Most companies think that they know the stories the media want to cover. They also generally think that their business is so fascinating that if the media only knew about it Oprah, Time, the Wall Street Journal and CNN would form a line hoping to be the first to land an interview. Well, sad to say, most companies are sadly mistaken. I have to admit that I fell into the same trap. When I wrote my book “Spin to Win,” I figured that the public and the media would be more than eager to find out how PR worked, how media relations differed from advertising and direct marketing, and how to write an effective press release. As happens with most business owners, I was too close to my business. Here I was in the business of public relations and I was making the same mistakes that I steered clients away from. Luckily I’d also worked as a journalist and magazine editor and after hitting a few closed doors, I snapped back to reality and remembered my job wasn’t to pitch my book, or the story I thought would work. My real job was to create, develop and pitch stories that would meet the media’s needs. I had to think backwards in a sense. I had to put myself in the place of the various editors and producers, remember what it was they needed and what would interest their viewers, readers and listeners and pitch those stories.
So, I shifted my PR campaign. No longer was I pitching stories about me as a public relations consultant who could discuss the ins and outs of launching a PR campaign. Now I was a media and pop culture expert. I positioned myself differently. I could tell the media how and why celebrities and politicians were correctly or incorrectly handling their media coverage. I could explain why a company’s branding efforts were working or failing. I could outline PR damage control strategies that stars and celebrities could use after being caught in compromising situations. The shift in strategy worked. From landing a few local media stories I went to being interviewed by CNN, MSNBC, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek. So what changed? Not my book, not my information and know-how; what changed was my pitch. I stopped thinking like a client, focusing on what I thought was interesting. I shifted, and started thinking like a PR consultant, focusing on what the media found interesting. And that shift made all the difference.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2009