Sometimes you get to do work you really, really love. And that’s the experience we had recently when we worked with AgriFutures to deliver media training sessions for the state finalists in their Rural Women’s Award program. This is an awards program that really gets it right – not only is it well run, the organisers are genuinely committed to supporting rural and regional women to do great things that will deliver back to their own communities and beyond.
What we did
We had a fantastic time travelling from state to state to spend half a day with the finalist groups, helping them to understand what the Australian media landscape looks like, what makes good news fodder and most importantly, why their story is worth telling.
Everyone had a chance to refine their messages, learn about the value of proof points, and practice some interviews with constructive and non-threatening feedback.
There was some real magic made in those training rooms and in our follow up online sessions!
Here are a few of the things we talked about and some of the most valuable insights the women took away:
- The interview is the scariest part of engaging with media, but it’s not the part where the real work is done. And actually, it doesn’t need to be very scary at all because most journalists are genuinely interested in your story. You wouldn’t have been offered an interview at all if they weren’t!
- Not all media coverage will support your goals. You need to know what you want and need in your business – are you trying to raise awareness about a cause? Attract sponsorship or investment? Get people to sign up to your program?
- Building relationships with journalists is key, and simple gestures like a thank you email, tagging them in social or passing on a story idea are all great ways to create connection.
- Just taking the time to sit down with a pen and paper and challenge yourself to really think about what you’re doing and why, is a valuable exercise – especially if you’re in a roomful of other businesspeople who are generous with their time and feedback.
The value of training your awards finalists
The program we delivered was incredibly well received by participants, who left with a good understanding of what media in this country looks like, how to make good choices around media engagement, and what to focus on from their own amazing stories.
Programs like this are good for the businesses that run awards programs, too. Why?
- Helping your finalists develop new and valuable skills shows that you really want them to succeed and gives them tools they can use forever. Most people are a bit nervous about media. Programs like this are invariably gratefully received.
- You help create better storytellers, who in turn are more likely to deliver quality coverage of your program
- It’s an opportunity to train people about the messages that are important to your business, and help mitigate risk, before sending people out into the wild