Inspiration often arrives at unexpected moments and in diverse forms. Media Magnetism, for instance, owes its origins to a pack of Crest Glide dental floss.
I had been sent by the local newspaper to do a feature story on the latest charity project of a prominent philanthropist. He graciously invited me to his office, pointed me to a comfortable chair and listened with interest to my prep-talk on how the interview would proceed as I set up my audio recording equipment on his desk.
Within the first minute of my starting the tape, he casually reached into his shirt pocket and withdrew a white plastic container. I initially thought that it contained breath mints and was, thus, perplexed when he unspooled a long strand of dental floss. Having interviewed former smokers who occasionally rely on “props” to give their hands something to do, I assumed this was just one of the quirkier choices.
You can imagine my reaction when he began using it for its actual purpose. If you’ve ever tried to decipher what someone is saying when they’re in a cavernous mid-yawn, try doing it when they’re aggressively going after mystery particles on their back molars. Over the course of 20 minutes – although it seemed much longer – he not only executed an intensely methodical cleaning worthy of a dental hygienist but also deposited all of his floss shrapnel in a messy, discolored mound right next to my microphone. No matter how scintillating or insightful the takeaway value of the feature story which was subsequently published, I can no longer see this man’s name or hear about the good deeds of his organization without recalling that unflattering image and feeling instantly repulsed.
I’m guessing that’s probably not the message he was going for.
What possesses an otherwise articulate, intelligent and well groomed person to perform personal hygiene tasks in front of a total stranger? Were his actions a purposeful show of disdain for media intrusions on his life? Did he have someplace else he had to be immediately after our appointment and was just multi-tasking to save a trip to the bathroom? Had I inadvertently donned my cloak of invisibility and caused him to think he was talking to himself?
You’re right. There is neither an acceptable excuse for the full-frontal floss fest nor a rewind button to pretend it didn’t happen.
Although he currently holds the unofficial record for bizarre interview behavior, he’s also by no means an isolated case when it comes to putting the wrong foot forward. Interactions with media professionals sometimes have a funny way of making people say too much, say too little, or fall victim to the conversational equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction. No matter how accomplished they are at running a business, raising money or engaging in creative endeavors such as writing or art, these talents may not be evident to the reading/watching/listening public if they’re predisposed to view every reporter as (1) their new best friend or (2) their worst enemy. In truth, reporters are neither one: they are just there to help you deliver the best possible story to your target audience.
By MJ Pedone
There has always been a certain stigma attached to “dream jobs” – acting, modeling, sports, advertising – the type of professions that a lot of people wish they could have and, more often than not, mistakenly perceive as being more “fun” than actual “work.” Who wouldn’t, for instance, want to play exciting roles, be photographed in top designer clothes, play the same sport they’ve loved ever since they were kids, or schmooze with celebrity clients at the hippest restaurants and night clubs?
What you have to take into consideration, however, is that the general public usually only sees the finished product – the blockbuster movie at the Cineplex, the gorgeous spread in a fashion magazine or the success of a charity or red carpet event that raises big money and brings out the A-list stars. The fact that it looks like such a flawless presentation is a testament to how much time, effort and creativity took place behind the scenes, much more than most can even imagine.
This is the reason why I always say that people will never really know how long it takes you to do something; they will only know whether it has been done well. If you have ever opened a new business, you’ve probably already discovered that you can’t just send out one generic press release and wait for the world to beat a path to your door. In today’s competitive marketplace – and given the challenging economy – it requires a more aggressive approach if you want to make your brand a household name that stands out from the competition. What I call “backstage readiness” is not only the ability to understand how 21st century media really works but also how to deliver what it wants from you in a way that projects confidence, credibility and professionalism.
Like Christina Hamlett and the team of industry experts she has brought together to create Media Magnetism, I’m no stranger to the bounty of elements that contribute to a successful marketing/PR campaign. Yes, it’s exciting for me to do a job that I love all hours of the day and night and work with my A-list clientele in the entertainment and sports industry. My effectiveness, however – and, in fact, the effectiveness of anyone involved in media relations – is only as good as the clarity of the client’s message and our mutual understanding of the target demographic that particular message is intended to inspire.
Whether you’re a small business owner, a nonprofit organization or an artist with a new project to promote, understanding how to maximize the media resources available to you is the first step in moving your PR campaign forward, and that is why Media Magnetism is a must-read for all who are involved in any aspect of public relations. This book will be the reason why you earn the exposure and return-on-investment you seek for your clients. It will be the reason that members of the media will be excited to shine a spotlight on you and your company’s accomplishments. It will be the reason you succeed.
In closing, I’m humbled to have written this foreword and hope you enjoy what I consider to be one of the most informative communications books available to date.
MJ Pedone. CEO & Publicist
Indra Public Relations – New York, NY