Message development and testing


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


All our tutors sign non-disclosure agreements.


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


Craft messages that really hit home with your targeted audiences.


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.

What will I learn from this training?

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.

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


Message testing

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.


Why should I test my messages?

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


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.


Where does the training take place?

Our message development and testing sessions are flexible – you choose where we host them.

Many people like the training to take place at our training studios in Reading, particularly if they want to work on how their spokespeople deliver the message in radio and television interviews.

We have access to other studios across the country where we can also hold the training.

Alternatively, we can come to your offices or deliver the training at any hired space.

We can also hold the training remotely, through videoconferencing software, including Zoom and Teams.

This will enable you to access all the same training you would receive in a classroom without needing to leave your home or office.

It is an ideal option if the people you want to train work in different parts of the country or abroad. And it enables our clients to continue their learning and testing when lockdown restrictions are in place.


Do we need to do media training before message development?

No matter how good your message is, you will need people who can tell it well.

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.


What happens next?

If you need help with your messaging and like the sound of our message development and testing, get in touch.

Our account managers will answer any questions you may have, take you through all our training options in more detail, help identify the best journalist tutors for your training, and start to build your course.

Training your way


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

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Our blended courses combine all the convenience of online learning with the invaluable experience of having your knowledge put to the test by one of our expert tutors.

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We know some people prefer the ease and convenience of online training. That’s why we have created a range of courses that are available whenever and wherever you need them.

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Bespoke, face-to face. Classroom/Studio

Our in-person training can be delivered in our studios and classrooms, in the offices of our clients, hired rooms or office spaces anywhere in the world.

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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.


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.

Clare Catford

Clare is a journalist and broadcaster with a strong and respected consumer background who has spent over 20 years working with the BBC and other networks.

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.