It pains me to admit as a former print journalist that I don’t pick up the newspaper anymore unless it’s lying on the café table while I eat my Sunday brunch or handed to me before walking onto the plane.
I persisted for a long time, but practicality got the better of me. Now I devour ten times the headlines (albeit not always the entire articles or commentary) on about six different news apps or websites, my daily media alerts, and three different social apps throughout the day.
Although my nostalgia and pangs of guilt might not be typical, my behaviour certainly is. Audiences want to access easily digestible content at any time of the day with fewer restrictions. In turn, content has become more instant, visually engaging, time-sensitive, informal and niche.
At Daymark we have a simple philosophy: If we’re consuming the media in a different way and content is evolving to match, then organisations and individuals should be adapting the way they prepare for and interact with the media.
This philosophy has helped us develop a modern approach to media training. It differs to traditional media training in the following main ways:
1. Real not robot
Media training is no longer only for the well-oiled CEO or the question-dodging polly. Audiences enjoy hearing from people who are authentic, passionate and genuine regardless of their position.
With so many earned, paid and owned media channels, it is helpful for more people within the organisation to understand how the media works and the importance of language, appearance and delivery.
Modern media training also puts less emphasis on delivering stumble-free answers and avoiding difficult questions, and more emphasis on enhancing natural speech patterns and preparing to answer every question.
We train subject-matter experts at every level to speak with confidence, presence and discipline. If the audience likes them and trusts them, they are more likely to listen to the message.
2. Targeted not generic
Any PR professional will tell you that the press release has had its day. Securing media coverage is about tailored pitches and exclusives to specific journalists and media outlets accompanied by images, data, infographics and videos.
In order to get broad coverage, one story and interview is transformed into several different media and public speaking engagements such as a radio grab, podcast, panel discussion, webinar, live TV interview, online Q&A, talkshow or phone interview.
During media training, we determine the subjects and formats for which the spokesperson is suited. One issue may have more than one spokesperson, depending on the location, outlet, subject and channel.
3. Proactive not reactive
Traditional media training focused on preparing key figures to respond to negative media coverage. While crisis management is still a part of the media training process, modern media training takes a more holistic approach to media engagement.
We take participants through their relevant media landscape, both geographical and subject-based, so they have a better understanding of the opportunities for proactive media engagement. We also emphasise the importance of putting in place a media protocol.
This proactive approach helps the organisation build relationships with journalists and media outlets and prepares spokespeople for when negative or unexpected coverage occurs.