How to prepare your spokespeople for the media

There is an art to speaking to the media and, believe it or not, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone.   

Today’s media landscape continues to change and expand. From citizen journalism to social media platforms, combined with a 24-hour news cycle, it seems the opportunities to promote your business are endless.  

Engaging with the media, however, is not as straightforward. In fact, even the most learned experts in their fields need time to prepare.  

You may even find that even when you have a great opportunity, your talent may not be ready or have enough experience.  

So, the question is, how prepared is your business should the media come knocking?  

Identifying your media training needs 

The first thing to consider is your business’s experience with the media and determining whether there are any media training gaps.  

Do you get calls from the media often? Would you know what to do if a journalist called out of the blue? Do you know what to say if you’re in a crisis (hint: the answer is never “no comment”)? 

Do you have people within your business that are Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), but have never been media trained before? Maybe you’re preparing for the launch of an event, product or new research or perhaps it’s just been a while in between speaking opportunities. 

It could be that you require an on-demand media training solution for a key partner, stakeholder or case study who will support your initiative as a third-party advocate.  

Did you know that at IMPACT we can build a bespoke media training package to suit your specific needs? Ask us how here. 

Understanding the media’s needs 

If you listen to the news on the radio, most bulletins will take about three minutes, covering between six to eight news stories, depending on the number of news grabs used.    

The leading stories on the evening news can vary in length from thirty seconds to three minutes long, depending on the number of sources used.  

Typically, there will be two spokespeople to provide balancing points of view. These can take the form of a politician, a business owner, an industry expert and/or a vox-pop – a local passer by – to provide the general public’s perspective.  

Some stories are simply read to camera, without a spokesperson.  

The more compelling your story, the more likely it will be considered newsworthy.  

An interview is not a guarantee that your business will be included in a story, but the strongest chance of being quoted or prominently featured is in the quality and preparedness of your key spokespeople. That’s where we come in! 

Media 101 

Whether it’s in person, in a studio or over the phone, here are our five key things you need to know before jumping into an interview: 

  • Understand the media request before you agree to an interview and be prepared to address what is being asked of you. 
  • Allow adequate time to ensure your key messages are ready to lead and steer the conversation.
  • Practise! Speaking to the media is not something to leave to chance, so make sure you give yourself ample time to prepare to enter the interview with confidence. It might surprise you how you respond when you’re put on the spot!
  • Stay engaged and minimise distractions. It will help you stay focussed, which will help with the natural flow of the conversation, and, in turn will come across as a more genuine interview. 
  • Don’t be fooled by “off the record”. Everything is on the record until the reporter has gone!

It’s not all about the media

Media training techniques are not just applicable in an interview scenario. They can be great for building confidence and improving your presentation skills, public speaking opportunities and navigating challenging conversations.   

Everyone has their own style. Media training is about finding your ‘voice’, learning how to control an interview or conversation, and mastering how to get your message across effectively.   

Click here to speak to us about your media training needs or bespoke solution.  


Other News