As a seasoned PR practitioner with more that 15+ years of experience, I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly of mismanaged media opportunities. Most recently I volunteered at a fundraising event that was attended by Dr. Jill Biden, the Vice President’s wife, and other prominent political figures. I knew these personalities would attract both local and national media and potentially further expose the goodness of the cause.
Upon arrival I saw reporters, camera crews and photographers standing around waiting for Mrs. Biden to speak while, 4,500 people were eating, drinking and enjoying the day. I thought of the endless possibilities of where this story would run because the “White House” has arrived. CNN, NECN, ABC’s World News, NBC’s Nightly News – the list went on and on in my head. As the event drew near completion I realized that the media was ignoring the real essence of the event – the community who came together to support and raise money for military families in need during these difficult times. It was for this reason that the Vice President’s wife was there, after all.
As I curled up on my couch that evening and flipped through the various channels looking for coverage, I couldn’t find what I was looking for. Sure the media provided sound bites of Biden and the others, but neglected to include the purpose of the event, who it supported and where it took place.
After seeing the holes in the coverage I was watching, I was reminded of how important it is to properly manage media opportunities, especially live broadcast:
*Set the agenda – ensure the media knows the angle of the story, the facts and who is involved
*Control the environment – communicate, confirm and re-confirm
*Never assume anything – make sure your messaging is communicated before, during and after an interview/event. Just because a “notable” personality shows up doesn’t mean your key messaging will be pulled through or automatically included.