Are you getting your messages across effectively when speaking to the media? Or worrying about saying the wrong thing? Do you know how to engage journalists to ensure they come back for more?

In our on-demand webinar ‘Media Training 101’ webinar, we explore key principles of being a spokesperson and communicating with the media. We cover:

  • What journalists are thinking when they interview you
  • How to prepare for interviews
  • How to get your message across
  • Using presentations
  • What to do when things go wrong

Register to view our webinar on demand by clicking here, and why not get in touch to let us know if our insights helped you.

Napier Webinar: ‘Media Training 101’ Transcript

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Hannah Wehrly

Mike: Hi, everyone, welcome to our latest webinar. We’ve just been messing about with some of the technology behind this because we’re doing something different today, I’m actually joined by Hannah Hannah Worley is our business development and marketing leader. So she runs the theme there. And she’s not someone who’s normally a media spokesperson. So I thought it’d be really useful to have Hannah on to chime in and come in with some questions, that maybe someone who’s perhaps not so familiar with being a spokesperson. Thank you so much.

Hannah: No problem, Mike. Hi, everyone, I’m really excited to be here today. And as you mentioned, you know, I’m not a expert or specialist in PR, or media. So I’m looking forward to learning a lot.

Mike: Fantastic. And I’m looking forward to your questions, too. Okay, so we’re going to kick off, we’re going to run some media training here. It really is sort of a very brief overview of some of the key points that people need to understand immediate training. I’m very aware of the time I know that, you know, we try and keep this to about 30 minutes as a webinar. So we’re trying to do that I’ve only got about 175 slides to get through. But you know, basically, what I’m saying is, this is a very short overview. Actually, when we run media training with clients, we’ll do much longer presentation about the principles. And obviously, we’ll also do some interactive sessions where people can actually get to practice what we’re teaching as well.

So this is really just a sampler. But hopefully, you know, if you’re either gonna give training, to people who’ve got to be spokespeople, or you’re a spokesperson or new to it, this will actually give you an introduction of some of the key things to bear in mind. Obviously, this isn’t general media training, this is specific to people who are in the b2b technology sector. So the areas we work in, so typically talking to engineering trade publications, we’ll talk a little bit about more general publications. But actually, you know, it’s really focused on this kind of editors and journalists, you’ll be talking to as a b2b spokesperson. So that’s just a bit of background. Hope you’re ready to go, Hannah, please chime in with any questions as you have them. And I’ll kick off and start going through the slides.

So, I mean, very simply, you know, why are we doing this? Well, you know, I actually really like this, quote, public relations is the art of arranging the facts. So people will like you, trust you, believe you and care about what you’re saying. But good public relations is making it as easy as possible for journalists to write stories that they want to cover. So you know, clearly what you want to do is build this relationship with your audiences. But actually, you know, as part of that, you want to make it easy for journalists to write stories. And one of the ways to make it easy is by talking to the journalists or having interviews. So what are we going to try and achieve in this webinar. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to talk a little bit about what journalists want, talk about preparation, talk about controlling the interview, we’ll talk quite a bit about messaging and how to get your message across how to keep the interview on track. And in particular, how to keep the journalist on your side. And lastly, you know what to do when you finish to make sure that the media so your journalist wants to come back for, you know, another discussion or another interview, because they find you valuable helpful, and you’re helping them actually write the stories that you want them to write.

Hannah: So Mike, I actually have a question right off the bat. So I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really interested. But if I do an interview with journalists, will that guarantee me coverage?

Mike: Oh, that’s a great question. And something everyone should ask. The answer is no. If you want to guarantee something, you’ve got to pay for advertising in a publication. journalists don’t have to cover you there is no requirement for that. Clearly, there is occasionally some sort of agreement with journalists, when, you know, with some publications, you pay for advertising that guarantees you some interviews that will guarantee you coverage, but 99% of the time, no, there’s no guarantee. Now, gotta remember, journalists are very busy, they’re very time pressured. They’re being asked to do more and more as publications fill the squeeze financially.

So there’s a really good chance they’re going to cover you, they’re not going to waste their time, if they don’t feel they’re gonna get something useful. But to be honest, if you have an interview, and the journalist doesn’t find it useful, there’s no reason why they should cover you. And actually, that brings us on to the rules of the game, you know, first rule of the game, there’s no guarantee of coverage. Second rule, the journalist gets to decide what What is written, you don’t get to control this. This is editorial is based on what the journalist thinks important. Another rule, and this is really important is some journalists are very reluctant to share articles in advance, though they won’t share the article. And actually asking can be a real issue when it comes to your relationship with a journalist. So don’t feel you should go out and always asked to see the article before the editor publishes it. You know, some editors feel that that’s, you know, not only trying to influence them to write something that’s more marketing and less editorial, but it’s also a lack of trust in their ability.

And then finally, probably my least favourite role, particularly when I was a spokesperson, you know, it doesn’t, journalists can make mistakes, they do make mistakes, and you’ve got to accept that and you’ve got to be prepared to live with that. You can’t make mistakes, if you make a mistake, the editor has absolute right to use what you said. So it’s really important you get this right. So let’s have a look at you know, before we started, so we’d start off by looking at what journalists want. So let’s have a look at the role of the media and what they want. So firstly, there are different sorts of journalists. And we’ve kind of segmented this into basically five key areas. So you’ve got the mainstream news, people listening to this in the UK, that might be something like the BBC, you know, people listening to this in the US, you know, something like CNN or the New York Times, very broad, mainstream news.

They’re interested in things that impact a wide proportion of population. So they’re not going to write stories that are very niche, very focused, they have a small audience, business publications a little bit more focused. They’re typically, you know, looking at financial management, marketing kind of topics, they can be very good for getting corporate kind of coverage. But again, you’ve got to make it relevant to their entire readership, trade publications, you know, without doubt, the easiest publications, and generally for most of our clients, the vast majority of publications, they actually have interviews with, they’re covering a particular industry. And so they’re interested on developments in that industry, if you’re in that industry, you’re almost by definition, someone that they’re interested in.

And so they really care about covering you. So quite often, they’re the most common. And then there’s two other kind of categories that we’ve put in this media landscape. They’re not really classic media. The first one is bloggers and influencers, you know, and they’re very different. They’re about getting views. They’re about, you know, boosting their ego and b2b. They’re about boosting the reputation. So they’re driven by very different things. And then analysts are much more driven by technical analysis of companies and markets. And so they want to dive very deep. So again, different from your classic journalist.

So let’s go and look at what the journalist one I was, I mentioned that different journalists want different things. But most of them actually want to help you. And I think particularly when you look at trade media, journalists actually want to help you they, they recognise that it’s a somewhat synergistic relationship. You know, if they make the sector more interesting and help boost sales, then companies are going to do better, which is going to then subsequently drive their revenue and their readership. So actually, most of the journalists, you’ll talk to, if you’re a b2b spokesperson, they want to help you and they want to promote either you as a personality, the technology, you’ve got the products you’ve got, or even the industry as a whole.

So it’s going to be a positive relationship, you shouldn’t go in thinking it’s going to be adversarial. Of course, they want to, you know, validate their interests. So they’d like their ego being boosted. And they want to write things. So you know, we mentioned earlier, there’s no guarantee of copy, but actually all journalists want to write, because that’s, you know, what, basically is their job, fill those pages online. And obviously, within that now, increasingly on trade media, there’s also wants to create video. And obviously, if you’re looking at, you know, more mainstream publications, there may be video content there as well. They want to have a story that, you know, pleases their audience particularly. And I think understanding the audience and the way the journalist thinks about the audience is very important. And they can be biassed. And you know, a great example could be a journalist that is receiving a lot of advertising and their publication from one of your competitors is likely to be more positive about that competitor than about you if you’re not spending much money.

But generally speaking, none of the journalists is out to get you. They might favour somebody who they see as fundamentally paying their salary if they’re big advertisers, but they’re not out to go and get the companies that are not they’re actually, you know, actually quite willing to help you grow and support you with the intention that ultimately you get to the point where you want to advertise as well. So don’t feel that just because you don’t advertise or that the journalist has a favourite. It’s not worth talking to the journalists. It always is. And as I’m mentioned before analysts and influencers, they’re different. And we’re not going to talk about those in any detail.

Hannah: So, Mike, before you move on, I do have a question you obviously spoke about, you know that journalists are not out to get us. I wouldn’t say they are, you know, wouldn’t think that negatively. But what happens if journalists are creating problems? What do you do, then?

Mike: I love that question. I’ve actually got a slide on that coming up. So that’s great. I think that’s really important to remember that journalists can get upset. You know, one of the ways you can do that is by refusing to engage with the journalists, if you just say, no comment to questions, that’s one way to get a journalist to be hostile. And so we do have a little slide on dealing with hostility. We don’t see it very often. And particularly in the trade media, it’s not of the interest of either side to make it a hostile interview. If the journalist is asking questions that you find difficult to answer, it’s probably around, you know, either wanting to understand something they don’t understand, or maybe even just wanting to show that, you know, they’ve got deep knowledge about your product or your market. So don’t feel it’s about you. It’s probably more about the journalist. However, if there is a bit of a disagreement, you know, the first thing to do is try and look at where you’re agreed.

Go back to, you know, a point where you and the journalist were together. If you feel the questions difficult, you don’t feel you can ask it, ask them to clarify it. And often, as the journalist clarifies it, they’ll move that question away from you know, what’s a difficult topic for you to talk about. But if the journey is ultimately disagrees with you, then you’ve got to have those facts, those statistics, and those examples that validate what you’re saying. So if you’re saying, for example, you have a microprocessor, and that’s the fastest microprocessor in the world, make sure you’ve got the facts to back that up. Because if a journalist questions it, you need to provide the facts. Try and avoid what if scenarios. And so if the relationship, the discussion breaks down, try to stick to facts, try not to stick to a supposition or hypotheses, and then be able to reinforce your main point. Be firm, be polite, don’t get angry. And I think the worst thing you can do is get upset with a journalist. I think it’s entirely fine to, you know, spend time with a journalist to disagree, but never get upset.

You know, the journalist obviously has an ego, some of those aren’t going to be honest, have bigger egos than others. And you want to make them feel important. You want to make them feel like you care about them. So be careful not to be confrontational, even if the journalist is. journalists do sometimes use some tactics. And again, we see this less in trade media. But it’s sometimes happens, you know, you might see journalists asking rapid fire questions one after another, not really letting you get your answers out. You might see them repeating questions. You know, maybe even you asking accusatory questions, quite often journalists will plead ignorance.

And this is a great journalist tactic, where they’ll sort of say, I’m sorry, I don’t understand what’s going on with here. I’d say it’s technology. Can you explain it to me? And they could do that as a test. They’re actually doing that to see if you really know and you can explain it. So when a journalist please ignorance, don’t think that actually they don’t know the topic. Be prepared for the fact that they really do understand. And journalists can sometimes paraphrase, and if journalists paraphrase something you’ve said, and it’s not correct, then again, feel free to re clarify what you’re saying. So gently, politely, but very firmly say, actually, what I meant was this and paraphrase in the way you want, not the way the journalist did. Journalists can obviously change direction they can try and get you to answer yes, no questions, typically tied with rapid fire questions. Or, you know, the classic thing and I think if anyone’s been in sales, they know that this is the most powerful thing to do. When you’re asking questions, just sit there in silence. Don’t feel compelled to fill a gap in silence, unless you’ve got something to say. And if you’ve got something to say, make sure it’s on message.

So lots of things to be aware of, I don’t think anything to be afraid of, because actually, there’s some best practice in terms of managing the media. And we’ll talk through some of the tactics and some of the approaches that make it easier to handle journalists. So the first thing is always in shoot. Sure you have something that’s worth writing about. I’m sorry, I can see there’s an error on the slide here. So think about it that journalists are talking to you not because you’re interesting not because your products amazing, but because they want to write a story and news nice to have something new and interesting. And so always make sure you bring journalists something new that they can talk about that’s gonna be of interest their writers. Always treat editors and journalists fairly, always follow up on commitments. If you say I’m going to find something out For the journalists, make sure you do that.

And lastly, I think, never not the competition, not from a point of view of, you know, it’s difficult to criticise the competition. But just from my point of view that it’s very difficult for the journalist to write negative copy, particularly in b2b trade media. And so they don’t want negative information, they actually want something that’s positive. So focus on the positive, don’t try and be negative about the competitors. So if you’re going to use this good practice, one of the most important things with good practice is to prepare for the interview. So you bring content that’s useful for the journalist, information that’s going to help them. And the thing we like to say to clients when we’re doing media training is, Don’t forget you’re a spokesperson, not an answer person. So as the spokesperson, as the person being interviewed, you should be driving the interview. It’s not something where you sit back and just let the journalists ask questions.

So you need an agenda. And you need a single main point, the news that what is the headline of the story you want to write, you can have two or three key messages that support that. And you can have proof points below that, that actually demonstrate that that is all correct, and gives the editor confidence that you’re not just making random claims. But it is, you know, really important about having that single main point, a bit like being a hedgehog. Hedgehogs bless them famously don’t have very many talents, but rolling up into a ball, so nobody can attack them as a major talent they have, they’re really good at it. And they focus on it. And I think the same with, you know, journalists interviews, you should focus on being really good at the communicating the single main point, because that’s what you want to get across. And that’s what you want the headline to be. Obviously, when you build your agenda, you know, make sure you think about the kinds of questions you’d like to be asked, and how you can answer them and make those answers concise. So we recommend, you know, typically three or four sentences for an answer is generally enough, a long answer is very difficult for journalists to take normally. And lastly, try not to be pretentious, the journalists probably understand your industry jargon, particularly and be in b2b trade media. But actually, keeping the language simple and clear, is much more effective in terms of getting your point across.

Hannah: So Mike, obviously, you’ve just emphasise the single main point quite a bit there. But I’m interested because does that mean that the interviews just focus on one story? So is one main point meaning one story? Can you like? Establish the difference between that for me?

Mike: And that’s a great question. And in an ideal world, absolutely, you would have one interview about one story and you do a separate interview. But another. In the real world, that’s not always possible. You know, for example, a trade show, you’ve got two big announcements, you want to cover them both with a journalist. That way, you’ve really got to focus on segmenting the interview. So making it clear that you’re doing one session on this particular product, where you’ve got one clear, new set one clear message, and then you’re doing another section that talks about a different product. And that’s a different story. You’ve got to remember that journalists are going to write a limited number of stories when they meet you. So don’t imagine that just by segmenting into five different sections, you can have five different stories, journalists are not going to do that.

And in fact, they hate that because they see that as you’re the interviewee not being able to prioritise. And they don’t feel necessarily, they’re the right people to prioritise. So you end up basically spreading yourself too thin. So, yes, you can make sure you segment the interview. But really, you know, you shouldn’t be talking about more than a couple of key stories with a journalist in one session. Love that question how that was really good. And again, you know, the classic thing is the inverted pyramid. So you know, don’t think about detail, think about your main point, make it first, make it clear, and then work down. So you start with what’s most important. And he worked down to the least important things, which are the other points, the details, the supporting facts. So, you know, think like a journalist does, because the journalist works from that top down, what’s the main point? And then how do I justify it?

Perhaps a quick note on PowerPoint presentations and things. I’m blasting you with a load of PowerPoint slides here on the webinar. You know, not all of these actually would fit perhaps a great journalist briefing. The first thing I would say, though, is that the presentation you give when you’re out selling to customers, is not the presentation you need to give to a journalist. They’re two completely different audiences with two completely different leads. So when you go to the journalist, the first thing you should do is kick off with that headline or conclusion the key point you want to make and generally speaking, shorts, presentations are better. Don’t do anything fancy effects, transitions, music.

You know, that’s important. It’s obviously, you know, like an all presentations, you don’t want to read the bullets, you actually want to go and explain what’s going on and try and talk around it. These are quite text heavy slides. And now I’m feeling a little bit embarrassed about my slides and Hannah’s taking notes, I can see about how I can improve them. You know, and then don’t don’t make mistakes do do the basics as well. So you know, one clear basic is don’t put anything into a slide presentation you don’t want the journalist to write about, that happens when you use the customer presentation. And don’t think about it. So write a separate presentation for the journalists, handouts are still useful journalists still like paper handouts, not all of them. But still find that useful. So always have some handouts available.

And also consider how you’re going to present slides. Because sometimes journalists meetings, particularly trade shows, for example, can be very informal, you could be around a coffee table or at a bar or whatever. And maybe presenting from a laptop screen is not ideal. So you know, we even see some situations where paper copies are the best way to present. So just think about the environment you’re going to be presenting in and make sure you have something suitable for that. So now we can jump to the interview, we’re finally there, we’re meeting the journalist, let’s have a look at what we need to do. And talk about a couple of key things that can help you manage and control that interview. So preparation, we’ve talked about all of this before.

So start with a conclusion, raise those key points several times, don’t be negative about competitors. And another thing I mean, we’ve seen, you know, occasionally, people say things that are a bit negative about the journalist, some journalists will not be experts in your product, or your market or your technology, they won’t actually no, very much. Don’t worry about that. They’re there to write what you give them. And in fact, the less technical journalist will quite often be a better interview for you, because you’re much more able to control that interview. And then lastly, you know, journalists are always interested in things that are broader than just your company.

So do feel free to discuss things like market trends, market trends are very important, and have a more open discussion with a journalist. When you’re dealing with questions, you know, I mean, do feel free to, you know, acknowledge your good question. And Do feel free to actually go and rephrase a bad question. So, you know, one of the great techniques is when someone asks you a question that’s difficult to answer, to actually come back and say, That’s a great question. Thank you for that, that gives you a few seconds, just to think about how you’re going to approach the answer. And if someone asks a question that you don’t like, it’s fine to go back and say, Well, I think actually what the real question is, is this and then rephrase a question that is related, but slightly different.

Hannah: Mike, what about if it’s a question you don’t want to answer at all? So I get that you have the answer the questions that you don’t know the answers to, but what if the question you want to avoid completely?

Mike: So there’s a couple of techniques for that? And it’s a really good question. It’s something that does crop up a lot. And there’s two ways. I mean, one way is to basically take it offline. And you see the last bullet, you know, it’s a great question, I’m not the best person to respond. Let me take a note and come back. And that might be if you’re not super technical, and the journalist has asked a technical question, you can get an answer from someone else. So that’s a great way to do it. And actually, you know, sometimes actually plays to the journalists ego, because they feel that, you know, they’ve been shown to be smart and ask good questions. But we actually have a slide on a technique coming up, called Bridging, which is a very well known technique. And so basically, what you try and do is you respond to the question, but you bridge to another answer.

So I’ll give you some examples of this. So somebody might ask a question. And you could say no, or yes, very briefly answer the question. But then you say, let me explain. And then you go to a new key message, and what’s important is and then go for key message, or, indeed, look, I honestly can’t talk about that. There. You know, for example, sometimes, you know, journalist might try on it might ask you about stock price, you know, where do you think the stock is gonna go? Can’t talk about that that’s obviously regulated by the SEC. But what I can say is, I’m really excited about this new product, because I think it’s very, very important for this particular market.

So using bridging is very important. And actually using flagging as well, which is similar technique, where you say, what’s important is this. So you’re trying to highlight a point within your answer. And doing these things can take the focus away from what’s actually in the question to what you want to say. So, some good examples here is, you know, with bridging phrases, you can look at things like the real issue is or what we’re talking about. All these kinds of phrases work really well. And it lets you move from what the journalist asked to what you want to say. And that’s a very key part of it. Interview management is being able to do that. Another key part of interview management is making sure you don’t make big mistakes. And one of the biggest mistakes is talking about confidential information. And the simple, simple answer that is, just don’t talk about it. If it’s confidential, it’s confidential. Most trade journalists will respect off the record or background, but you cannot guarantee it, and they will always know what you’ve said. So I would absolutely avoid discussing anything off the record.

Or as background, I would always assume anything you say, Can and possibly will be printed. And also, I think, you know, we’ve mentioned this very briefly before, but no comment is not a great answer. Because no comment sounds like you’re basically been arrested. You’re under suspicion for murder, you’re completely guilty. There’s nothing you can say. So therefore, you’re just going to say no comment. Your worst assumptions are true, do not say no comment. So be really careful about this. Feel free to highlight reasons why you can’t talk. So you know, legal or competitive or ethical reasons as to why you can’t talk about something. So trying to explain why you can’t. And particularly with finally, financial information, please do feel that you can say, I can’t discuss that that’s something I’m not able to discuss. And journalists will understand that. They’ll ask the question, you can’t blame them for trying. But you need to feel confident to be able to say no.

So we’re moving towards the end of the presentation here. We do have a few do’s and don’ts. I’m not going to go through these individually, they will be in the slide deck that will be sent to you. But a couple of suggestions as to how to make interviews better, both were things you should do, like being prepared, obviously, and things you shouldn’t do. So you know, don’t dwell on negatives or mistakes. Don’t be negative be positive. So that’s really the key things there. Sorry, Hannah, did you have a question?

Hannah: Yes, sir. I was gonna interrupt Mike, because you might be moving on to this. But obviously, you’ve spoken quite a bit about the interview. But what’s the process for post interview? How should we be reaching out to journalists? Should we be thanking them? How much should we be bothering them? Basically?

Mike: Yeah, great question. So we do have a couple of slides on that. And I think looking at, you know, what you should be doing, actually trying to keep contact with journalists is really important. Journalists have a name and I apologise to Americans here, but certain journalists in the UK use the phrase albatross for some American spokespeople. And the reason they do that is apparently the spokespeople they fly over, they make a lot of noise, and they leave a mess. And then they just disappear. And so don’t be an albatross, keeping contact with that journalist, build up that relationship. And so you know, if you have a good story, thank the editor. You know, if the editor writes a story, you think it’s great, it’s really positive. Just saw my quick email, really enjoyed the interview, thank you very much, don’t need anything more than that. And it says love that they feel that, you know, at least the person who’s a spokesperson has read the story. You know, if you don’t reply, they never know if you read it. Of course, you can get bad stories and dealing with bad stories can be difficult. So in general, only try and correct factual information that’s wrong. So if there are, if there is factual information, it’s almost certainly a mistake. Journalists will probably be happy that you corrected it. So just very politely say you’ve said this in the interview, actually, your numbers wrong or I wonder if you’ve cracked it to this. And most journalists were very happy to do that. Other mistakes we made as well journalists, break embargoes, you talk to somebody you say, Look, this is embargoed for another week, they publish it the next day, you’re, you know, incredibly frustrated, everybody shouting you because it needs to be confidential. However, it’s almost certainly accidental. So generally speaking, our recommendation is to forgive journalists that break embargoes, you may choose not to brief them under embargo next time around, but don’t make a big scene over it. Almost certainly, it’s accidental. If it’s opinions, you know, just remember, editors can write what they want. And basically, when the story is published, it’s very hard to change it.

So if the editors opinion is not what you wanted, I think unfortunately, gonna look to yourself. And what you’ve done in the briefing is simply not good enough to convince the journalist last, lastly, if there’s no coverage, lots of things could have caused this. Don’t go and ask the journalists why they didn’t cover the story. Putting the journalists on the spot is not going to help. The thing to do is keep trying and keep building that relationship with the journalist. So we’re going to move to some key takeaways here. You know, the first thing I’d say is, despite all these do’s and don’ts, actually, most of the journalists are there to make you look good. That’s what they want to do. So you can be a spokesperson It’s not that hard, just follow the rules. Jonas can write what they want. So it does and will go wrong from now and again. And so you know, what you need to do is prepare well follow the rules we’ve given. And in particular practice dealing with the questions that you think might come up that will be difficult to answer and practice techniques like bridging. To be able to move from a question you don’t want to answer to a question you do. So that’s really covered our whistlestop tour of how to be a media spokesperson. Hopefully, it’s been useful, Hannah, I don’t know if you’ve got any more questions.

Hannah: It’s definitely been useful. Thanks, Mike. I actually have a difficult question for you. Because, you know, I like to keep things difficult. But have you ever had an interview that went wrong? And if yes, how did you handle it?

Mike: Oh absolutely. So when I was clientside, in the early days of publication called the register, anyone in the IT sector will know that the register very early on was a little bit wild west. And their founder was somewhat willing to make things up. And in fact, he called me up and he said, I need you to tell me the roadmap for this particular product family. I said, Mike, really appreciate this. We’d love to be in the register. I can’t tell you that that’s not something we’re talking to Jonas about. And he said to me, you’ve got to understand Mike to Mike’s is very confusing. You got to understand, if you don’t tell me I need to write a story about it. So I’ll just make it up. And I said, I understand that. I can’t tell you. So you just made it up. And you know, that was a horrible situation. But what can you do? It’s how the publication worked. And in reality, did that cause long term brand damage? Not really, it was not a big deal.

Hannah: That’s good to know. Thank you. I mean, we have had a couple of questions in the chat. But I just want to get one more question in from me in first, and I have put my bizdev hat on, like, you know, I have to So how does an agency help you with the process that you’ve described in the presentation today?

Mike: I love that. I mean, agencies are great at helping people. So typically, you know, where you’ve got a PR agency, you’ve got people that spend, you know, pretty much all their time speaking to these journalists. So you’ve got great relationships, great understanding that go way beyond your company. So they may understand things about the journalist that you don’t understand, and perhaps couldn’t, as a spokesperson. So agencies are absolutely amazing at preparation, they can give you all the details about the journalist, you know, if you want to have a chat with, you know, journalists, I’m thinking some of the journalists we work with, you know, about their model railway, they can tell you about the model, railway and trust, you can get an introduction there. And I’ve genuinely had a client who was into model railways as well. And they had this most amazing discussion for about 10 or 15 minutes, about model railways, I was sat there, I had no clue what was going on. And never realised that topic was so technical. But it built an amazing relationship. So it was super powerful. So they can help you there, they can help you in the briefing.

So agencies are very good to sit there as a third party, and just be able to come in and say, well, actually, what I think you meant was this, if they feel you said something, which either should be confidential, or perhaps didn’t quite, you know, come across with the right messaging. So if you make a mistake, they’re there to catch you before you actually fall. And then lastly, agencies are great at following up, they want to maintain the relationship. So they’re really good at not only talking to the journalist, but also letting you know what the coverage was, and helping you come back and respond to that journalists. So it shouldn’t be that the agency is just there to build their relationship, the agency should be really focused to build your relationship with the journalists to. Great,

Hannah: Thank you. So if I just read you out one of the questions from the chat. So if a journalist doesn’t want to share their thought full article before release, will they give you the opportunity to review any direct quotations they plan on using in the story?

Mike: Oh, great question. I love it. And by the way, if anybody’s got any questions, feel free to put them into the chat. And we’ll try and ask them as we, we just wrap up here. So typically, if a journalist doesn’t want to share their article, they probably don’t want to share the quotes they’re using. And this is very difficult. But if you said it, you said it, and a journalist can put it into the story. And if you feel it’s taken a little bit of context, that is really a problem with, you know, how you’ve built that interview, and how you’ve built the relationship with the journalist.

So I think, you know, you have to accept that when you’re interviewing with a journalist, they can take anything you said, and you’ve got to accept that that’s something they can do. Now, we did say earlier, not all journalists will refuse to show you articles. And often, particularly when it’s a technical topic, journalists will actually come to you and say, Look, I’ve written this up. I think I understand the technical topic. I you know, I think I’ve got everything, but can you just let me know If there’s anything that needs tweaking, and so sometimes you will get the opportunity to input. But generally speaking, where the journalists just simply write it up, you won’t see it. And that will include a quote, the journalists will do their very best to make sure it’s accurate verbatim. But there’s no guarantee they won’t make mistakes. Great.

Hannah: And you’ve just answered another question, which was, what was your view on asking the journalist if you can read the complete story before publishing it? And so you’ve actually answered that in your answer. So thanks, Mike. I also want to share Don’s mention Dawn is one of our senior account managers at Napier. And she said, it’s a good idea to use predefined questions. So the client has an idea of what questions will be asked in the interview. I

Mike: Love this. Doran is one of our best media relations people she has such good relationships with with journalists, that she’s actually able to talk to the journalist before a meeting. And she’s able to then say to that journalists, I really think you should ask this, I really think she has a great example of what an agency can do. So she’s putting the questions that you want answered into the journalist mouth. And that is, you know, absolutely kind of ninja level PR. But it’s really, really good. And if you can talk to journalists and suggest some of those questions, it definitely works really well. You know, the only challenge is, in some situations, it’s quite hard to do that, for example, if you’re meeting at a trade show, that journalist is probably bashing through an interview every 30 minutes running from one booth to another, and so they may well forget. So, you know, it’s quite likely that, you know, in that situation, maybe not all those questions be answered. But I think it’s a great input from Dora. And it’s something she does, and it works really well to help get that message across from our clients.

Hannah: So I don’t see any other questions in the chat, Mike. So I think we can wrap up. It’s

Mike: Great. So you know, I know how to you’re a bit nervous about doing this live. I think you’ve done an amazing job. You are some brilliant questions. Thank you everyone for listening. I will obviously share the slides with the do’s and don’ts after the the event and if anyone’s interested in you know more detailed media training, or finding out what we do when we run a full media training course. Please do message me my emails on there. And I’d be more than happy to help out. Thank you very much for everyone for listening. I really appreciate it.