Monday, March 19, 2007

How to be a media darling in a thousand easy steps

My media saturation is getting ridiculous.

Today alone, I was in the Calgary Sun talking about rent control the National Post talking about the Revolutionary Knitting Circle, the Orlando Sentinal (Orlando?!?) being not entirely accurately presented in talking about the Revolutionary Knitting Circle (they got my name and the founding year of RKC wrong). I also was in a press scrum at City Hall after the morning session of the Land Use Bylaw hearings. I’m not sure what ran (or will run tomorrow) from that, but it seemed like all the local commercial tv, radio, and papers were there.

Tuesday’s Calgary Sun is to have an article where I talk about the city’s land-use bylaw. I’m also scheduled to appear on a CHQR 770AM talk show for about 20-30 minutes to talk about affordable housing issues (Just after the 3:00PM news on Tuesday). Then on Thursday (or maybe next week Thursday) FFWD is planning to run a profile of me.

How did it come to this?

The formula for getting this much media attention is relatively straight forward.
  • When the media asks for a statement, give them one.
  • When tv asks if you would be available for an on-camera interview, make time in your schedule to accommodate their schedule that day. Don’t forget to groom yourself and dress nicely. I’m generally lazy about shaving, but I try to always be clean shaven for the cameras.
  • When radio asks if you’d be willing to come to their studio for a pre-recorded or live-to-air show, show up a little early (even if it’s in the morning).
  • Speak clearly and concisely with good grammar. What you say has to read well and communicate well in isolated chunks (“sound-bites”).
  • Show up to things the media are interested in (such as city hall when there’s some “newsworthy” issue coming up, or a public event such as a large protest).
  • Get enough information on a sufficiently wide range of issues that you can sound authoritative—or at least present what comes across as “an informed opinion.” Never lie, though. If you don’t know, be honest and tell them that.
  • Get to know a wide range of people who really know the issues so you can refer reporters to them when the story needs more than you can give, or needs additional voices.
  • If you don’t have the information they’re asking for, offer to track it down. If they accept your offer, drop everything to get it for them within the hour (or sooner).
  • Consistently do the above over many years.
In summation, bend over backwards to give them what they want, when and where they want it. Make it as easy as you can for the media to get content from or through you. they’ll start to recognize that you are a reliable source of usable content and turn to you when they need a story.
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