharpen a person’s skills for when speaking to the press, whether broadcast (live and/or recorded) or written interviews.
Simply put, media training ensures that you’re prepared for interviews. It will help you to develop clear messages, learn how to be responsive to potentially tough questions, build your confidence as a spokesperson, and (if it’s a TV piece) improve your on-camera presence. No one wants to watch an interviewee biting their nails on camera, do they?
A good training session will fill you with confidence and equip you with the necessary skills needed to come across as informed and engaging while portraying your business in the best possible light.
What are the benefits of media coverage?
Media coverage is an important tool for businesses to increase their visibility and credibility. It’s one of the best ways to raise brand awareness, build trust in your brand and its people, and drive traffic to your website, often helping you rapidly grow customers. Also, good coverage can create an emotional connection with your target audience, helping you stand out from the competition.
And the evidence is clear; research by Thinkbox found a direct link between TV activity and web traffic. Recently, Entrepreneur went as far to say that “media coverage is your most powerful sales tool.” Cision agreed, with their State of the Media Report revealing that while only half of people trusted paid ads, 92% trusted media coverage.
If your business is considering using PR for the first time, you might benefit from reading our blog on What is a PR campaign?
Why is PR media training important for my team?
Media appearances can be intimidating, especially if your team has never had to face the press. With the support and guidance that comes from PR media training, press interviews will become much less daunting, and you’ll be able to reap the rewards that successful media coverage can bring.
People who have undergone media training are better placed to deliver quality messaging. More often than not, they can come out of tricky situations in a much more favourable light when negative media stories emerge than those without media training.
A classic example of a PR interview gone wrong is BP chief executive Tony Hayward’s response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Instead of appearing contrite and explaining how BP was responding to the crisis, he infamously said, “I’d like my life back.” His comments came off as staggeringly insensitive (11 people died, and there was a significant loss of marine life). It caused BP incalculable repetitional damage and contributed to Hayward losing his job.
A great example of a successful PR interview is when Andrew Neil interviewed Daisy Sands from the Fawcett Society on the Daily Politics. Neil challenged Sands by suggesting that the Fawcett Society’s latest initiative, promoting gender equality by having famous politicians wearing t-shirts, was trivial and counterproductive. Instead of dodging the question, Sands tackled it head-on. She agreed with Neil, disarming the difficult question, which allowed her to raise the key issue of a recent regression in gender equality. She then adeptly points out that while wearing t-shirts may not be a substantive way of tackling gender inequality, discussing and scrutinising the issues was certainly beneficial (as they were doing in the interview). Therefore, the t-shirt stunt was successful in achieving its goals. Neil, famous for skewering experienced politicians, was visibly impressed with how Sands handled what might have potentially been a difficult interview for the Fawcett Society.
Who should receive PR media training?
Comprehensive PR media training will help anyone who may need to talk with the press or face public speaking. This can include business owners, C-suite, leadership, marketing teams, communications professionals and other key members of your company (such as experts in their field). It will also benefit anyone who works in highly visible roles or those who might find themselves in situations where they need to communicate effectively with the press or in public forums.
It’s also worth saying that all team members can benefit from learning how to correctly handle sensitive press inquiries (as well as knowing when it’s best to avoid certain topics). PR media training can easily be incorporated into an individual’s professional development program, helping them build confidence and learn new skills such as presenting themselves positively, developing their messages, and practising for interviews.
What does PR media training involve?
Typically, a media training session will work on talking points, message delivery, body language, responses to questions and challenges, maintaining control over conversations and crisis management. However, media training can also be tailored more broadly to focus on the many different aspects of building your media presence, from preparing for broadcast interviews and public speaking engagements to learning about media platforms such as digital media and printed press.
At Luminous, we have an in-house team of communications experts and ex-journalists who can teach you how to engage and leverage the various forms of media effectively. We’ll help you gauge how well your team currently responds to interviews, press conferences, and other public speaking events to tailor PR media training to your team’s individual needs.
How can my business get started with PR media training?
By investing in media training for your team, you’ll build authority for your business, equipping your team of experts with the skills needed to be effective communicators and brand ambassadors.
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