National Football League playoffs begin Saturday. Football players are often celebrated for their commitment to year-round training. The sport requires that much self-discipline in order for them to stay healthy throughout the rigors of a season and into the hard-hitting playoffs.
Likewise, media training is crucial for your brand’s spokespeople. Coaches must put their players in the best position possible to succeed. As counselors, public relations professionals should do the same for clients.
Media training requires the same attention to detail and practice.
Executing a Satellite Media Tour (SMT) with an internal spokesperson new to interviews can feel quite different than doing an SMT with a media savvy celebrity. All coaches are hesitant to put a rookie in critical situations when you have a higher priced veteran on the roster. But, if the rookie is what you’re left with, coach them up to confidence before they’re thrust in a high-pressure situation.
If your spokesperson requires training, media professionals can prepare them before the tour. Our approach to media training mirrors that of all our services: customizable. Formal media training is imperative, but we understand that there’s no one size fits all formula. For purposes of media tours and broadcast public relations media interview advice, here are some good places to start.
1.) Prepare to Audible
Coaches have a plan for game day. So should your spokesperson on media tour day. It’s generally a “no-brainer” because we’ll provide you with suggested questions media are likely to ask. However, always have a backup plan. If a quarterback recognizes the defense is setup to squash the called play, then he will likely check down to a better option. Ultimately, the media will ask whatever they want during interviews. Develop and practice the necessary statements, pivots and transitions back to key messages just in case not all follow the initial interview outline.
2.) Set Up Success
Nothing comes off as more gratuitous and unwanted than a brand mention seemingly out of nowhere. It can ruin the flow of your interview like an offensive lineman false starting and the media will throw a flag just as quickly. First, provide the media with a newsworthy interview about whatever the topic may be. Then work in the client’s messaging so it makes sense within the flow of the discussion.
3.) Honor the Play Clock
In professional football, the 40-second play clock keeps the action moving. Interviews should be conducted with the same sort of rhythm. Let the interviewer ask questions and provide concise answers. Keep anecdotes short and always lean toward brevity.
Proper media training is case specific, but if your spokesperson can keep answers short, speak to the target audience and remember why and what they’re promoting, you’ll find your brand in the end zone every time.