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Brad Phillips offers media relations training and public speaking tips, ranging from how to handle interview answers to live analysis of real-life incidents. His site is helpful, useful and authentic. He answered some questions for us to share some of his expertise with us.
Question: How did you decide to start the site?
Brad: I started the Mr. Media Training blog in 2010. I’ve always been interested in having a voice in the public square, and thought the blog could serve multiple purposes: raising my profile in the industry, reaching potential new clients, and becoming a source for the media. The first two things have happened beyond my wildest imagination; the third has only happened somewhat.
Question: And it’s your full-time job, right? How did you get to that point?
Brad: I’m glad to see that you think it looks like a full-time job! Actually, my “full-time” job is conducting customized media and presentation training workshops for companies and nonprofit organizations—the blog is a part-time endeavor. I spend about two hours each weekday writing and promoting blog posts.
Question: How do you decide what’s worth blogging about?
Brad: I used to write posts that I thought would be “popular”—but that felt like work and diminished my love of blogging. So now, a story has to capture my attention for me to decide to write about it. There are times when I feel so upset about a story in the news—or so excited and inspired by one—that I can’t not write about it. That said, I do try to be cognizant of the blog’s story mix. Each week, I ideally try to post at least one article about media training, one about public speaking, and one about a story in the news. During political election seasons, I also cover political communications from a nonpartisan perspective.
Question: I see you do videos, too. How do you decide if something should be a video or a blog post?
Brad: There are certain topics I really enjoy talking about—and if I feel like my excitement for the topic will shine through particularly well, I’ll make a video. For example, I recently posted this video, which offered a tip to help people avoid being misquoted by reporters. It’s my favorite type of tip—simple, straightforward, and easy for viewers to implement immediately.
Question: Since the news media industry is changing, how do you think media relations will evolve?
Brad: When I started my career in media relations in 2001, the field was primarily about “earned media”—in other words, pitching reporters and hoping they would agree to cover our stories. Even though that was just 13 years ago, it was before the term “social media” was even known. There was no Facebook, no Twitter, no YouTube. Yes, earned media remains important today, but less than it was a decade ago; people and organizations have far more tools to disseminate their content directly to their audiences, in their own words, while bypassing the media middlemen.
Question: Anything else you’d like to share?
Brad: Blogging is enormously time consuming but incredibly rewarding. On one hand, I spend many of my evenings writing content instead of relaxing. But on the other hand, the interactions with readers and professional friendships I’ve formed through the blog are tremendously gratifying. As an example, the readers of Mr. Media Training helped push my first book, The Media Training Bible, to number one on Amazon’s PR bestseller’s list. That absolutely floored me—and it speaks to the two-way relationship that blogging can help create between reader and writer.