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The value of good Media Skills

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The media is the most powerful marketing tool in the world today. In fact, we spend more time ‘consuming’ the media than we do actually ‘talking’ to one another.

As our society becomes even more open and accountable, it is increasingly likely the activities of people and organisations in the public eye will be questioned by the media.

The media also define our culture and media outlets set the daily agenda. Despite this, media should not be seen as a threat. Media attention also provides the opportunity for alert organisations to send the right messages to their target audiences.

Positive exposure through the media is, because of the inbuilt credibility of the media itself, of far more benefit than paid advertising. It costs virtually nothing, except time.

It is, therefore, critical that anyone likely to face media scrutiny become as proficient in handling media interviews as they are in the other aspects of their business.

A poor performance on radio, television or with the press can do considerable – sometimes irreparable – damage to an organisation, its professional standing, image and goodwill among its own market. A positive interview, on the other hand, will reinforce the organisation’s good standing with the public. It also has real potential to create opportunities for increased business.

Here are 3 quick tips for effective media skills:

1. Do your homework
Before a journalist begins to interview you they have probably been given a press release and a biography and if they are a good journalist would probably have done some additional research. They will be totally briefed on you. But how much do you know about the journalist and the media they represent? Before you do the interview or even agree to doing one make sure you know the position of the person interviewing you and have an understanding of the media agency they are representing. As a PR professional we would always research that journalist and gain an understanding of their column or segment, tone and history of articles.

2. Know your message
When talking to media you need to have1-2 clear messages that are concise, clear and readily understood. Practise your message and find different ways to say that message so that it can repeated throughout the interview (politicians are exceptionally good at this skill). This will ensure that the objectives of the interview are addressed and your audience will walk away with a desired understanding.

3. Be prepared
Ensuring that the information presented is accurate and reliable is key to an effective interview. Make sure you fully understand your topic of discussion and be prepared to answer different angle views on the subject. If you receive a cold call for an interview, don’t feel pressured to answer questions on the spot but rather ask if you can arrange a convenient time to be interviewed, this will allow you time to prepare and give a thorough, concise interview

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