This is the third in a series of posts on media training. The first post covered why media training is necessary. The second covered who in your organization should be trained. This post will concentrate on the most important aspect of media training: developing key messages for your organization.
The first key message you should develop is a master narrative. This is your "elevator speech;" the three sentences that define your company and what it does. It is sometimes tough to boil this down into a short statement, but sometimes you only have a very short time to impart this important information. A reporter will often ask a very generic question, such as, "tell me about your company," to start off an interview. Sometimes it's just as much for their own information as for the interview.
After your master narrative is solidified, the next step is developing three memorable key messages. These will be the cornerstone of your media relations efforts. The first key message should address the quality of the products or service you offer. Here's an example:
"PR Princess tiaras are made of the finest quality rhinestones and are handcrafted by artisans dedicated to their craft."
The second key message should delve a little further into the workings of the company itself. What is the central passion that inspires or drives the company's owner or its employees? Here is an example:
"PR Princess is dedicated to preserving the environment by using only recycled packaging."
The third key message should be about your customers: "PR Princess tiaras are preferred by princesses in the United States and our company has more repeat customers than our competition."
Of course, not all of these messages will apply in every situation. That is why you need to develop message categories based on likely interview subjects. There is a great technique for doing this. Sit down and think of the top five things that are likely to affect your business this year. Then write a key message that addresses each situation.
After you have your key messages written, go back and write at least two supporting points for each. For example:
Key Message: "PR Princess tiaras are made of the finest quality rhinestones and are handcrafted by artisans dedicated to their craft."
Supporting Point # 1: PR Princess tiaras last three times as long as our competitor's tiaras.
Supporting Point # 2: Our associates average 15 years with the company and have a combined 150 years experience in making tiaras.
One very important point about supporting points: Use numbers, use facts and use third-party endorsements.
Now that you have your key messages, media training can commence. Please come back in a few days and I'll address the actual media training process and what to expect.