The Media Training Marketplace: Your Options

I get plenty of questions about communications training generally and media training specifically. Some come from the simply curious (“What exactly do you do?”), others from potential clients (“How much does it cost?”).

Today’s treatise examines the client side. It all boils down to the fact that prospective clients are curious about their options in the marketplace. Those who have not experienced communications training seek the lay of the land. Even those that have used training consultants previously sometimes lack knowledge about their options.

It basically boils down to deciding which of these categories represents the best fit:

  • Global public relations agency
  • Independent communications training consultant
  • Internal communications staff
  • Mid-size public relations agency
  • Solo public relations generalist

Each option poses benefits and drawbacks (see the comparison chart “Finding the Right Communications Training Consultant” for details).


Let’s take a quick tour of the pros and cons (caveat: As loyal members of The Media Training Blog community know, I am an independent consultant, so adjust any filter accordingly).

Global public relations agency

  • Plus: Lots of resources and reach into multiple markets; often a good fit for large businesses and associations.
  • Minus: Even most of the big players have decimated once-formidable training operations; may rely on inexperienced staff to lead media training workshops (my least favorite example: The 20-something account person charged with leading a workshop despite the fact she had never even observed one before); your fee pays for their fancy offices.

Independent communications training consultant

  • Plus: No bait and switch, you know who will lead your workshop; the experienced pros will talk straight to your leadership (some agencies shy away from this for fear of losing a big account); normally flexible and responsive.
  • Minus: Fewer in house resources, though the pros can pull together superior teams when needed; you will pay for their experience (though not for the potted plants in those agencies’ fancy offices).

Internal communications staff

  • Plus: They know your issues and your spokespeople inside out (at least they should); low cost; highly attentive.
  • Minus: Uneven experience and quality; most have never focused on communications training; often weak on messaging skills.

Mid-size public relations agency

  • Plus: Flexibility; typically a high commitment to clients; many have leadership with considerable expertise in communications generally.
  • Minus: Few have communications training experts on staff; may focus solely on one industry.

Solo public relations generalist

  • Plus: I’m thinking, I’m thinking. With all due respect to my generalist friends and colleagues, this is the weakest option when considering a specialty like communications training. Many generalists are good at what they do, but training is not it.
  • Minus: Some will tell you they can handle training even when that’s not one of their capabilities just to get the revenue; usually a poor fit for larger businesses unless working on a very narrow project.

I’ve probably succeeded in infuriating a few colleagues. It’s nothing personal, but if you’re inclined to respond, feel free to vent in the comments section.

For everyone else, what have your experiences been with these players in the marketplace? Why not submit your own Plus and Minus lists?


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