By Mary Tucker
Last week’s IAEE webinar, Practice, Polish, Prepare: Media and Message Training, was facilitated by Mindy Noonan, Principal at MLN Communications based in Austin, Texas. Noonan has worked as a trusted communications partner to leadership teams and CEOs around the world for public, private and nonprofit organizations. Her background in journalism, corporate and event crisis and litigation communications has aided clients in various diverse industries.
Practice, Polish, Prepare: Media and Message Training explores tactics for creating effective messaging for the media as well as directly communicating with members of the media. Here, IAEE Vice President of Marketing & Communications and Executive Director of Exhibitions Mean Business Nicole Bowman, MBA expands upon some of the key takeaways from the webinar.
Formulating your message can be somewhat of a mystery and perhaps even overwhelming if you are unclear as to what constitutes an effective message. Noonan stresses the differences between messaging and other types of communications, noting that effective messaging should be clear, concise and consistent.
“It is the first step in creating a communications plan and also one of the more challenging steps because it requires deep evaluation and discipline,” adds Bowman. “As communications professionals, we love to provide as much information as we can. And that opportunity will come, but this part of the process calls for focus – maybe even some restraint – because the message should be simple and straightforward to be effective.”
This doesn’t mean that the message will not be tweaked or improved as time goes by and different needs arise. This is where the dissemination of the message may lend to its finetuning. A thorough communications plan will identify the various target audiences that will be addressed and the best channels to apply for each. In this part of the process, any holes or gaps in the message or clarifications needed will make themselves known.
“Identifying target groups for messaging begins at the strategic communications level,” explains Bowman. “Knowing what communities we want to engage, and how we want to engage them throughout the year, plays a significant role in what the overall approach will be with messaging combined with other marketing channels.”
Once this foundation is set, the focus turns to creating relationships and working with the media to maintain the integrity of the message. Noonan is quick to point out that while communications teams cannot always control what is published, there is a lot that can be done to stay at the helm of what is made available for publishing.
“The relationship with media consists of an ebb and flow of communication that works best when there is a high level of trust,” notes Bowman. “As Mindy discusses in detail in her presentation, it is important to maintain a balance between providing complete and transparent information yet making sure that it stays on point with the messaging objectives.
“It is imperative to have a solid and more importantly, a trusting relationship with your media contacts. Building that trust takes times and effort, but is well worth it in the end.”
Noonan presents an hour-long, comprehensive game plan to creating and honing media messaging in Practice, Polish, Prepare: Media and Message Training that is insightful to those who are new to the process, as well as those who are experienced yet looking for innovative and fresh approaches.
Sharpen your professional skills every Thursday with IAEE’s webinar series. Presentations can also be revisited through IAEE’s on-demand webinar recordings library.