Every company fears open criticism. After all, brands live and die by public perception.
It’s commonplace for organizations to avoid the media out of fear of being misquoted or having what they say quoted out of context. However, organizations shouldn’t view the media as a threat. Relationships with reporters are invaluable for business.
With proper media training, brands can leverage the press to convey messages critical to brand success. Reporters have the power to reach audiences important to you. Interviews provide inexpensive exposure and the opportunity for conveying key messages that are important to your company’s strategic and communication objectives.
Here are the top five reasons all brands need to engage in media training:
COMMAND ATTENTION, WIN YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
As a spokesperson, you are the voice of your brand. It’s the responsibility of a spokesperson to leave the audience with a favorable impression. Your company’s perceived credibility is influenced by your authority and competence as a speaker. Media coaching can teach you the right words, tone of voice and appropriate body language that reflects positively on the organization you represent.
Media training helps you understand the different mediums available in order to effectively tailor your approach. Working in close harmony with your organization, an expert training consultant will coach you on the distinct ways information is gathered and conveyed by each medium.
Training also provides an accurate understanding of your target audience to smartly scale your social presence. Strategic counsel will help you uncover an on-camera/on-stage persona that best resonates with your target audience. The more you know and understand about your target audience, the easier it is to connect and establish a rapport with them.
Media relations is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. When you perfect how you interact with the media and indirectly with an audience, you can be a catalyst for defining opinions.
IF YOU DON’T DEFINE YOUR COMPANY BRAND, THE MEDIA WILL
Although you have no control of the worldview of the reporter, you do have control over what you say. Using clear, succinct and focused answers, you can get your message across with impact.
If you don’t answer the media, reporters will seek their answers elsewhere. Use the opportunity to influence opinion and further your organization’s communication goals.
To do this, you must meet the needs of reporters. Your job is to provide reporters with the information in question and correct any factual errors, while – at the same time – weaving in your perspective in a way that supports your company goals, objectives and target audience.
With proper media training, you will understand how the media operates, how to answer questions without incriminating your brand and most importantly, spot opportunities to weave in – not drive home – your messages.
The paradox of this process is that if you answer their questions and stop, you will be in greater control than ever.
SITUATIONAL SIMULATION FOR POLISHED COMMUNICATIONS
It’s natural for companies to want to avoid facing hard questions they don’t know how to discuss. However, media training can help prime the right representatives for these questions.
Working with reporters is a challenge, however practicing for your next interview will help you develop your thinking. Media classes and coaching sessions help you prepare for challenging questions by teaching you how to take total control over your basic message, keeping answers short and concise. When you are prompt and prepared in your responses, you will emerge polished, well-spoken and credible.
Remember, you must communicate effectively to reporters before you can effectively communicate through them.
TAKE CONTROL, STEER THE CONVERSATION
A well-trained spokesperson knows when and how to politely disengage from an interview when it takes an alternative turn. A trained media pro knows how to bridge back to his/her key message and keep interviews in neutral favorable territory.
One of the best practices taught during media training is how to prepare take-away facts for your audience. Learn how to plan the key points you want the audience to walk away thinking about. The reporter asks the questions, but you can set the agenda.
SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT
Avoid being misquoted by learning how to be clear, concise and focused in your answers. To be successful at this you must achieve mental clarity. Mental clarity leads to firm statements.
The principle “less is more” will help you avoid putting yourself and your company in danger by saying too much. Maintaining focused answers to your reporter’s questions will help you avoid having your message muddled or lost in the process. When you are clear about your responses and know how to properly contain your emotions, you are in control of the interview.
Don’t let fear of public spotlight and criticism stop you from engaging with the media. Cultivating relationships with journalists is a powerful form of marketing. With the right training and support, you can leverage the media to further your brand success.
Check out the below case study and read how Elevation Marketing helped agricultural crop protection product manufacturer Gowan leverage the media to further its company’s thought leadership goals.