The Media Training Bible: 101 Things You Absolutely, Positively Need To Know Before Your Next Interview by Brad Phillips
If you’re focused in PR or any sort of media training in your role then this book could be your go-to resource. Not sure about your bible – but it does make the title more catchy!
Highly relevant stuff here for spokespeople, though I’m not sure they would read the entire book which is reasonably large, no instead I think it’s best suited to the media trainers themselves. OR someone who can’t afford to pay for media training and needs to go on TV (eek).
Aside from a range of tips the book also includes a really useful message worksheet, which will be a fab resource if you’re a spokesperson (or need to train one), but of course you need to get the book to get your hands on that one.
Eight things to remember before your next media interview
(headings = mine, all quotes directly from the book and are by the very smart Brad Phillips apart from the one at the end by Jane)
1. Don’t be afraid
Despite what you may have heard (or personally experienced), most reporters aren’t out to get you. More often than not, they just want reliable information from a spokesperson who can deliver a media-friendly quote.
2. Don’t refuse an interview unless ABSOLUTELY necessary
“Here’s why: There are three voices in many news stories—yours, your opponent’s, and the reporter’s. If you refuse the interview, “The Rule of Thirds” states that you’ll likely go 0-for-3 in the story.”
3. Never go off the record unless you’re ABSOLUTELY sure your both agreed on what that means
“Journalists don’t really understand the phrase “off the record”— or, more precisely, they can’t agree on what it means. If you speak to 10 different journalists, you’ll probably hear 10 different definitions.”
4. Set a time limit if you’re concerned
“If you believe a journalist is primarily interested in digging for dirt, tell the reporter you’d love to talk but only have a 15-minute window available. Make sure you set the time limit when you are arranging, not conducting the interview; otherwise, it will look defensive.”
5. The rule of three
“Aim for three main messages. Three is widely regarded as the right balance between too few (leading to audience boredom) and too many…”
6. An ideal customer journey and the reason you need to be consistent
“If I read your on-message quote in a newspaper article, you’re at one. If I visit your website and see it again, you’re at two. If I see your on-message interview on the local television news, you’re at three. But if your message is slightly different each time you communicate, you will never move the clicker past one.”
7. Always make your stats and numbers concrete (for sound bites)
“Fenway Park seats 37,000 people. It would take 122 Fenway Parks to hold every American with Alzheimer’s disease. That’s four and a half million people in total who are afflicted with this awful disease.”
8. Be super, super aware of what you put on Twitter
As Jane Jordan-Meier reported in The Four Stages of Highly Effective Crisis Management, “Two journalists I spoke with saw Twitter as the new police scanner.”
Want the book? Get it here.
Also, if you like the sound of the above, I recommend checking out the author’s blog: Mr Media Training. Fabulous stuff – and of course FREE.
Happy media training,