It always surprises me (god knows why after this long) when a client tells me they don’t watch TV or read anything banal like USA Today. But yet they want to be on all those programs “Get me on Ellen!” in order to further their message. (Or for the narcissists just to get famous. More on that later) You can’t be a media snob if you want to reach the mainstream.
One of the most important things to do if you want to use public relations as a marketing tool is get to know the ENTIRE media landscape. Not just the things you like to read, watch or hear but the things MOST people like. That also means watching or reading all the commercials in between too. I think there’s a general snottiness that prevails with people who only read the New York Times or listen to MPR. Listen – those are great outlets don’t get me wrong. But the things most people watch or read include USA Today, Extreme Home Makeover, the Biggest Loser, Keeping up with the Kardashians, American Idol and your local morning shock jock. You don’t have to like them…you just have to keep tabs on them.
If you really think a show or publication is right for your message or business, watch it religiously for a while. Read it for a good two months. Even if you have a publicist you’ll help generate ideas that might work. Years ago a client laughed at me for suggesting the Montel Williams show. I made her watch it four times and she came up with an awesome angle. She got on and promptly sold out of her product.
Know who your client is and watch or read what THEY ingest. Do this for three months before you start making recommendations or going after PR . You’ll be a much smarter client if you do have a publicist . If you don’t have a publicist you probably won’t sound like an idiot the first time you contact that producer or writer.