June 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Client: You don’t understand, this is a story that the media will pay you to pitch them. Listen, I know PR. I could probably teach you a few things.
PR Consultant: I’m not quite sure about the way you want it presented. I mean the fact that you can change people’s lives is great. But we need to show the media how you do that. We need to offer them transformational stories with a strong narrative.
Client: Just tell them to read my book.
PR Consultant: You can’t always count on them reading your book. We need to give them short, concise easy to understand pitches that will offer them a good story. We need to pitch a story that meets the media’s needs.
Client: (Irritated) What do you mean they won’t read my book? Do you know how long it took me to write that book? Do you know how much time, effort, money, blood, sweat and tears went into creating that book? (Raising his voice) And now you’re telling me they won’t read my book?
PR Consultant: Some will, but our job is to get them to talk about your book, to get them to interest the public in buying and reading your book.
Client: Well that’s your job. Do it. And besides, I’m telling you, it’s easy. As soon as they hear about my book and read it they are all going to be begging me to go on the show or to do interviews with me. I’m telling you. This is basically shooting fish in a barrel. You should be paying me.
PR Consultant: Believe me no campaign is easy. What we need are stories that grab the media’s attention. The way we do that is by pitching them stories that will appeal to their readers, viewers or listeners. We need to think backwards from their perspective. Once we meet their needs, we’ll meet yours.
Client: (Starting to lose his patience) I’m telling you; just explain to them that I change lives. There’s really no one else out there like me. I can’t believe Oprah went off the air. She would have begged to have me on
PR Consultant: What we need are specifics. We need specific stories that we can pitch to women’s magazines, news publications, talk shows, etc. That’s what I wanted to go over today, specific stories on how what you do changed the lives of people you’ve worked with. Their transformational stories are your best stories. For example, when representing a physician, I’ll focus on patient stories, that way you can see the impact, the transformation and people relate to that.
Client: You don’t get it, this isn’t about my clients: it’s about me! I don’t see why you just don’t send them my book and then call them and get me on national TV. You’re making this much more complicated than it needs to be. I tell you once they read my book, it’s a done deal. This is easy; I should have my own TV show by next season, right?
Lights Fade: End Act One
Yep, true story. He wasn’t a bad guy, he simply didn’t understand the process or the media’s needs. More importantly, he didn’t want to take the time to learn how the process works, educate himself and pitch towards his strengths. What I needed were short, concise, transformational stories. I needed to be able to show the media how he transformed people’s lives. To him it was obvious. It was all about him and it was all in his book. But the story was not about him, it was about how he changed people’s lives. His client’s stories were his best story.
As to having the media read the book, the trouble is that nine times out of ten the media’s not going to take the time to read it. They’re going to look at the cover, read the back page and read a press release. And you have to sell them on the story then and there. It had a second act and a good ending. We met again and were able to come up with some specific story ideas that grabbed the media’s interest and his PR campaign was a successful one.
Copyright © Anthony Mora 2011