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Media Training Tips for Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day

groundhog day media training

Groundhog Day is just around the corner, which means the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue is: will the groundhog see his shadow and keep winter going for a few more weeks, or stay out of his hole to herald the beginning of spring? All eyes will be on Punxsutawney Phil this weekend to find out the answer and although he doesn’t speak with reporters, he’s the de facto spokesperson for this February holiday. If Phil were to schedule some interviews this year, he would need a top-notch PR team to prep him for all that media attention. We’ve already blogged about comments to avoid during an interview, so here are some additional tips that Phil’s PR team should take to heart.

Draft a Mock Q&A – To start with, Phil will need to know what kinds of questions to expect from reporters and how to answer them by sticking to a few key media messages.  This way, our Groundhog Day spokesman can easily remember how to articulate important points in a simple (and quotable) manner.

Avoid Jargon – The last thing you want is a journalist missing a key message because they can’t understand a complicated term used during an interview. Spokespersons should avoid acronyms and other technical or industry jargon. Since his job is predicting the weather, Phil will probably have an extensive knowledge of meteorological science. Unless he’s speaking with a fellow meteorologist from The Weather Channel, he should avoid talking about the minute, technical details of predicting the weather.

Nothing is Off the Record – A spokesperson should never say anything that he or she does not want to appear in print, even after the interview is over. In short, nothing is ever “off the record,” so Phil should be warned to keep any offensive jabs at the Easter Bunny, or his other competitors in the magical creature business, to himself.

Remember, PR folks don’t have Bill Murray’s ability to repeat his Groundhog Day experiences after they’ve happened – we only have one shot to get it right. Here’s hoping Punxsutawney Phil has been prepped and is ready to go for the big day!

Image “groundhog” by qmnonic via Flickr. Used under CC BY 2.0 / Cropped from original.

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