In public relations, we are taught that preparation is key for any crisis or situation that may need our attention. But, it is equally important on how we train our clients. One of the integral parts to keeping a client prepared is media training.
How your client looks and sounds on television or comes across in a newspaper story can go a long way to showing they are credible. I entered public relations after a long career in television and radio. Taking that experience, I’ve been able to assist my clients in making sure they are well prepared for the media.
Television can make or break you and your client if they are not prepared. We’ve seen the mistakes last year (Hello, Herman Cain, Penn State, and Anthony Weiner). It’s still early in 2012, but if you would rather not see a client of yours -or even yourself- in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, these five examples could help.
Rehearse: Just like you would practice the piano before a concert, it’s important to think over answers to possible questions from a reporter. Teach your client to review his talking points prior to any interviews.
Don’t Fear the Camera/Microphone: That light on top of the camera isn’t from an interrogator. It’s there to help make you look better. Remember, most reporters don’t want to make your clients look bad. They want the facts. There’s nothing to be afraid of.
Be Concise: Don’t give rambling answers. In television, soundbites run approximately 10-20 seconds. You need to get your message across in that amount of time. If you go longer, you risk having your message cut up and possibly misunderstood.
New Media Awareness: Platforms like YouTube and blogs are obviously very prevalent now. Newspapers are also using blogs to supplement their normal coverage. Some papers even turn their print reporters into new media journalists. Make certain you make a client aware of any additional avenues a reporter may be using to tell a story.
Don’t Want to Read It? DON’T SAY IT: This seems simple enough, but there are people who feel the need to tell a reporter more than necessary. If it’s not something that needed to be revealed, damage control is necessary. Stick to the talking points!
Using these tips will not only assist your clients, they will also prove you are looking out for their well-being.