Message development and testing

Journalists

Develop, hone and test your messages with our journalist tutors.

Secure

All our tutors sign non-disclosure agreements.

Convenient

Face to face or online training to meet your needs and timescales.

Hone

Craft messages that really hit home with your targeted audiences.

Test

Test your messages before your campaign is launched.

Message Development and Testing

How effective are your messages?

Whether you have a new product you are about to launch, have made a crucial scientific discovery, or are making news for negative reasons, you only have one chance to get your message right.

But how can you be confident it will work? This is where we come in.

We know delivering the right message at the right time to the right audience is crucial.

And that the wrong message to the wrong people, or even the right message to the wrong people, goes nowhere.

Every word and subtle nuance can make a difference, whether you are talking to the media, delivering a crucial presentation, managing a crisis, writing promotional material, or speaking at a parliamentary hearing or public inquiry.

Our message development training courses have helped organisations develop their narrative, tell their story better, and deliver clear, credible and crisp messages.

We help them craft messages that resonate with the audience and deliver the right impact. This can include anything from positive external messages to managing complex internal information, such as announcing redundancies or large restructuring projects.

Our training team of working journalists are ideally placed to know what works well, regardless of whether you are trying to communicate something positive or complex, deliver some bad news or are hoping to inspire.


Depending on what you want to achieve, your course could include:

  • The secrets and science to creating media-friendly messages
  • The role of emotion in messages
  • The importance of curiosity and novelty
  • How to deliver your messages
  • The ‘illusion of truth’ and why message repetition matters
  • How trust impacts your message
  • How to support messages with human examples and personal anecdotes
  • Practising media interviews, presentations and writing exercises to help you land your messages

 

What are my training options?

Our message development and testing sessions are flexible – How that training is delivered is entirely up to you.

This is our most popular way of delivering training. We know people love the opportunity to put their skills to the test in broadcast-quality studios, whether it is at our office in Reading, or one of our studios in London or across the country.

Our face-to-face training can also be carried out at your offices or any hired room.
Here's our guide to helping you choose the right location for your face-to-face training.

Wherever it takes place, your delegates will be able to look forward to personal coaching and feedback, together with seamless playbacks of their interviews, ensuring they reach their training goals.

Our videoconferencing options allows delegates to access all the brilliant media training we provide in our classrooms and studios from anywhere in the world, without having to travel.

And it has been an invaluable option during lockdowns, allowing organisations to continue to develop their people even though they could not meet face-to-face.

It has also helped prepare spokespeople for an evolving media landscape where many broadcast, print and telephone interviews continue to happen.

The sessions are typically shorter, with more breaks and a greater focus on one-to-one coaching. But they still include everything you’ve come to expect from our face-to-face training, with practical sessions that are recorded for playback and coaching, and full-written feedback of every delegate’s performance issued after the course.

The training is delivered by current working journalists who are all kitted out with professional video, audio and lighting setups and high-speed internet. And they are supported by our in-house technical team to ensure the training isn’t interrupted by any annoying glitches.

Online training can be really effective and, because we know comms teams often like to observe our training, we’ve made sure you can dip in and out of the online training at your convenience.

Our blended option combines the best of our face-to-face training with the ease and convenience of courses available whenever and wherever you need them.

During the first part of this training, you and your delegates can attend a ‘self-taught’ online course taking you through all the theory and techniques needed to carry out brilliant media interviews.

It will take about an hour and is ready when you are – it just needs to be completed before the second part of the training.

And then delegates get to put what they have learnt to the test in a session with our journalist tutors that includes television, radio and print interviews.


What makes our message development and testing different?

It is all about the people who will deliver your training.

Our message development and testing sessions are led by our current working journalist tutors.

They know what grabs the attention of audiences and how to make messages memorable. And they craft stories every day.

We have more than 30 to choose from, most of whom you will recognise from television, radio and newspapers.

They have worked with organisations across all sectors and industries to help them refine their messages and tell better stories.

 

If you feel you already have your message in place, we can help you put it to the test before you kick off your campaign, announcement or media work.

After all, you only get one chance to make the right first impression.

Our current working journalist tutors, who work under strict non-disclosure agreements, will put it to the test before it goes out to a wider audience and see how it stands up under scrutiny.

They will look at its clarity, whether it inspires, sparks curiosity and is emotionally engaging.

Depending on what you need us to cover, we can also look at how your spokespeople deliver your message in interviews and presentations.

Message testing can be run as a separate training day or alongside a message development session. The choice is up to you.

Our expert journalists are ideally placed to look at what you are saying and how you are saying it.

We’ll help you discover:

  • What messages are working (and why)
  • How they come across to different audiences
  • How to tweak them to increase impact
  • How best to support them with relevant examples and anecdotes

So, trained spokespeople are crucial if you are going to work with the media.
But you don’t necessarily need to have media training before a message development and testing session.

Every client and course is different. Sometimes we work with press offices, internal comms teams and PR advisors to refine messaging ahead of specific campaigns and announcements. They may ask us to hold a separate session with their spokespeople once they are confident the messaging is right and their communication plan includes targeting the media.

If spokespeople have a good understanding of the media, we can build practise interviews into the training and testing.

But not all the messaging we help our clients with is for the media. If we are preparing messages for an internal audience, for example, then we may include elements of our presentations skills training in the programme.

This is up to you.

All our message development courses are bespoke. We will spend time getting to know you and your organisation, what you want to achieve and the challenges you face and need to overcome.

And then, we will build a course that leads you to craft the right message.


How do I book message development training?

If you like the sound of our training and want to join the growing list of organisations that trust us to best prepare their spokespeople for the media spotlight, have a chat with one of our account managers.

They’ll answer any questions you may have, take you through all our training options in more detail, and help you start to build your course.

The Media First team are always so helpful and accommodating. They take pride in fully understanding individual and organisational needs and make sure that the intervention they recommend and supply meets those needs. I would have no hesitation in recommending Media First.

— Scott Pawsey, Senior Learning and Development Officer at The Royal British Legion

Our Clients

We have a huge amount of experience in over 40 different sectors such as automotive, charity, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, retail, travel and many more. Here is a small selection of our clients.

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Paul Brennan

Paul has more than twenty years' experience as a reporter, producer and presenter cross regional and network newsrooms for the BBC, ITV and Five News.

Jane Deith

A familiar face on Channel 4 News and also a Radio 4 presenter. Jane has a clear understanding of what the audience wants and how to help spokespeople deliver it.

Emma Nelson

Emma's varied TV and radio career makes her particularly adept at helping big brands and niche businesses to hone, simplify and successfully deliver their messages.

Our Training Team

Our courses are delivered by current working journalists, along with PR and communications professionals - all of whom are expert and experienced trainers.

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