A review of Making Effective Media Happen by Michael Brown

In this media oriented world, almost everybody has something to sell or wants to create a public image. The book takes an insider perspective and provides information on exactly what a journalist will be looking for when interviewing you or reading your press release, and with 15+ years as a television reporter, director and presenter as well as years of media consulting and corporate training, Brown certainly knows his stuff.

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

Making Effective Media Happen
by Michael Brown
Allen & Unwin
Sept 2002, 124pg, pb
ISBN 1-86508-943-5
RRP $A27.95

The plain blue cover and uninspiring title of Making Effective Media Happen belies its snappy prose and the powerful message it contains. While the book is mainly targeted at members of the large corporations most likely to hire author Michael Brown for his ‘Handling the Media’ courses, it is also applicable to authors and anyone else whose success depends partly on how well they are able to use the media to promote themselves. In this media oriented world, almost everybody has something to sell or wants to create a public image. The book takes an insider perspective and provides information on exactly what a journalist will be looking for when interviewing you or reading your press release, and with 15+ years as a television reporter, director and presenter as well as years of media consulting and corporate training, Brown certainly knows his stuff.

The book is easy to follow and well written with pictures, charts and worksheets, all designed to provide its very simple but powerful concepts in a way which is both unforgettable and easy to reference. The book has chapters on understanding the way the media works, how to write press releases and handle calls, preparing for and conducting interviews in all kinds of media and a number of summarising and re-useable worksheets. While the book isn’t long, it makes some very effective points which you are unlikely to forget, and which are applicable in a wide range of situations. The image of “the sofa people” – the audience to whom you must always direct your message is a key one, which perfectly illuminates both the point of view of the media, and of where your own focus should be when dealing with them.

Brown walks the reader through a number of media situations, with lots of examples, including radio, print, talkback and television (a must if you have already incorporated a session on Oprah as part of your promotion plan), demystifying what goes on behind the scenes. There are examples of well written releases, and a point by point plan to ensure that yours gets noticed by always focusing on “the sofa people’s” interests. This is probably the easiest system for writing good releases that I’ve seen. The “three-step key message system” is also very effective and easy to use, with examples, sample situations and worksheets for later reference. For those who are nervous about performing in front of the media, the three keys for “unlocking flow” are also useful, and could also be used for any kind of performance or reading. Some excellent relaxation exercises are also included.

This book is cleanly written, and easy enough for the most harried executive to follow, but it isn’t one which should be taken lightly. Brown’s perspective is always one of high integrity – of speaking the truth, and of empathising and identifying with the audience. To be liked, we have to like. To create a powerful media image, we have to appeal to our audience by making sure they feel our human-ness and warmth. The simple principles and easy to use worksheets can help free you to do just that – to get the message you want to the public.

For more information on Making Effective Media Happen, visit: Making Effective Media Happen

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