Monday, June 6, 2011

Seven Things a Media Spokesperson Should Be and the Media Are Hungry For Pictures

After a brief break, I thought I'd return with one of my favorite media experts, Bob Crawshaw, of Mainstreet Marketing Australia.  And it's not just one post but two that I thought went well together.  If you are choosing a media spokesperson you need to give thought to how that person  "presents."  And every organization should plan how to present their story in pictures, video and graphics.  I think Bob's bottom line advice is plan and prepare.  Most recently Bob has begun a blog talk radio show Traffic on Maine StreetTune in when you get a chance!  Bunnie


Bob Crawshaw, Mainstreet Marketing


Seven Things a Media Spokesperson Should Be


A key part in setting up a media relations program is selecting a spokesperson(s) to be the public face of your organisation when the media calls.  This is a very important job and most agencies, businesses or not for profits identify the CEO, Chairperson or person responsible for communications to fill this role.

Irrespective of the choice, your spokesperson(s) should:
  • Know the topic you are presenting to the media.
  • Be able to speak with authority about what your organization does and answer general as well as specific questions.
  • Be well-groomed and dress suitably.
  • Uses plain language and speak clearly and simply.
  • Be continually contactable by mobile or cell phone.
  • Be reasonably flexible about when and where to be interviewed.
  • Be available by phone or email for any follow-up questions after the interview.
 Journalists do not expect not for profits or smaller businesses to have well trained media spokespersons, but they do expect them to be represent your organization, provide information and be able to tell a good story.   

Training in media interview skills is not really necessary unless your issue is controversial, you plan to talk to the media often or your spokespersons are not comfortable performing this important job.  If so consider investing in professional media training for your spokespersons because good media coverage is so important to the future health of your organisation.  

The Media Are Hungry for Pictures

 A picture is worth a thousand words

Today our lives are so busy and time poor we rely on images as short cuts to help us process information and make decisions.

Media organisations have a constant appetite for images for their screens, on-line pages and portals.  Even radio station websites cry out for pictures.  That means a not for profit, business or agency that can offer compelling video or digital imagery to communicate its cause increases the likelihood of getting its story told.

Think about the imagery associated with your story before even approaching journalists  You can supply your own photos and video to the media. This can work well with local papers and other small outlets with limited staff, however it rarely satisfies larger media organizations that need broadcast or print quality imagery.  The best approach with them is to set up deliberate opportunities at your event for their news photographers and TV crews to get good pictures.

Good imagery - whether video or photographs – graphically and emotionally depicts what your organisation does.  It might show a client using a service, staff helping someone or some picture-worthy aspect of your operation.  The more emotion an image sends, the more likely the media will use it and the more likely they will report your story.   

Imagery is so important you need to think through about what you can provide and then how you could describe your imagery over the phone to a TV producer or reporter. If you plan to send imagery to a local outlet regularly it is certainly a good investment in time and money to get a commercial photographer to help you or build up your own in-house skills.


  1. When we communicate we claim a status for ourselves and confer a status to the listener. When we "do it on the cheap" we send an irrefutable message that is often the very opposite of what we might want to communicate. It is sad that so many decision-makers fail to see this and present mediocre representations of themselves not even knowing how damaging that ultimately becomes.

  2. Fantastic blog! I'm so glad to find your page.I really appreciated the concept that you have posted here. Thanks for sharing !

  3. I think you hit on a lot of great points here. I work in video production in Providence RI, and we recently completed a great project with one of our clients, Hide & Seek Media, a wonderful digital marketing company. We worked very closely with their team to capture a video that covered the media and how it can be leveraged to amplify your brand. Great post!