Everything you do, say — and don’t say — is now accessible to the entire world.
The digital age means you cannot hide anywhere, meaning as a business owner, you need to be prepared to manage your brand on a much larger stage — sometimes with no time to prepare.
Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”
The scandal at Michigan State University represents a recent example of poor handling of media; spokespeople for the university such as board trustees and former president Lou Anna Simon were ill-prepared to address allegations or questions. At the very least, a statement should have been sent immediately that outlined how the university planned to deal with the situation.
While this is an extreme example of crisis communication, companies should invest in basic media training for all upper-level managers and executives to be prepared for the unexpected.
Media training will provide business owners with the necessary tools to handle any media inquiry or interview. Understanding how media works also will provide opportunities to proactively pursue opportunities that can lead to a positive impact on your company’s brand and reputation.
Some key components of media training include:
Development of key messaging: This includes sound bites and a consistent elevator speech.
On-camera practice interviews: The more often you practice, the more relaxed you will appear (even if you are faking it).
Tips and tricks for on-camera, print and radio interviews: Each medium requires a different approach.
Sharing your message and earned media through digital platforms: Email, web and social media all should be part of your media plan.
Presentation: Understanding proper dress, verbal and non-verbal cues, and body language is key.
Keep in mind reporters use interviews to gather information and flesh out their stories. It is the basic tool of news gathering and a great opportunity for your organization to communicate its messages to its target publics.
Public relations and media training is well worth the time and expense to ensure spokespersons can fully capitalize on media opportunities and avoid missteps.