Media relations is an art more than it is a science…or perhaps it is as they say, one of the ‘dark arts’. People are typically afraid of the media, and those who are, should be. Being afraid of the media comes from being unprepared and not feeling in control of the situation. Media relations isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be bloody painful.
Take for example the following post. Long time Toronto CTV sports reporter Lance Brown goes after the Toronto Maple Leaf’s and their losing ways.
The sum total of this painful 3:49 clip is that the Leaf’s – from head coach through a string of players have little to say about their ineptitude on the ice. The only individual who has anything useful to add is the Leaf’s doorman who happened to be with the Toronto Police back in 1967 when the Leaf’s last held Lord Stanley’s Mug.
So why do they look so bad? No key messaging. No answers, no deflections, no sense of purpose or value. When the Head Coach, Randy Carlyle is asked by reporter Lance Brown “Did you know it would be this bad when you took the job?” His answer draws comparisons to a sinking ship: no hope, no vision, no answers. His only response is to suggest that the team was in dire straights when he took the helm and it isn’t his fault. He takes no ownership of the team nor the players. This is a really, really bad example media relations and a really good reason to demonstrate why key messaging and the ability to control an interview is so powerful.
So, media relations tips? Think about your messaging and what it may sound like (don’t be defensive). Know that of which you speak with and have your facts straight. Be real, be human, be authentic and ensure that the right person is your spokesperson, not just the most senior person. Need an example of how to control an interview? I don’t particularly enjoy the rant but Matt Damon’s ability to turn the interview back on the reporter is classic.