How To Tell Your Client They Need Media Training

y Jodie & Jeff Heisner

We’re writing this blog because we hear the same thing over and over again from Public Relations Professionals, “I have this client that could really use your help, but I’m not sure I can tell them.”

When it comes to talking to your client about needing media training, here is the first thing PR Pros need to remember; if your clients are doing media interviews, they need media training. It isn’t something reserved for the very bad or the extremely high profile, not any more.
Get it out of your head that telling your client they need media training is an insult.

This is one of the first things you should be telling all your clients when you take them on.

If your client blows an interview and misses out on a perfect opportunity to get their message across, perhaps even ruins a relationship with a reporter. Remember, that is not only their reputation, but also yours they are tarnishing.

That being said, it can still be difficult to bring the subject up with certain clients. Here are some ways to ease it into the conversation.

“It’s not you, it’s them.” Reporting has changed dramatically in the past few years. Due to demands of the job and time constraints reporters are unable to devote the time they might like to a story. Reporters are also less experienced and now doing the job 2 or 3 people once did. Reporters can and do lose sight of their story and get completely “off-track.” Your client needs to know how to steer the interview.  They also need to know what to expect from different types of interviews. Experienced interviewees know what their message is and how to bring it back to the important issues they want to get across.

“What you’re doing is great, but we want to add some polish.” Someone may be an okay interview now, but media coaching will take them to the next level.  Once they are a polished interviewee, that’s when you get reporters coming to you to interview your expert time and time again.

“All the top experts are media trained.” For some of your clients, those who want to be that top expert, hearing that major corporations, national experts, CEO’s and politicians are media coached, might help them to understand what it takes to be that good.

Whether it is from Bottomline Media Coaching or another professional media training company, do yourself and your client a favor and get them media trained. It may be a difficult conversation to have initially, but it will only make your job easier in the long run