“Stop acting like roadkill”

The most overlooked and yet most important element in your media relations tool kit is your mindset.

I liked how you told us to stop acting like roadkill, and act in a way that will earn the respect of the press on the other line.

That’s what one of my training students told me after my last media relations workshop. My actual language wasn’t that colorful, but I endorse his interpretation :).

[We’ve been receiving more requests than usual for an update on the next workshop: It’s in San Francisco in late March.]

There’s a two-way dynamic at work inside you when you reach out to a journalist. When you have the mindset of a beggar, you approach them weakly, worrying about being a pest. And they pick up that flavor from your language, so what happens? They think you’re a pest!

The opposite is also true. You change your language and actions to match the ideal you’re aspiring to – you have something that will resonate with their audience and will make their job easier. Then you choose language and actions that reflect that. And they are that much more likely to see you as useful.

Notice I didn’t guarantee you’d get the placement. That would be a ridiculous promise to make, given all the variables out of your control on any particular media pitch to one particular journalist. But you can establish a positive relationship via a cold pitch even when you don’t “get the story.” And you’re that much more likely to get the next one.

You don’t see this discussed in punchy how-to listicles on PR websites. And most of us are either oblivious to or embarrassed about the flaws in our pitching mindset, so we don’t talk about it.

But there are dozens of little steps you take, and a few key big ones, to adopt and demonstrate the mindset of a media relations master.

I’ll be covering all of them – and sharing dozens of real-world pitches and social media touches that demonstrate them – during the next workshop.

Check out all the details here and register as soon as you can. We haven’t held it on the West Coast for three years, so this could sell out.

If it’s good enough for a 30-year vet at the Mayo Clinic, I can be confident in promising that it will be worth it for you, whatever your experience level:

This was one of the best media relations workshops I have attended in my more than 30-year career. I enjoyed the content, the feedback, and the great tips. I also enjoyed the flow of the course. Michael made it fun, interesting and impactful. 

– Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic, after last fall’s workshop

This article was originally published on January 30, 2020

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