Preparation is a Key Strategy for Successful Media Segments
by Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FA
At a recent gathering of retail dietitians, Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE and communications expert shared her insights on how to increase your effectiveness and build your brand with media. According to Dobbins, ingredients to increase your visibility in the media include "excellent content, exceeding media expectations, expert communication skills, collaboration and cross promotion."
During her presentation, Dobbins made it clear that preparation is a foundation to doing media well. Prior to media interviews or segments, she recommends taking time to run through a quick worksheet that includes:
- The overall theme of the media segment. Whether defined by you or the media outline, list the topic to be discussed.
- Three main talking points. Yes, just three. Dobbins' analogy is to "take your ocean of information and whittle it down to a glass of water." These main talking points must be clear, concise, and compelling, and at the same time reflect your style and personality.
- Compelling statistics. What statistic is relevant to the topic and at the same time catchy and memorable?
- Credibility. The fact that you are a registered dietitian brings credibility, but consider how else you contribute credibility. For example, if your segment is about getting kids to eat more vegetables, the fact that you are a mom lends credibility with the audience. If you are a vegan or vegetarian and talking about meatless meals, your audience will connect with you. Recommendations from federal policies such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans also lend credibility to your three main topics.
- Tell a story or share a personal experience. If your segment will address how to add fruits and vegetables to commonly eaten foods like sandwiches, share your favorite sandwich as an example.
- Make it memorable. One-liners, alliteration, rhymes and similar language uses can help your audience remember your key messages.
- Provide actionable tips. Your media segment should always close with an inspirational call to action. In the timing of your live media segment, Dobbins indicates "it's important to spend less time on the problem and more time on the solution."
Running through this process and actually documenting this information will ensure you are well prepared for the interview. Even if you get a media request with a short timeline, Dobbins recommends you run through this list, even if it your head.