Monday, October 15, 2012

You never can be too prepared. Media training is a must!

Before releasing news, PR professionals are often most concerned with their pitching strategies and how they are best going to get the media’s attention. Because this is the main focus, it is easy to overlook the importance of preparing your client for interviews if and when your pitching efforts are successful. Many times media training is an afterthought, and is often planned or discussed after a reporter has expressed interest in your news. But what happens when a reporter is on a very tight deadline, needing answers directly from your client or requesting to conduct the interview immediately? As the company spokesperson, you never can be too prepared.

To prevent a fire drill on all sides in order to accommodate immediate media inquiries, fact checks or an on-the-spot interview, it is best to conduct a brief media training session with your client BEFORE the news is released. During this session, think like a journalist and ask your client the questions you expect the reporter will ask so if/when   a reporter calls, you and your client will be better prepared to respond quickly. Conducting a media training session prior to an interview will also help set your clients at ease during the interview and will further ensure they stay on message and successfully (yet naturally) weave in the talking points you previously discussed.
It also is likely that the reporter will be “digging” with some of their inquiries, and it is important to clarify in advance with your client every detail of an announcement that can and cannot be discussed. When on a tight deadline, reporters hate nothing more than to hear, “I don’t know, I will have to check with my client.” They realize executives can be hard to track down, and a delay in receiving information can be the cause of a great headache or a missed media opportunity for your client. Simply being prepared when reporters call is the best way to build a mutually beneficial relationship and ensure your client is called upon time and time again as an expert source, especially under a tight deadline.  
Post contributed by: Shelby Menczer @shelbymenczer



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