by Tim Dewald

March 25, 2021

Dix & Eaton offers media trainings of all shapes and sizes. From full and half-day sessions to more condensed, virtual workshops to help clients prepare for events such as panel opportunities and television interviews.

“But I already know my organization from top to bottom. I am immersed in it. I don’t need a training. After all, I just presented to the board last week,” you might say – confidently. And I don’t doubt that’s true.

However, media interviews are a different beast and can force you out of your comfort zone. They can be intimidating and, if you aren’t prepared, can become a wasted opportunity to communicate with a large audience.

Here are a few important lessons you’ll walk away with after a Dix & Eaton media training:

You Need Your Own Objective

I am going to give away a trade secret now. The first, and most important lesson of media training, is to take control. You are not the Encyclopedia Britannica or an open book to be perused freely for information. Your objective is to leverage the platform and legitimacy the news media provides to communicate information about your organization which contributes directly to strategic goals.

Interviews in the media are not done as a public service. This is not to say you are ‘using’ the media. In almost every interview, we’re simply aiming for a win-win. The journalist obtains valuable perspective to communicate with their audience and you take the opportunity to communicate key messages.

Example

Question: What is the most important factor to consider when buying a car?

Answer 1: The most important factor is price. You need to know if you can afford the monthly payment. Many consumers do not consider the total cost of a car including, taxes, insurance, and any money they may want to put down when buying or leasing an automobile.

OR

Answer 2: The most important factor is price. At Acme Auto Lending, we make the process ‘ABC Easy’ by showing customers the total cost of the car, including what they may pay in terms of insurance. We also offer flexible loan terms to find a monthly payment that fits their life.

Same information, entirely different answer. You make the process ABC Easy, what are those other lenders doing anyway?

You’re Probably Not as Good as You Think

In a moment, I want you to stop reading, take the next 30 seconds and look into your webcam. Now, tell me the story of your organization. I’m listening.

Okay, how’d you do? Did you hit all the key points? Would your investors, customers, donors, board and staff agree with you? Did you highlight the most recent products or initiatives everyone is focused on? How many times did you say, “Umm?”

We all fall victim to this. The information is in your head but getting it down and out of your mouth in a cohesive fashion that can be snipped into 12-second clips for television or quotes in The Wall Street Journal – that’s the trick.

Our media trainings are pretty intensive and cover a lot of information, but often the most beneficial moment is when you are in a room (with colleagues) tasked with figuring just what exactly it is you want to say.

Discovering and rehearsing key messages and practicing techniques to deliver them properly are the most important skills we teach during our sessions.

The Media is not the Enemy

We’ve all seen headlines saying trust in the media is at an all-time low, but reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. Today’s media are more diverse and influential than ever before. Think of the journalists you follow on social media, the podcasts you consume (do you have a Michael Barbaro impression?), or any other combination of news content. The fact is, the majority of Americans still get their news from traditional sources and the ones who reported getting news predominately from social media knew less about politics and current events. In-depth reporting projects, podcasts, even the personal social media accounts of news personalities, are all ways to get your story out through traditional news media avenues.

Regular contact and engagement with the media is critical to telling your story. Outreach to targeted journalists to inform them of new products or updates, press releases creating a robust storyline, and an active social media presence communicating important events all help the media stay informed and tell your story the right way.

Media trainings can be effective virtually, and in person. Drop us a line today and let’s get started.