Source: blog by Paulsen

Nearly every agriculture commodity group offers its farmers and livestock producers an opportunity to participate in media training. The session is usually positioned as a resource so you can more effectively “share your agriculture story” with consumers.

As a farmer, what should you expect from your media training?

I’m going to pull back the curtain and give you a public relations sneak peek as a way to urge you to say yes when invited. (And, if you’re an agricultural marketer, commodity group PR leader or in charge of telling your farm organization’s story, make sure the training you plan includes these key takeaways.)

Why Is Media Training Important?

First, it is important to understand that public relations is not advertising. When you pay for an advertisement, commercial or billboard, you completely control the message. With public relations, you are using a third party as the medium to tell your message.

Media training equips you, as a farmer, with the skills and knowledge you need to effectively communicate with the media. Remember, they are the messenger carrying your story to consumers or others you are trying to reach.

When your message comes from a third party, such as a reporter, it is often more believable to the audience compared to self-promotion through advertising or social media posts. A story in a newspaper, magazine or on the radio provides proof that backs up the claims made in your advertising, making all of your messages more credible and trustworthy.

Lack Of Control Often Creates Anxiety

When your farm or ranch’s reputation is on the line, it can be hard to put your trust in a reporter to tell your story the way you want. This lack of control over the final message can be daunting, but with proper media training, you can learn how to communicate your operation’s message effectively.

There are also no guarantees when working with members of the press. Farmers are often timid about talking with reporters because not all PR efforts yield the desired results. Sometimes, farmers feel their words are taken out of context or used incorrectly. Media training creates focus in your messages and helps you remain calm and in control in even the toughest interview situations.

What Do Reporters Want?

In an interview, you are working to explain what you do on your farm and why you do it. Before visiting with a reporter, put yourself in their shoes. What do reporters want?

Effective media training showcases how to make a reporter’s job easier and increase your likelihood of a favorable outcome. Here are some best practices:

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