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Media training: Malcolm Turnbull unsuccessfully tries to dodge questions about Bronwyn Bishop

malcolm turnbullOur Federal Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull is an experienced media operator having been interviewed by journalists hundreds of times.  Listen to his interview this morning with Michael Brissenden from ABC Radio’s AM program.  Mr Turnbull attempts to take control of the interview and dodge questions about the resignation of Bronwyn Bishop – it’s a verbal tug of war to begin with but in the end Michael Brissenden wins the battle!  Note that as soon as Mr Turnbull breaks and provides commentary on Ms Bishop there are several more questions about Ms Bishop and entitlements to come.

Malcolm Turnbull vs Michael Brissenden

Media training: Being prepared for an online crisis

As mentioned before in our blogs, social media should work hand in hand with your mainstream media strategy.  So when you prepare your media crisis management plan, make sure it includes social media channels.  Organisations that are prepared with a proper plan can come out of crisis situation without damaging or losing its valued reputation.

Here are a few tips to get everyone prepared:

1. Who does what 

It is important that roles and responsibilities are assigned before a crisis hits so information can be shared appropriately. Establishing rules ensures your team won’t do or say something damaging.  Remember to include rules around the use of social media.  All staff, from the Execs right through to junior and casual staff should be across the rules of social media engagement especially when something goes wrong.

2. Response procedure

Although every situation is different, being prepared with potential responses and guidelines will allow you and your team to respond as quickly as possible. This is essential in the event of a crisis situation where responses must be given immediately through social media channels.

3. Identify potential scenarios

Identifying the potential risks your organisation may face will help the team understand the typical type of crisis that might hit. Practicing crisis scenarios will test your team members and make sure they know what to do and how to handle a situation that is thrown their way.

4. Keep it up-to-date

Review your plan regularly, don’t just set it and forget it. Make sure to check in and evaluate the plan on an ongoing basis, and update it as need be. Put a reminder in your diary.

Think of your crisis management plan as an insurance policy.  Hopefully you won’t ever need to use it, but boy will you be grateful you have one if a crisis hits your business.

Media Training: Surviving a tough press conference

Today, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) addressed the media about its role in the Bali Nine arrests. Although press conferences are becoming less common, there are certain occasions when they are necessary.  Times when your organisation truly has news to present, to rebut or to explain. In the case of the AFP, the Commissioner Andrew Colvin held the conference to defend its role and address incorrect statements made of police officers involved in the case.
If the subject is controversial, like accusations the AFP has endured over the ten-year period of the Bali Nine arrests, make sure you have your team of experts on-hand. Each spokesperson should be on the same page.  They should be unified in their responses.  Specific questions and answers should be prepared well in advance and if possible, role play before the event, so everyone feels confident and ready. Be sure to watch your interview back and be aware of any facial expressions or body language that could be misinterpreted.
If the pressure of holding a press conference is too much and you want to bypass traditional media completely, get your news out via social media. If your news is truly newsworthy, journalists will pick up on it. Or, you can offer an exclusive to one outlet, which almost always guarantees coverage however, you might put off other media by not giving them the option of covering your news.

Media training; why social media is now mainstream

There has been a lot of commentary about Hillary Clinton’s official announcement to run for President of the United States of America in 2016. Hillary chose to release an online video, which went viral with an accompanying tweet, to let the world know her plans for the 2016 Presidential Campaign.
No longer reliant on journalists, politicians are increasingly taking control of their own news via social media channels.   President Obama led the way in 2007 when he capitalised on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to launch his political agenda for his place in the White House. While previous Presidential campaigns have used the internet, none had taken full advantage of social networking platforms quite like Obama and his team.
Fast forward eight years and social media is no longer an extra or ”add-on” media outlet.  Social media is not only being used in a social way, but is used in ‘breaking news’; fast, realtime, up to the second, news.   So why are so many organisations still  reluctant to embark on and embrace social media as a powerful tool armed alongside its counterparts such as radio, TV and print media? Social media is no longer the new kid on the block or a fad but another effective and transparent way to engage with your audience. A social media strategy is just as vital to your business as your media and communication strategy.
What do you think of her video?

Media training: always assume the mic is on!

If there’s a mic anywhere near you always assume its on!  Watch what you say both before, during and after the interview or press conference.   Fortunately for this sportsman his slip up was embarrassing (for him) and endearing (for his audience).  No damage done!

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/national-international/Nigel-Hayes-Wisconsin-Badgers-NCAA-March-Madness-297703831.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_NYBrand

Media manners

When Charlotte, from this year’s reality show The Block, appeared on The Today Show this morning, I don’t think she was expecting the headline to be about swearing on live Television.

Increasingly we are seeing a lot more tolerance from the Producers of reality shows regarding swearing.
Even if you’re a habitual “swearer” the choice of language you use, especially on G rated television, can impact your credibility. Would you hire someone if they swore in an job interview? Same goes for television.
So how do you avoid the gaff of swearing? Practice your key messages, focus on why you’re doing the interview and lastly, avoid getting too conversational and falling into the trap of lazy communication by throwing in a swear word. Your interview will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, as Charlotte now knows!

Media Training: Writing a blog

Writing a blog? Here are some tips to get you started

The first thing to do is to think about your audience. What do they want to read about? Are they interested in learning new things, discussing particular topics, adding their two cents? They sure do.

Below are a few of my tips for creating and managing a blog.

Integrate with your website – from an SEO point of view, your blog should integrate with your existing content. The topic and themes of your blog should relate to the purpose of your website. That’s why your audience is on your website, now it’s time to give them more, a view, an opinion, a platform to interact.

Engage with your audience – your blog should be engaging.  Every post should have a clear angle, opinion or view. Remember to keep focused, your readers will value what you have to say if you stay on topic. Ask them to add their comments on various articles and encourage interaction wherever possible. Ask for feedback, respond to people’s contributions, build a community of followers. Readers love to interact, so make sure you’re friendly and welcoming.

Make it easy to read – research suggests that people view and scan web pages rather than read every last word on the page. This means short paragraphs, proper use of headings, subheadings, lists, bolds and italics, and generally anything that makes your content appear less intimidating to read. So keep your articles easy, quick reads. Provide lists wherever possible and break up the text. From an SEO point of view, you want to provide at least 250 words of copy.

Create punchy titles – when thinking about things to blog about, write articles that have punchy titles, ones that people search for through search engines and titles that are appealing and catchy. You want to draw people in and inspire their curiosity. Have some fun with alliteration, it can have a subtle but strong impact on your reader.

Keep them coming – try and keep your blog updated with at least two articles a week. Ideally, you need to be blogging every single day, especially if SEO is one of your key priorities. Otherwise, just try and keep things going. (We know how hard this is so just do what you can!)

words-1Images, images and more images – make sure you choose a visually appealing and relevant image for your post. As social networks treat content with images more prominently, visuals are now more responsible than ever for the success of your blog content in social media.


Edit/proofread your post, and fix your formatting
the editing process is an important part of blogging. Ask a grammar-conscious team member to copyedit and proofread your post.  In a properly formatted and visually appealing blog post, you’ll notice that headers and sub-headers are used to break up large blocks of text, and those headers are styled consistently. The style stays consistent from post to post. Maintaining this consistency makes your content (and your brand) look more professional.

Call to action – as with media training techniques, it is essential you get your call to action in. At the end of every blog post, you should have a call to action that indicates what you want the reader to do next – subscribe to your blog, register for a webinar or event, read a related article.

So now you’re ready to go – get blogging!  OR contact us at Mediafriendly to help you with your next blog!

Kate.Kate McKay

Media Training Case Study

Peter Greste

This week we saw Al Jazeera journalist, Mr Peter Greste walk free from a seven-year jail sentence in Egypt. Mr Greste was found guilty based on evidence that he had in his possession, namely video footage, supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood but his lawyers have said there was absolutely no substance to the allegations.

During his 400 days in prison, he maintained his innocence and was able to manage his expectations well throughout the process with the support of his family. It was during his press conference in Brisbane we all witnessed that love and support as his family sat by him while he delivered his sincere and very poignant address to his fellow members of the media.

Without a doubt, Mr Greste nailed the press conference. He began by genuinely thanking his family, this was heartfelt and meaningful and certainly came across on camera. Mr Greste tells a story, it is vivid and personal. His experience draws you in – this is a great technique to use when dealing with the media. He also names the campaign his family, along with the media, embarked on in order to release him – Journalism is not a crime #FreeAJstaff. He links the campaign to his social media sites – a clever call to action. What are your thoughts on his press conference?

Peter Greste

Media training: How to structure a press release that will stand out from the rest

We often hear from clients about their brilliant, show-stopping press releases yet they are baffled when they get no bites from busy journalists. Try these helpful hints when structuring your next press release.

  1. Know what angle you are going to take
    Make sure in your pre-writing thinking you consider the angle of the story. Is the news interesting? Will anyone outside of your organisation care? Make sure you keep to the facts; what does your product, service or event have to offer readers.
  2. Know what outcome you want
    Create interest in the headline and be direct. Make sure your release has a purpose. Keep in mind that your goal is to make journalists want to pick up the phone or send an email to find out more.
  3. Make sure nothing is missing
    Is your news timely? Or has it passed its use-by-date? With online news sites giving readers up-to-the-minute news updates your release needs to be factual and informative. Make sure you don’t leave out useful information making your release newsworthy.
  4. Include a quote
    Keep in mind the purpose of a press release – you’ve got news to share and a strong, descriptive quote will capture the attention of journalists. A quote also provides the journalist with name of your spokesperson and who they could potentially interview.

Lastly, make sure you do more than just email your press release to media contacts. Use your website to promote your news, preferably with a link on your home page. Not only are you adding fresh content to your site, search engines will love it.