It may become evident during early press interviews that our product spokespeople need media training. For example, responses should be condensed into short, “quotable” sentences, product talking points and the key “value Proposition” messages. These messages need to be communicated every time. In contrast, certain information, such as pricing, volume, future road maps, and rumors should never be communicated to the press—unless we decide in advance to do so.
Media training would typically be conducted by our PR firm or in-house PR professionals prior to major press releases, trade shows or press tours and would address the following:
- How to qualify upfront, and understand what reporters are really looking for—to avoid ambush interviews.
- How to determine what editors really want and how to deliver it.
- How to anticipate the questions reporters will ask and prepare answers and compelling quotes (memorized talking points).
- Methods to handle the toughest questions and what to do when you don’t want to or can’t reply
- How to read and control your own hidden body messages so you appear confident and believable.
- Practice interviews (with video cameras) so you can see how you come across on TV.
- How to speak in short quotes and stay on message.
- Crisis management responses, drills, and procedures (who is the proper contact).
- How to stay to the talking points…when you are eager to say so much more.
- Here is a good article about “How To Respond to Calls from the Media” from Todd, CEO of Spread The News, a PR group I’ve used often. Also, view the blog where Todd shows “How to Pitch to the Press.”