There in the front lawn in a residential area of Los Angeles stood the horses we had come to pick up…they turned to evaluate our approach as dogs ran past their feet to announce us as intruders, wiggling past the cars in the driveway as they rushed the gate. It was an unexpected, but happy ending for the animals whose travels have been documented for years in video and media (they graced the LA Times just recently). As part of an anti-horse slaughter campaign, they had traversed the highways and streets of southern California to bring attention to the controversial issue.
While the media goals had been well met, perhaps the campaign itself had not been all that successful. After all, here I was, alongside my friend and animal trainer, Jessie, answering the call to help the woman who initiated this ill- fated campaign; it was the end of the line for her.. and her horses needed a forever home. (We were the right ones to call. They are happy, safe, and maybe a bit spoiled now!)
It could have been the common misconception that media exposure is always a good thing. Many people seek to grab the opportunity for exposure whenever it arises, believing that the more people they reach, the better.
Not always true.
In the case of this animal right activist, for instance, a well-meaning soul, heartfelt in her approach, but some of the planning was lacking in detail. There was not enough solid research for her points to be considered seriously, and ultimately, no sufficient call to action.. she had no website to inform or petition to sign. Awareness was raised slightly, perhaps, but the outcome was not what it might have been.
Other ways that media may not be so friendly is when the call to appear on a TV show is accepted without the proper research on the show’s audience demographics. Just because a show might be high in the ratings does not necessarily mean that your product or service is what that audience will want. I know the story of a woman who manufactured thousands of extra products to appear on Oprah, thinking that she would sell out and become a household name overnight with the exposure on her show. Unfortunately, her products were not appropriate for the viewers; the price point was too high. Her media opportunity on one of the highest rated shows at the time was a costly mistake.
In both circumstances, and in so many others, the mistake is in the planning, or the lack thereof.
Have a big goal that you are moving toward. Some call it a big picture. With that big picture in mind, work backwards and realize the structure you need in order to accomplish your goal. Who do you need to meet to get you there? Who do you need to become your biggest fans? Now, where do you find them and what do they need right now?
Provide the correct solution, in the correct media outlet and that can be an incredible way to build recognition and trust. You might even become a household name!
How do you prepare for media exposure? Have you ever appeared in the media? I would love your stories in the comments below.