Why Media Training Matters More Than Ever

Last Updated Mar 26, 2008 2:45 PM EDT

In addition to my duties as the Catching Flack blogger, I conduct media training sessions for corporate executives and PR professionals. I started blogging on my own blog mainly to promote myself and my services, but when I moved over to Catching Flack I've covered a wide range of topics and rarely touched on media training.

But I've got two important media training programs coming up, both open to the public, that I wanted to tell you about. And at the same time, I wanted to take the opportunity to lay out why I think media training still matters -- in fact, why it matters more than ever.

First, let me get the plugs in (media tip: always get the plug in early, because you don't know if you'll have time at the end):

This Friday at the lunch hour is the first of a four-part media training program sponsored by PRSA Silicon Valley. Friday's session is called "Mastering the Media Interview: A Media Training Workshop for Executive Spokespeople." Our guest speaker will be Steve Yoder, San Francisco bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal; joining me as a media trainer is Jeff Braun (I bring more of a print background, while Jeff is a former TV news reporter). If you are in the Bay Area, this is an extremely affordable way to get some media training for your corporate spokespeople: it's only $69 for non-members, $59 for members of our partner organizations such as the BMA and $49 for PRSA members.
The rest of the series will be as follows: MAY 30 -- Guerilla PR Technology Practices & Working With Social Media: Optimizing the Press Center, Working with New Media and More
SEPTEMBER 12 -- Media Training for PR Pros -- Becoming Your Company's Spokesperson
NOVEMBER 7 -- Inside the Newsroom: A day in the life of reporters, editors, producers, anchors--even the cameramen.

Second plug: I'll be speaking at the Bulldog Reporter 2008 Media Relations Summit, also in San Francisco, on Monday, April 7, where my topic will be "Teaching Your Executives to Love and Master the Media Interview." To attend you need to register for the entire conference.

Now, on to subject of why media training matters more than ever.

In today's information-saturated world, none of us has time to wade through tiresome, poorly worded, jargon-laden business information. To get anyone's attention, whether it is in the traditional media, in online media, in speeches, analyst meetings, employee communications -- any communication platform -- our information needs to be fresh, relevant, interesting, and timely.

When we talk to the media in particular, we need to know how they operate, what they are looking for and how to package our information in a way that will actually be included in their stories. Again, in today's world, there is so much competition for coverage that more often than not, the coverage goes to those who know how to work best with the media.

These are the two underpinnings of media training. Training gives the people who will actually work with the media or other audiences the skills and tools to deliver information in ways that will get our information across. It teaches spokespeople how to properly interact with the media or other audiences and how to package their information in "media-friendly" soundbites.

Media training has always mattered and has always made the difference between a good spokesperson and an average or poor spokesperson. And therefore, media training has the potential to be a key component of a media relations plan -- the success of the plan really hinges on the ability of the spokesperson to deliver your key messages.

It matters now, more than ever, because there are so many good spokespeople, and so many stories worth telling, that the lion's share of the media opportunities are going to go to the well-versed spokesperson, while the poor spokesperson will struggle to get their messages heard.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.