Are You Making This Media Mistake?

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Do you remember that scene from that 1987 movie Broadcast News when Jane Craig, played by Holly Hunter, is in the edit room frantically chanting the name of the editor over and over trying to get him to finish the story in time for it to air in less than a minute? “Bobby, Bobby. Bobby. Bobby, Bobby!” And then the editor – the aforementioned Bobby – gives Joan Cusack’s character the tape and she runs like a maniac through the building to the tape room. She makes it just in the nick of time. That’s the “hurry up” part of a TV news show.

There’s also the “wait.”

The wait involves entire crews sitting in control rooms on standby when a story is just about to break. Today. Or maybe tonight. But it could be tomorrow.

And then when it does break, or an entirely new and much more important story suddenly emerges, the wait is over. Everyone – from Producers, to Stage Hands, to the Director, and Associate Director, as well as the Camera Operators – we all spring into action. We do our jobs quickly and efficiently because we’re expecting the “hurry up” part of the job. It comes with the territory.

But what does that have to do with you? Well, if you want to get media coverage for your product, book, or brand, you’d do well to take a page from the “Hurry Up & Wait” playbook.

Because wanting media attention and getting it, can truly be a “hurry up & wait” kind of thing.

Hurry! Write your book, market it, get your blog or web site going, get social media followers and engage with them, record a video, write a blog, buy TV-ready outfits! Phew!

Now…wait.

Wait for the right time to pitch media folks with your topical content. Wait after you send a pitch for the right time to follow up. Wait for your media moment, when a producer responds to your pitch.

“Can you be on the show tomorrow morning?”

The wait is over. Time to hurry again!

I’ll tell you something I’ve gleaned in more than 30 years of working in television with the “Hurry Up & Wait” mindset. Successful people don’t look at waiting as “waiting.” They don’t make that mistake. They know the secret.

Waiting is preparing.

When you have a mission, a goal, or a dream – the waiting is not just the hardest part – it’s the most important. Because waiting shouldn’t be passive. In fact, when it comes to getting media, or just about anything else that you want, the more active and constructive you are during periods of waiting, the more ready you’ll be when the “hurry up” happens.

If you’re not quite sure how to get ready for your first (or next) media interview, here are 3 suggestions:

  1. Put together a head-to-toe camera-ready outfit. Think solid colors in jewel tones. No chunky jewelry. Clean shoes. This insures you’re not frantically running around the night before an interview trying to find the right thing to wear. If you’re flying out to do the interview, always carry your outfit in your carry on, or at the very least, carry a back up outfit that way.
  1. Hone & own your core message. Be clear on what is important about your product, book, or mission. Write it down. Be concise. Say it out loud, often. Practice interviewing yourself in the car when you’re on your own.
  1. Plan your follow up before you even land the interview. Consider ordering customized thank you cards embossed with your name. Have stamps. You can send the producer a note of appreciation right after you leave the studio – and be sure to include your business card. Old fashioned? Sure. Memorable? Indeed. Because doing a media interview can be about much more than that one appearance. It should be the beginning of a relationship, so see it that way now, before the phone rings with an offer for an interview.

Consider writing out a list of the things you’d like to have in place before the media calls. Then get to work on that list. Because that call might come sooner than you think.

So hurry up.

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