Could media training actually be bad for business?

Media interview

We have all seen how one poorly worded comment in a media interview can cause serious damage to a business’ reputation, undoing all their marketing efforts and hard work.

But is the solution media training?

The answer is: definitely for a larger business, listed company, or very prominent organisation (along with excellent PR advice), but not necessarily for a small-to-medium sized business or not-for-profit.

Media training is often given as a one-size-fits-all ‘fix’. Many media trainers tend to actually focus on helping you avoiding negative media attention and some even teach you to sound like a robot who does not answer questions properly.

Media training should focus on helping you to make the most of media interviews so that you come across as a knowledgeable and enthusiastic business owner who media want to speak to again and again.

Think about it: most business owners or not-for-profits are not going to be cross-examined by journalists or pushed to answer questions about slight price increases. Those organisations that are likely to face those scenarios should receive very different media training than what your average business owner needs.

Don’t forget, most journalists are not out to stump you, but if you have not prepared and don’t know the answers to basic questions, then you are not helping them do their job and you are not likely to receive another interview request in the future, let alone the positive coverage you were imagining.

This is where media training that is tailored to you and your organisation is not only essential to protecting your brand in an interview, but also will:

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  • make sure your business comes across in the best possible light
  • ensure you have newsworthy information that is delivered in a way that media can use
  • help you stay calm under pressure
  • provide guidance on how to handle difficult issues and deliver messages well
  • guide you to be a good ‘media talent’ that journalists will want to approach for repeat interviews.

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Spending huge sums of money for generic media training is a bad idea. Your media training should be tailored to:

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  • the types of media outlets that you are likely to be interviewed by
  • potential issues that you should prepare for
  • your level of media experience
  • the industry that your organisation operates in
  • anticipated scenarios and likely reasons for interviews
  • the image that you need to portray for your organisation.

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Media training should also include a combination of theory and practice that is realistic and specific to you and your organisation.

When you realise that this is what media training should be covering, you will start to find that not all media training is created equal, and that some media training will actually be bad for business.

Don’t make the mistake of undergoing media training that will end up giving you a bad experience with the media. Instead, go for media training that will empower you to showcase what you do best.


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