We've all been there. The week before the biggest product launch of the year and a coveted media target wants to know more. You pull together a detailed briefing document and jump on the phone with your spokesperson to prep – all seems great and you're ready for show time. Then something shifts during the call; the spokesperson loses their focus and can't rebound. Despite your best efforts, the interview bombs.
Like languages, practice and regular use is key. Media training should be incorporated into your daily interactions with a client. For most of us, big product launches only happen once or twice a year, yet our spokespeople should be prepped and practicing all year round. With your daily pitching and scanning for news items, you should also consider ways to help your spokesperson should you get a bite for an interview around an issue you are focusing on and connecting your client to.
After each interview, spend ten minutes debriefing with your spokesperson and be critical. Discuss ways they could have bridged a topic better and give tips for bringing back the conversation to their three main focus points.
This day-to-day focus on media training should be coupled with an intensive media training session at least twice a year. We've also found the best sessions are run by journalists or former journalists. For media training to truly stick, you need to be able to get into the mind of the reporter and hear it straight from them. Having someone who has lived in the reality of today's newsroom can convey impactful subtleties that make the lessons of media training stick.
In my next two posts, I'll discuss top tips when engaging the media and the five, most common media archetypes.
Cheryl Gale is managing partner of March Communications.