Blissdom 2010 Wisdom Workshop Notes: Media Training

by Sami

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Here are my notes from the first Blissdom 2010 Wisdom Workshop: Media training– Say What you Want to Say

What’s Your Story?
Message points are a few carefully prepared, concise and memorable thoughts that closely align with your brand and business objectives; the thoughts you most want your audience to remember – above all else. 3 or 4 bullet points
-Message points are your brand – use your brand

-Your messages aren’t just for the media; every form of communication is an opportunity
*Flight here, elevator ride, cocktail party
*About section of blog/website
*Partnership/business discussions
*Speaking opportunities

Purpose of Message points:
-Define your agenda and help you focus
*Once you have the cues down, you have them in place to tell your story
-make it easy for you to “tell your story” and for others to remember it
-Give you a life raft to cling to if the waters turn rough
-Ensure you’re delivering a consistent message over time
*If you want them to work, you have to stick with them

Good Messages are:
-Concise, simple & specific

-Memorable, genuine and personal

-Strategic (Call to action)
*Why are you doing an interview? What do you want someone to do after hearing you? Media is just a means to get to the audience you want to reach

***Talk to local media about shared content – create stories with a business objective in mind

***Paid to Pitch – Product Reviews by bloggers Draw Scrutiny – Blogola: The FTC Takes on Paid Posts***
(AP – press releases)

***Walmart 11 Moms – call to pitch to reporters – company for bloggers
“DM” “Hashtag”

Key to paid relationship: even though there’s compensation involved, you still have to believe in it. Find your own voice and the way you feel most comfortable

Media Relations: The foundation
-Reporters are looking for “news”
*Controversy & conflict
*new, unique & unusual

-Your job: make your messages stand out
*Have an agenda for every interview
*Be ready for the well-prepared as well as the ill-prepared reporter

-Be smart
*There’s no such thing as “off the record”
*If you don’t know, don’t speculate (Never lie to the media)
*Don’t confuse media relationships with friendships

Setting up the Interview
-When you contact them
*Do your homework
*Remember the “New, unique, unusual” – and local!
*Think of what’s in it for their readers/viewers/listeners

-When they contact you
*Never leap in, start by asking questions
–What’s your deadline? What’s the story you’re pursuing? Who else are you talking with? I want to make sure I can help you and I’m the right person for you
*If it’s a good opportunity, then buy a little time
-“I’m wrapping something up…” What am I going to say? Take advantage of this opportunity. Collect your thoughts
*Prepare and practice
*Call them back or meet them when you said you would – do what you say you’re going to do

The interview: anticipate the questions
*Be ready for:
-The first question (softball question – hit a homerun! Set a table of contents for the rest of the interview with your message points)
-The “Gotcha” questions
-The dreaded questions
-The last question

*Use blocking and bridging to get from the question to your message points

“Does anyone have any questions for my answers?” –

-definition: The use of smooth connecting phrases to move the conversation from an off-agenda area (unproductive, hostile, irrelevant, etc) to your messages
***Tonality is the key to effective blocking & bridging***

“The great thing about all the attention is….” (What you want to talk about is great because it allows me the attention to talk about what’s important to me…)

SAMPLE B&B Language:
-“I think what you’re really asking is…” (rephrase the question)
-“That speaks to a bigger point, which is…” (when they’re in the weeds, talking about something miniscule)
-“That demonstrates how copmplex this can be, but I think what it all comes down to is…”
-“You’d have to ask them, what I can tell you is…”
-“Those things are true, but I think the real news here is…” “What I think is really important….”
-“I’m not the right person to talk about those issues, but what I can address is…”
NEVER SAY, “no Comment”

Another way to think of using messages:
-Tell them what you’re going to tell them
*Take advantage of the opening ?
-Tell Them
*Follow up with your proof points (why you’re unique and uniquely effective
-Tell them what you told them
*Take advantage of the closing questions to bookend the interview
*Never give them anything you don’t want to use

More Interview Specifics
*Control your answers
*Be repetitive, but not robotic
*Use easy to understand examples or stories to illustrate your point
*Say what you want to say and then stop talking! – Enjoy the pause
*You can call a “time-out”, it’s OK to pause

Control Your Answers
-Remember, if you don’t know, don’t speculate
-Be careful with humor and sarcasm (often lacks context)
-Always keep your cool
-Never repeat a negative

-Think of an interview as a business transaction – be polite but firm

-Let others know a reporter is coming
-Limit distractions as best you can
-With video/photos think of the backdrop

-Clothing neutral unless it helps to tell your story (don’t wear something to distract from the interview)
-Body language:
-Make eye contact
-Find a good balance between enthusiasm and calmness
-Gesture naturally: let the camera & mics find you

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