Archive for the ‘media training’ Category

Succeeding in the new media landscape: Five tips from a top media trainer

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

i-STONE HEADSHOT FOR PUBLICATION (2)Greg Stone began his career as a writer at Time Inc. in New York, and later worked as a TV reporter in Minneapolis, Boston, and on PBS. He estimates he has conducted at least 15,000 interviews.

In 1989 he founded Stone Communications. Since then he has been a communications and media consultant for high-level executives at Fidelity, IBM and 3M; deans at Harvard University; rocket scientists at the Smithsonian; inventors at the Worldwide Web Consortium; and numerous political leaders.

In a recent interview he offered the following advice for reaching today’s overextended editor:

1. Offer a package deal: Some daily reporters are expected to produce five or six stories a day. So make their job easy by providing and thinking of everything, including good photos and or videos, quotes, white papers, a ready-to-go spokesperson, and a solid story outline.
2. Tell a useful story: Your story should have inherent merit and provide information that people need or want to know. The best stories have three characters: Heroes, Villains and Victims. For example, the villain for a healthcare client would be disease, suffering or death  The victim(s) would be the patients and their families.  Finally, the hero would be efficient, effective and compassionate care.
3. Don’t be selfish: As a reporter, Greg would find only one out of 50 press releases useful and it usually came from a small handful of the same pr pros. Today, the odds are much worse, so take care to tell a story with wider social implications. Or connect your story to a current trend. If you focus solely on selling your client’s product or service you won’t have much luck.
4. Take away the terror: With increasing workloads, reporters are terrified of making mistakes. Be prepared with sources and statistics and make sure you know your own story inside and out. The good news is it’s easier to get a correction with online stories but make sure the error is not your fault.
5. “Brevity is the sole of wit” William Shakespeare, Hamlet: As a media trainer, Greg advises his client that every answer should be two minutes or shorter. Being concise not only shows respect for reporters’ deadlines, it also forces the communicator to tell his or her story with more impact. The same is true for an email or voice mail pitch.

You can reach Greg at: or @stoneidea

12 Tips for a Successful Media Interview

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Scoring a media interview is exciting, but, for many, also frightening.  Follow the tips below to eliminate or at least reduce the dread and possibly even enjoy the experience. The first five basic tips, can also be found in PRSA’s ComPRhension .

  1. Set an agenda: Determine who you want to talk to and what you want to say.  And consider what your dream headline and quote would be.
  2. Develop three key messages: These messages should describe, differentiate and tout benefits.
  3. Prove your point: Offer supporting evidence in the form of expert statements, statistics, studies anecdotal stories, etc.
  4. Develop a detailed Q&A. Try to consider every imaginable question that could be asked – good and bad.  Also take into consideration, any current events that could be linked to the story.
  5. Go out with a strong closing statement that underscores the benefits.
  6. Tell the truth and tell it fast.  If it’s bad don’t expand but never lie.
  7. Work on using sound bites.  Offer shocking, contrary to conventional wisdom pearls.  Be funny and paint a picture.
  8. Never say the words “No comment .” Sometimes it’s just semantics but that phrase is very often interpreted as an admission of guilt.  Instead apologize that it’s confidential or promise to offer more when you have all the facts.
  9. Never ask a reporter for coverage.  They consider themselves objective journalists and won’t appreciate the request.  Go a step further after the fact too and instead of thanking them for coverage thank them for their interest.  They reported on your company or product because it was newsworthy not to do you a favor.
  10. Also think “Why should they care?” and craft the message accordingly.
  11. Be persuasive and not just informative.
  12. Tell a story about a customer or  your own experience. Not only is it more interesting but it offers another form of personal credibility.

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