Friday, August 27, 2004

They Like You. They REALLY Like You.

Producers of the Olympic games ratchet up the emotional value of programming in a powerful way, and it’s a good lesson for PR folks and the clients they represent.

They do it by offering viewers more than what they expect to see. There’s the flabby heavyweight wrestler who improbably won Gold in Sydney against an “unbeatable” Russian opponent. He was back again in Athens, looking every bit as flabby, but that’s not the interesting part of the story.

No, what reeled the viewers into the beefy wrestler’s saga was a string of mishaps between Sydney and Athens that resulted in a lost toe (frostbite) and a fractured wrist held together with pins (basketball injury) and another close brush with death on the roadways (motorcycle accident). By the time the grappler actually took to the mat for competition in Athens, grown women (and some grown men) were given to tears of inspiration, joy and hope. He took the bronze and then retired, openly weeping as he removed his shoes and left them in the middle of the mat, as is wrestling tradition.

There’s the hurdler who watched his own father murdered as a boy, the diver who had cried during the entire Sydney games because her former country (Russia) refused to let her dive for her new country (Australia) until the day after they Olympics ended. On and on it goes.

Reporters are people, too. They become more attached to their subjects if they can relate to real, human experiences. Give them something to hold onto besides the mundane corporate trials and tribulations everyone goes through. Make them connect with you.

Tree fall on your house during that big storm? Throw your back out dancing at your daughter’s wedding? Daughter catch a 13-inch largemouth Bass using only a worm, a bobber and a prayer? Go ahead and mention these things during the “small talk” portions of the interview (usually the first or last five minutes).

Stories like these help get reporters invested in you as a person because they have experiences that are similar to yours, and therefore can relate. And, fair or not, reporters will go the extra mile to highlight the positives of your company's story if they like you as a person.

The value of your news increases when you connect emotionally with your audience. It works in Athens and it can work for your business.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home