How Much Does Media Training Cost?

I’ve had a few people ask me just what goes on during a Media Training Seminar since I posted the article How to Survive the Media Interview. Some were nervous about the idea of practicing the techniques in front of others, of being videotaped, of hearing the sound of their own voice. Others wanted to know how much it should cost.

But first, if you are unclear on the concept and need for Media Training then take a look at this outline I posted on the main web page. As you can see there is a lot to absorb. If you think that you can get by with the media on native ability, or after reading a book, or a web page like this, then you are certain of a pretty significant media disaster. And while once upon a time you could hope that people would eventually forget how you messed up, no more. Since the advent of more and more powerful internet search engines and social media archives your stupidities will live long after you are dead.

I can guarantee you that the very first thing any journalist, good, bad, indifferent, or incompetent, will do when setting up an interview with you is to search on-line.

With few exceptions a good media trainer can give you the tools to not only survive contact with the media but also excel.

When looking for a Media Trainer you need to consider track record and experience level very closely. Read that web page again for details.

Experience and track record are worth far more than the money that the training will cost.

It will buy you and your organization protection against the kind of gaffe or behaviour that can collapse share prices, ruin reputations (yours included) and permanently hurt business and standing.

So what does it cost?

A lot, and a little. Your choice. The market is spread all over the place with some outfits charging rates equal to the cost of running a Boeing 737 and others so desperate for work, so poor in reputation and expertise, that they will give you a quote that would shame an illegal migrant worker.

The only way that you can make your decision on hiring a Media Trainer is through personal recommendation, gut feeling, and blind luck.

But let’s say that you have been given the name of someone highly recommended by your peers, you like what you hear after talking with them, and it seems like a good idea. What do you get for your money and how much money are we talking?

How wet is the ocean? That’s about as useful a question on the internet as asking how much media training costs. It’s just not done by my peers apparently.

So, here is what I charge — (coy mode ON) generally. (See the end of this post for a disclaimer that essentially says I sometimes charge much much more depending on client and circumstances)

For a 2 day seminar involving no more than six people and only involving myself as a trainer I would quote 18 hundred dollars a day and settle for 15 hundred if pushed. The cost of renting a hotel conference room for the sessions and any food and beverage costs would be billed to the client. I supply my own equipment.

But, (there are always buts in this business,) if the client wants to add more participants to the seminar I will charge an extra 250 dollars each for no more than two extra people for a total of eight. These seminars are heavily dependent on small group social dynamics and more than eight does not work unless I bring in another trainer. Add 15 hundred for the assistant trainer.

Occasionally I will deal with a single client who wants the full media crush experience. They want to know how to handle a hostile reporter first hand, how to stand up to a sudden crush of cameras and microphones, known more properly as a scrum.

In short, they want a full 3-D recreation of a day on the media firing line; hot lights, unwashed reporters, screaming television anchors, belligerent in your face and sneering hacks. The full meal deal.

This is an extremely valuable exercise but it is the rare client who is brave enough, and rich enough, for the experience.

In addition to my fees for the two day session I would then charge a tonne of extra money (about 6 thousand dollars) for the third and as real as I can make it Journalist Hell Day.

I will have hired two full video camera crews comprising real and hard bitten working television crews, half a dozen off duty but congenitally aggressive journalists, a couple of world weary TV and radio producers, and I will have rented a full size commercial television studio. All of that is billed to the client.

Depending on how game the client is we can act out the day in real time and in the real world. In other words the client will be accosted at his front door first thing in the morning by news hungry door stoppers, besieged in the office by a pack out at by the receptionist’s desk, roasted during a news conference, interviewed ineptly as well as professionally time after time, misquoted at length, scrummed unmercifully, and generally treated as a most untrustworthy and unbelievable news source.

As you can imagine this real world day is not only hideously expensive and stressful to a huge degree, but it replicates exactly what does happen in the real world of journalism and can make a real media superstar.

It is most unlikely that anyone reading this would be interested in or can afford the deluxe version. So what can you expect from the normal and very non threatening version?

A lot of fun.

Seriously, once we get over the first half hour of awkwardness the sessions take on a life of their own and people really get into playing television interviewer one moment and then being interviewed the next, laughing when their boss screws up, and laughing at themselves when they come across as a silly fool on camera.

If you are interested in the typical agenda for one of my Media Training Sessions you can download a PDF file and have a look. This particular one was devised for a client who couldn’t be sure that enough time could be made for a second day so you will see the all so critical camera practice sessions are optional. In the end we did make time for the second day and I am grateful it happened because without role playing practice in front of a camera a lot of the lessons, tips and techniques, just don’t stick.

There is one more cost associated with Media Training. If you don’t go through it then expect to hire someone like to come in at a very much higher cost to handle the Media Crisis that you created by not knowing how to deal with the media.

The figures I have included here are a good guide to what I charge but everyone is different, they are in different parts of the world, and their circumstances are different. While I cannot go into detail because I do not want to violate client confidentiality, I have charged double and sometimes more, and I have charged next to nothing for others. So, while the rates quoted in this post are a good guide please be aware that there is always a negotiation involved and the end cost for your particular situation could be much higher, and in rare cases, much lower.



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