16 February 2018 Media Relations: Train or be Damned

Justin Armsden, ex Bureau Chief of A Current Affair and Icon Agency's new Head of Media, explains why honing your media skills is one of the most important investments for any organisation.

Ever considered media training but decided you could wrangle the media on your own? It might be time to think again.

The media is a large beast and no doubt can be scary for some. It can bite hard and yet be such a powerful warm and fuzzy friend. It's ancient in its form and comes with many tentacles, more so than ever. So, especially in the modern era it's crucial for individuals and organisations to gain as much understanding as possible of the media's mindset.

You never know when the media will come knocking or when you will be get the opportunity to showcase your own or your organisation's capabilities through the media. It is vital for all businesses - big or small - to understand how the media works in today's 24/7 news cycle. And unless you have worked inside a newsroom or run your own blog, chances are there's a lot to learn. 

Journalists are a sceptical lot - it's the very definition of the job to question everything and trust no one. One slip in front of the media and your campaign, your story and your message can turn sour very quickly. But get it right and you will feel a powerful force on your side.

It's as black and white as that. That's why preparation is absolutely vital. And that means turning to the experts for key insights and education. Simple tips like how not to alienate a journo, when to pitch a story idea, how to handle aggressive questions or how to manage a potential media crisis, can be the difference between a positive or a negative news story. 

So, a few hours spent honing your media skills is arguably one of the most important investments for any organisation serious about leveraging earned media (PR and media relations) to build their brand, sales and customer base. After all, politicians employ a throng of fulltime media advisers whose primary purpose is to use the media to their advantage.

While you may not have a bevy of media advisers in your business, Icon offers the next best thing. With decades of experience, our media trainers include former newspaper editors, television anchors, radio journalists and writers. Recognising that media today is multi-channel, our team also includes social and digital media experts. 

Meet our Head of Media, Justin Armsden 

Justin Armsden has travelled the international media landscape for nearly 30 years. From an award-winning print reporter, to anchor for CNN International in London to the Victorian State Bureau Chief at A Current Affair - Justin has been at the forefront of media his entire career. So, trust him, he knows. Alongside Icon Agency's MD, Joanne Painter, Justin facilitates media training programs across Australia, helping businesses prepare for whatever the media might throw at them. 

Learn more about Icon Agency's media training services.
Contact [email protected] to talk through your requirements.