Media Training

Media Training – Keeping Messages Short and Strong

By Terry Preston | On September 27, 2017

In the era of 24/7 news, it’s difficult to get your message in front of your target audience–and when you do, it’s even more challenging to hold their attention. Today, it’s more important than ever before to communicate your message clearly and in as few words as possible. As the modern audience prefers “snackable,” or short and concise, messaging, communicators must condense information into the shortest and most impactful forms as possible.

More often than not, only select quotes will be pulled from an interview and see the light of publication. To ensure your brand’s message is properly translated, you must focus on communicating information in a way that is best suited for your audience. As a result, the key to effective communication is simple: be precise, be concise and back up your claims.

Present the most important information first.

When interacting with the media, it is vital that an interviewee remembers to answer the reporter’s question first. The most important part of the message should be addressed at the beginning of a response, with additional background or qualifying information following. While it is important to answer the questions as directly as possible, the interviewee should also be cognizant of the reporter’s knowledge of the company, and should provide all necessary background information and context to help clarify answers.

In this situation, it is key to think clearly and devise a response in the most beneficial fashion. In this scenario, it’s acceptable to pause to think of a response, but you should avoid pausing for too long–especially if it’s on camera or radio. However, if you need a moment to organize your thoughts, do not hesitate to seize the opportunity, as it is more important to be accurate than to misspeak.

A helpful tactic is to break down your answers into a list of key points.This will not only provide a clear roadmap of your response to ensure clarity in communication, but this approach will also improve the journalists’ understanding of your responses and will also help them to more effectively translate information for their audience.

Provide evidence to backup your claims.

In tandem with breaking down your responses to clearly communicate a message, an interviewee must remember to backup their claims. Providing specifics and data– especially third party data– helps to qualify or prove your claims regarding the overarching industry and its trends. As a result, utilizing this information can solidify your position as a trusted source of information and as a thought leader. Remember: anyone can say that their company or organization is the best, the most effective or the most successful. However, utilizing data helps to prove it.

Keep responses short and succinct.

Lastly, you must remember to keep answers short and succinct. This practice improves the clarity of your message, as it helps prevent the key focus from getting lost in the midst of other information. This approach also aids in your appearance as a prepared, informed spokesperson with a grasp on all aspects of the subject areas in discussion. This appearance is essential to establishing your position as a thought leader in the industry, and can help to provide additional interview opportunities in the future.

When interacting with the media, preparation is key. By keeping response precise, concise and backing up claims with data and other supporting information, you strengthen your ability to effectively communicate your brand or organization’s message while establishing your presence as an industry thought leader. Ensure you are prepared for every interview by practicing responses that are short, clear and supported by facts. This will help to catch and hold your audience’s attention–while significantly improving the likelihood of successfully communicating your key messaging.

Terry Preston

Terry Preston is an Assistant Account Executive with more than 3 years of experience in media relations and brand communications. Prior to his role at Affect, Terry was at Paradise Advertising, where he was responsible for executing creative campaigns for numerous travel, tourism and luxury consumer clients. He holds a BA in Public Relations & Advertising from The University of Tampa.