Why Media Training Is Critical For Brands

Why Media Training Is Critical

According to Nicola Tarr, business unit director at Tribeca Public Relations, media training is no longer a nice-to-have, it’s an essential business tool.

In a world where soundbites and clickbait headlines are the order of the day, businesses’ spokespeople must be media-trained if their brands are to survive and thrive in a content-hungry world.

With social media and online news cycles running faster than the speed of thought, it’s no longer possible to take hours or days to prepare statements or spokespeople. Spokespeople must be skilled and prepared enough to provide comment on the spot, when they’re asked, no matter who asks them.

This is because the ‘media’ doesn’t always present itself as a professional journalist – there are opportunities to share your brand’s messaging in informal interactions at private events, just as much as there are more formal, controlled opportunities to introduce your brand.

Having a well-trained spokesperson who can provide comment quickly and comprehensively is one of the most effective ways to build a brand’s reputation, and to build the relationships that will position the brand in good standing when (not if) a crisis hits.

Relationships like this mean that media will have an insight into the people behind the brand in times of trouble and are more likely to create neutral stories than they are to sensationalise an issue.

Media training teaches skills that are essential beyond media relations too: knowing how to land key messages and respond to tricky questions in a sales or stakeholder meeting is powerful and valuable.

A solid media training offering provides more than just guidance on how to land messaging. It also offers practical skills, like teaching how to control and use body language to your benefit, and how to set up a virtual interview for maximum success.

There are non-negotiables that must be included in a media training service:

– Insights into the media landscape, how it’s evolving, and what it looks like now, and in future.
– Guidance and coaching on how to formulate and land key messages in ways that respond to the different audiences you’re targeting, without losing impact or meaning.
– Techniques that will help you control the conversation and lead the narrative.
– Basics about body language, and how to manage yourself in person and online to appear credible, trustworthy and engaging.
– Storytelling secrets, and ways to make your brand’s message more engaging and relatable to the audiences you’re speaking to.
– Techniques on what to do if you are not qualified to answer certain questions.
– Realistic interviewing scenarios that include exposure to experienced journalists and cameramen, to build confidence when the spotlight really is on you.

These skills and insights are invaluable whether you’re in front of the media, your shareholders and stakeholders, or even your broader network at a social or networking event.

While your public relations agency is there to identify and create the platforms for your brand, it’s up to your spokespeople to make the most of those opportunities, both to build its reputation when times are good, and to protect it in times of crisis.