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WEBINAR
MEDIA TRAINING 101
February 2024
2
Public Relations is the art of arranging the facts
so that people will like you, trust you, believe you
and care about what you’re saying.
Good Public Relations is making it as
easy as possible for journalists to write stories
that they want to cover
3
Aims of the Webinar
• What journalists want
• How to prepare
• Controlling what happens in the interview
• Getting your message across effectively
– And ensure it is the right message
• How to keep the journalist on your side
• How to make sure the media comes back for more
4
The Rules of the Game
• There is NO guarantee of coverage
• The journalist decides what gets
written
• You will only see a copy of the article
in advance if the editor wants you to
review it
• Editors can make mistakes. You can’t
5
The Role of the Media
6
Media landscape
• Mainstream news
– Report public interest news – crime, war, politics, sport, business
• Business publications
– Report in trends and issues - financial, management, marketing
• Trade publications
– Report on developments – New products & developments, channel
issues.
• Bloggers and influencers
– Cover things that are interesting (and will get views)
• Analysts
– Conduct more in-depth analysis of markets and companies
7
What do journalists want
• Different journalists want different things
• Most want to help you –and want to promote:
– You (as a personality)
– The technology
– The industry
• Validation of their interest, time, ink/noise
• Under pressure to deliver copy, so need news
• Want a story to please producer/editor and audience
• Can be biased, but generally not “out to get you”
• Analysts and influencers are different
8
Dealing with Hostility
• We very rarely see any hostility or disagreement during editor interviews
• Establish areas of agreement
• Ask for clarification, say you don’t understand the question
• Use facts, statistics and examples to validate your statements
• Avoid “what if” scenarios
– You prefer dealing with facts and what you know
• Reinforce main point in a firm, polite manner
• Do not get angry!
9
Journalists’
Tactics
1. Rapid-fire questions
2. Repeating the question
3. Accusatory questions
4. Pleading ignorance
5. Paraphrasing
6. Switching direction
7. “Yes” or “no” questions
8. Silence
10
Managing the Media:
Best Practice
11
Good Practice
• It’s always good practice to:
– Always ensure you have something worthwhile to present
– Always treat editors fairly
– Always follow-up on commitments
– Never knock the competition
12
Preparing for the Interview
13
Prepare to be a
SPOKESPERSON
NOT an “Answer-person”
14
Determine your agenda
• Single main point – the news hook
• 2-3 key messages
• Give clear, concise answers
– Typically three to four sentences
• Simple language not pretentious jargon
15
Think like a journalist
• Make your most
important point first
• Back it up with facts or
examples
• Be clear & concise
The “Inverted Pyramid”
Most
Important
Less
Important
Main Point
Supporting
Points
Other
Messages
16
PowerPoint Presentations
• Start with the key headline/conclusion
• Keep them short (10 slides or so)
• No effects, transitions or music
• Try not to read bullets
• Ensure that information that you don’t
want to discuss is not in the presentation
• Make sure you provide handouts
• Consider how you will present the slides
– May benefit from paper copies in informal situation
17
The Interview
18
The Interview
• Know the journalist and what motivates them
• Give conclusion first
• Inserted headline several times
• Key points must be repeated several times
• Do not knock competitors
• Do not knock or embarrass reporter
• Do discuss market trends
19
Dealing With Questions
• Acknowledge good questions; rephrase
bad ones
• Take a moment to think, then repeat
the question
• If you don’t know the answer, you can
say, “That’s a really great question, I’m
not the best person to respond so let
me take a note and come back”
20
A = Q + M
Respond
to question
Bridging
phrase
Your message
Bridging technique
21
Yes....
and what’s
important is…
KEY
MESSAGE
I can’t talk
about that...
but what I can
say is…
KEY
MESSAGE
No.... let me
explain…
KEY
MESSAGE
Answer  bridge  communicate
22
Bridging phrases
• “The real issue here is…”
• “What we’re really talking about is…”
• “What’s important to remember is…”
• “Let me put that into perspective…”
• “What people want to know is…”
• “I don’t know about that but what I can say is…”
23
Confidential Information
• No such thing as “off the record” or “background”
• “No Comment” = “Your worst assumptions are true”
– If you do not want to comment, be consistent (e.g. never
commenting on unannounced products)
– Legal, competitive and ethical considerations are respectable
reasons for withholding information
• Be careful with financial information
24
Dos and Don’ts
25
Interview Tips – Do
• Be prepared, physically and mentally
• Think of the editor as a person
• Emphasize the positive. Talk
solutions, not problems
• Take the time you need before you
speak
• Stay cool. It’s your interview; you
can set the pace
• Speak in simple terms, and avoid
jargon
• Be aware of any language issues
• Remember that you speak for the
company, not yourself
• Stay away from issues in which you
are not an expert
• When you must decline to answer a
question, explain why – use good
reasons
• Make your answers crisp and
colorful, but don’t force it
• Make sure you understand the
questions
• Correct misinformation
• Look for softballs, and use them
26
Interview Tips – Don’t
• Dwell on negatives or mistakes
• Repeat negative language, even to
refute it
• Allow the reporter to badger or take
control
• Assume the reporter understands
the complexity of an issue
• Comment on rumors or speculation
or talk “off the record”
• Tease editors with reference to
information they can’t have
• Give purely personal opinions on
issues, people, policies
• Stray from agreed-upon subject areas
• Limit your answer to a “no comment.”
if you can’t answer a question, say
why and offer to connect with
someone who can
• Disparage other companies or their
products and services
• Ask to see a story before it is printed
or aired
• Attack or embarrass a journalist
27
A Good Story
Thank the editor and be happy!
28
A Bad Story
• Are the facts wrong?
– Correct the facts politely with the journalist
• Did the journalist break an embargo?
– Forgive him or her. It was probably accidental
• Is it just the opinion you didn’t like?
– Try to do a better job next time!
• Editors can write whatever they want
• Once the story is published, you can’t change it.
29
No Coverage
• Many things can lead to coverage not
appearing
• Don’t ask the editor why they didn’t
cover the story
– Putting the editor on the spot can’t
help the situation
• Don’t worry. Keep trying.
30
Key Take-Aways
• You can be a spokesperson!
• But journalists can write what they want
• The key is:
– Good preparation
– Follow the rules
– Practice dealing with difficult questions
31
Questions?
www.napierb2b.com
mike@napierb2b.com

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Media Training 101: Discover the Basics of Being a Spokesperson

  • 2. 2 Public Relations is the art of arranging the facts so that people will like you, trust you, believe you and care about what you’re saying. Good Public Relations is making it as easy as possible for journalists to write stories that they want to cover
  • 3. 3 Aims of the Webinar • What journalists want • How to prepare • Controlling what happens in the interview • Getting your message across effectively – And ensure it is the right message • How to keep the journalist on your side • How to make sure the media comes back for more
  • 4. 4 The Rules of the Game • There is NO guarantee of coverage • The journalist decides what gets written • You will only see a copy of the article in advance if the editor wants you to review it • Editors can make mistakes. You can’t
  • 5. 5 The Role of the Media
  • 6. 6 Media landscape • Mainstream news – Report public interest news – crime, war, politics, sport, business • Business publications – Report in trends and issues - financial, management, marketing • Trade publications – Report on developments – New products & developments, channel issues. • Bloggers and influencers – Cover things that are interesting (and will get views) • Analysts – Conduct more in-depth analysis of markets and companies
  • 7. 7 What do journalists want • Different journalists want different things • Most want to help you –and want to promote: – You (as a personality) – The technology – The industry • Validation of their interest, time, ink/noise • Under pressure to deliver copy, so need news • Want a story to please producer/editor and audience • Can be biased, but generally not “out to get you” • Analysts and influencers are different
  • 8. 8 Dealing with Hostility • We very rarely see any hostility or disagreement during editor interviews • Establish areas of agreement • Ask for clarification, say you don’t understand the question • Use facts, statistics and examples to validate your statements • Avoid “what if” scenarios – You prefer dealing with facts and what you know • Reinforce main point in a firm, polite manner • Do not get angry!
  • 9. 9 Journalists’ Tactics 1. Rapid-fire questions 2. Repeating the question 3. Accusatory questions 4. Pleading ignorance 5. Paraphrasing 6. Switching direction 7. “Yes” or “no” questions 8. Silence
  • 11. 11 Good Practice • It’s always good practice to: – Always ensure you have something worthwhile to present – Always treat editors fairly – Always follow-up on commitments – Never knock the competition
  • 12. 12 Preparing for the Interview
  • 13. 13 Prepare to be a SPOKESPERSON NOT an “Answer-person”
  • 14. 14 Determine your agenda • Single main point – the news hook • 2-3 key messages • Give clear, concise answers – Typically three to four sentences • Simple language not pretentious jargon
  • 15. 15 Think like a journalist • Make your most important point first • Back it up with facts or examples • Be clear & concise The “Inverted Pyramid” Most Important Less Important Main Point Supporting Points Other Messages
  • 16. 16 PowerPoint Presentations • Start with the key headline/conclusion • Keep them short (10 slides or so) • No effects, transitions or music • Try not to read bullets • Ensure that information that you don’t want to discuss is not in the presentation • Make sure you provide handouts • Consider how you will present the slides – May benefit from paper copies in informal situation
  • 18. 18 The Interview • Know the journalist and what motivates them • Give conclusion first • Inserted headline several times • Key points must be repeated several times • Do not knock competitors • Do not knock or embarrass reporter • Do discuss market trends
  • 19. 19 Dealing With Questions • Acknowledge good questions; rephrase bad ones • Take a moment to think, then repeat the question • If you don’t know the answer, you can say, “That’s a really great question, I’m not the best person to respond so let me take a note and come back”
  • 20. 20 A = Q + M Respond to question Bridging phrase Your message Bridging technique
  • 21. 21 Yes.... and what’s important is… KEY MESSAGE I can’t talk about that... but what I can say is… KEY MESSAGE No.... let me explain… KEY MESSAGE Answer  bridge  communicate
  • 22. 22 Bridging phrases • “The real issue here is…” • “What we’re really talking about is…” • “What’s important to remember is…” • “Let me put that into perspective…” • “What people want to know is…” • “I don’t know about that but what I can say is…”
  • 23. 23 Confidential Information • No such thing as “off the record” or “background” • “No Comment” = “Your worst assumptions are true” – If you do not want to comment, be consistent (e.g. never commenting on unannounced products) – Legal, competitive and ethical considerations are respectable reasons for withholding information • Be careful with financial information
  • 25. 25 Interview Tips – Do • Be prepared, physically and mentally • Think of the editor as a person • Emphasize the positive. Talk solutions, not problems • Take the time you need before you speak • Stay cool. It’s your interview; you can set the pace • Speak in simple terms, and avoid jargon • Be aware of any language issues • Remember that you speak for the company, not yourself • Stay away from issues in which you are not an expert • When you must decline to answer a question, explain why – use good reasons • Make your answers crisp and colorful, but don’t force it • Make sure you understand the questions • Correct misinformation • Look for softballs, and use them
  • 26. 26 Interview Tips – Don’t • Dwell on negatives or mistakes • Repeat negative language, even to refute it • Allow the reporter to badger or take control • Assume the reporter understands the complexity of an issue • Comment on rumors or speculation or talk “off the record” • Tease editors with reference to information they can’t have • Give purely personal opinions on issues, people, policies • Stray from agreed-upon subject areas • Limit your answer to a “no comment.” if you can’t answer a question, say why and offer to connect with someone who can • Disparage other companies or their products and services • Ask to see a story before it is printed or aired • Attack or embarrass a journalist
  • 27. 27 A Good Story Thank the editor and be happy!
  • 28. 28 A Bad Story • Are the facts wrong? – Correct the facts politely with the journalist • Did the journalist break an embargo? – Forgive him or her. It was probably accidental • Is it just the opinion you didn’t like? – Try to do a better job next time! • Editors can write whatever they want • Once the story is published, you can’t change it.
  • 29. 29 No Coverage • Many things can lead to coverage not appearing • Don’t ask the editor why they didn’t cover the story – Putting the editor on the spot can’t help the situation • Don’t worry. Keep trying.
  • 30. 30 Key Take-Aways • You can be a spokesperson! • But journalists can write what they want • The key is: – Good preparation – Follow the rules – Practice dealing with difficult questions