Arranging for our clients to speak with a journalist for a radio, TV or print interview is an exciting part of the job. Interviews with the media are a great way to actively build journalist relationships, build brand awareness and get key messages across to a target audience. However, being thrust into a live interview situation, or even speaking to a journalist over the phone can be a daunting prospect. That’s why spokespeople should never underestimate the importance of media training.
A live media interview can take many different forms – you could find yourself on the BBC Breakfast sofa; live at the side of a busy motorway; or even in a radio studio. Or if you’re lucky it could be over the phone with a journalist from your leading trade title or a pre-recorded interview for television or radio. Whatever the scenario, there are lots of ways you can prepare yourself to help ensure you get across what you want to say and handle even the trickiest line of questioning.
Media training workshops demystify the media and teach key business spokespeople how to stay on message while making a positive impact. Businesses put in a lot of hard work to create a communications strategy that reflects its key messages so ensuring its spokespeople communicate these messages effectively is essential.
If you’ve ever seen Jeremy Paxman in action, you’ll know just how tough some journalists can be. But media training will equip you with the tricks and techniques to hold your own against any journalist and get across the key points you want to make.
Just as a taster, here are a few top tips we give our clients on what NOT to do during a media interview:
- Don’t be distracted. If it’s not a live interview, ensure all distractions are out of sight – barking dogs, small children etc.
- Don’t say off the record! It’s never off the record when speaking with a journalist.
- Don’t be a jargon dictionary! It’s important to know your audience, they may not understand what you’re talking about.
- Don’t say no comment! If you’re struggling for an answer simply say you’ll get back to them about it.
- Don’t lie! You will be found out.
As a B2B PR agency who delivers media training, we understand the benefits of ensuring your key spokespeople are on message and what to do if when things don’t go to plan. It’s always a good idea to make sure media first timers understand the media landscape and who they’re talking to and why. We can’t predict how your interview will go but we can make sure you’re prepared for all eventualities.
Kat Wilding is a regular contributor to the Skout blog