Need Help Building a Message Map for
Your Management Team’s Media Interviews?
Unless you have worked for a very large corporation, you probably have never heard of or seen a real world “Message Map.”
The purpose of a Media Map is to give an executive a one-page document with the most important message points to cover during a media interview. Even the most powerful, intelligent, and brilliant executives can sometimes falter under the intense pressure of striving to deliver a successful and informative media interview. But during a moment of lost direction or a temporary memory lapse, having a summarized document listing all of the most important talking points to glance at while talking can make a big difference in the outcome of an important media interview. It is the best way to load the reporter with accurate facts and figures as well as all of the recommended PR message points.
And while using a Media Map to deliver successful media interviews is vital to generating positive publicity, it is the underlying process of exploring, building and finalizing Message Maps, which are more important for management team’s goal of transforming a startup into a Fortune 500 company because it forces them to put down all of their ideas, strategies and subject matter knowledge into written statements on paper. This allows advertising, PR and marketing people to see what information and subject matters they have to work with, which then allows them begin to massage the raw messages into something that customers and media outlets will desire and be able to use to write news stories.
More times than not, when executives are required to attend their first media training event they are not very enthusiastic about it, especially when the portion of Message Mapping is introduced. It requires each executive to talk about the main role of their job, the features and benefits their teams deliver for the corporation as well as their specific areas of expertise and even past career positions they have held.
This process usually starts out very slow, but it always turns out to be a deliberate and enlightening exercise. A person at the front of the meeting begins with one circle in the middle of a big white board, which contains the main mission of the corporation then spokes of a wheel are drawn and smaller circles are listed for each executive. As executives speak about their expertise, more spokes are attached to the circles. Each spoke contains a single important message point.
PR firms like this exercise because it allows us to see and record what pools of knowledge and expertise each executive has that we can share with the press during media interviews. As executives begin to open up and share what skill sets they possess it always interesting to see them begin to feed off of each other’s ideas and open their minds to new ideas, strategic concepts and new directions that the company might be able to pursue that without this exercise would remain hidden, undiscovered and never explored or tapped.
It quickly becomes apparent to everyone in the room that Message Mapping is an extremely good business development tool for learning more about the rest of your management team and being able to cross-train executives to seek out and utilize these new found skills and expertise to promote the overall well-being and mission of the corporation as it moves forward.
And once everything is written down on paper, polished by PR folks and then approved by the management team, it can then be used by thousands of executives at all levels in public discussions. Message Maps and FAQ Sheets are excellent tools for making sure that all executives stay consistent with regards to what is being said to the media and how everyone in the whole company positions the company to the outside world including the sales team.
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