At the beginning of 2022, news outlets reported that Joe Biden had given the fewest number of interviews of any US president in history so far in his presidency. In his first year, President Biden only gave 22 total interviews.
Unfortunately, not all company presidents can be so lucky. Interviews with the media are critical to your company’s reputation and success. That is why so many companies and business leaders seek media training.
A media training professional or organization can help leaders in your firm learn how to give better press interviews. And good media relations can significantly benefit your company.
What is media training, and how do companies that undergo media training benefit from improved communications? This guide will discuss the top five benefits of media training, so keep reading.
What Is Media Training?
Media training is also known as media relations training. It teaches individuals and businesses how to interact with the media and its representatives. The main focus of media training, then, is to improve your communication skills.
When media training is effective, trainees will gain the skills necessary to talk about the company they work for in the most productive way. Specifically, media training prepared companies and their representatives for interviews.
Below, we describe some of the topics that help trainees learn the skills they need to give good answers to media questions.
Differentiating Between Media Styles
Your company may have absolutely nothing to do with media. As such, you and your employees might not understand the different types and styles of media.
There are three types of media:
- News media
- Social media
- Web media
Some professionals also refer to the three types of media as earned, shared, and owned media, respectively. Print media and TV media are also types of media that businesses can use to their advantage.
It is also important to understand the difference between traditional and non-traditional media.
Traditional media means reaching your target general audiences through commercials, TV interviews, print ads, billboards, etc.
Non-traditional or new media involves reaching more niche audiences via social media, pay-per-click ads, organic search, etc.
Identifying Media Representative Objectives
The media has goals. And individual representatives do not just come up with interview questions out of the blue. Instead, interviewers design these questions to meet the overall media company’s objectives.
Media training shows trainees learn how the media works. Your trainer can help you understand why interviewers and journalists ask the questions they do and how you can handle them.
For example, did you know that the purpose of a media event defines the questions your spokesperson or spokespeople can expect to receive? This tool helps you and your employees anticipate questions before they’re asked.
Media training can also help businesses identify common media interview question traps.
For example, it is common for studios to record interviewee statements before and after the official interview. Knowing to lookout for microphones and cameras can prevent your representatives from accidentally misspeaking.
Further, you and your employees can learn to anticipate reporter questions based on his or her background and previous interviews.
Just these two tools alone can prevent a wide range of mistakes that commonly occur in media interviews.
Learning Storytelling Techniques
Storytelling can turn a good communicator into an incredible communicator. That is because storytelling techniques build trust with audiences. After all, the point of a story is to connect with others based on shared experiences.
Media training can teach you how to deliver the right story to connect your message with your audience. And if you do not know your message yet, that is okay. Your media trainer can help you develop a company message.
You will also learn the various storytelling styles based on the type of media interview, whether it is in-person, over the radio, TV, or a virtual event.
The most important takeaway from this type of training is that you will know how to focus on that message always. No matter what question comes your way, you will know how to focus on the story and message you want to deliver.
Understanding Media Interview Do’s and Don’ts
There are a lot of unspoken rules when it comes to dealing with the media. During media training, you and your employees will learn about common mistakes companies make in interviews. Then, you’ll learn what to do instead.
We already mentioned one major “don’t” in a media interview: never say anything off the record. Because in journalism, nothing is actually off the record. Other media interview do’s and don’ts include:
- Don’t ramble
- Do deliver your message in response to every question
- Don’t use complicated language
- Do use general language that the interviewer and viewers will understand
- Don’t get into an argument or lose your temper
- Do anticipate and be prepared for tough questions
These are the most basic do’s and don’ts of media interviews. Your media trainer will explain them in more detail and give you additional pitfalls to look out for.
Picking Up Interview Question-Answering Techniques
A lot of the skills we have discussed so far can generally apply to almost any interview or situation. But this tip specifically applies to situations involving news channels and other organizations that are highly skilled at interviewing.
Your media training professional can help you understand interview question-answering techniques. That way, you can handle questions you or your employees are not prepared for, like the pros.
We will not go into all the interview question-answering techniques out there in this guide. But we want to mention two important ones briefly: bridging and flag-planting.
Bridging is a technique that is helpful for dodging negative questions or questions your company is not ready to answer. It allows you and your employees to take control of the interview and focus on the positives.
Flag-planting or flagging is a technique used to emphasize key points that zone in on your brand’s message. It brings the interviewer’s and audience’s attention to the point you are about to make.
Training to Understand Body Language Cues
Verbal communication is not the only communication style that is important when interacting with the media. You also need to understand non-verbal communication, also known as body language.
Body language can help us understand others’ emotions and moods. It can also help us understand others’ reactions to what we are saying.
And both of these things can help in interviews when you need to understand and even decode interview questions.
But it is not enough to understand someone else’s body language. Good media trainers will also teach you how to recognize your own body language.
That way, if your non-verbal body language conflicts with your verbal message, you will know. And you will learn how to alter your non-verbal cues to drive home your key message further.
Who Needs Media Training?
Just about anyone who interacts with the media can benefit from media training. But media training is most important for people who speak on behalf of organizations.
And by organizations, we do not just mean companies. People who speak on behalf of associations, political parties, and sports teams can also benefit from media training.
If you fall into any of the following categories, you should strongly consider undergoing media training.
Studies show that a CEO’s reputation has a significant impact on the company’s overall public image. What is more, many CEOs are the primary spokesperson for their company.
If that sounds like you or the CEO at your firm, media training is a must to help protect your public image and your bottom line.
Media representatives know that most CEOs are trained in media relations. As such, they may try to get a quote from other members of the executive board who might not be so seasoned in answering interview questions.
That’s why it is often a good idea to train your entire leadership team. That way, they are prepared to speak to the media at any time.
Many companies have public relations departments with the job of speaking on the firm’s behalf. If that is the case, your senior PR people and really the entire department should have some level of media training.
Depending on your company’s size, you may want training for your entire employee base, especially in times of internal crises.
5 Benefits of Media Training for Companies
By now, we hope you understand more about how media training works and who needs it. But why is communicating with media important in 2022, especially for businesses and business leaders?
Here are the top five advantages of media training for companies.
1. Refine Your Company’s Message
Step 1 in any good media training session is to define your company’s key mission or message. Your message will be the foundation of any interview question you answer.
And consistency is key for driving your message home with audiences. After all, branding consistency has been shown to boost company revenues by 20%.
As we mentioned earlier, you will weave your key message into every interview question you answer. So, understanding this key message is the first step to understanding how to answer any question thrown your way.
2. Improve Brand Awareness
Did you know that positive media coverage improves preference for and awareness of your company brand? This is especially true of earned media coverage, which audiences find highly authoritative and trustworthy.
Don’t believe us? Then consider the following statistics about brand awareness:
- 45% of marketers say increasing brand awareness is their top goal
- It takes 57 media impressions to create brand awareness
- 46% of consumers say they will pay more to brands they trust
Media training can help you take advantage of all these benefits and more.
3. Manage Crises With Ease
In times of crises, whether internal or external, the media should be your friend. Yet, many companies feel the opposite, steering clear of media interviews to avoid bad press.
With media training, you and your employees will learn how to deal with media questions meant to provoke. For example, you can utilize communication techniques like bridging to re-focus the interview on your main message.
4. Boost Your Bottom Line
This benefit specifically applies to company CEOs. Studies show that a CEO’s personality can influence the company’s reputation. And a company’s reputation, in turn, has a significant impact on its bottom line.
For example, a Fortune article found that CEOs with personalities perceived as too extroverted can lead to lower returns for shareholders. Other findings show that a negative CEO reputation can lead to double-digit declines in sales and reduced company revenues.
With media training, CEOs can reverse the negative impact of their persona. That way, you can boost your bottom line for your company and its shareholders.
5. The Media Will Come to You
Did you know that there are 6.2 PR professionals for every journalist in the US? And what does that mean? It means that journalists no longer have time to cover every opinion on a hot topic.
Instead, modern journalists tend to turn to reliable thought leaders for comments on big stories. If you become one of those thought leaders, you can use these opportunities to prop up your company and its message.
Over time, journalists will come to rely on you or your spokespeople’s voice because they know you are great at giving interviews.
Media Training in San Francisco
Media training is critical for anyone who needs to communicate with the media. Whether you are the CEO of a large company, an entrepreneur, or an individual, a media trainer can boost your company’s image by improving media interviews and more.
Are you looking for a media training company to improve communications at your firm? We are a full-service video production company offering media training services in San Francisco. Contact us today to learn more!