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Getting to Know the Media Better

December 17, 2020

Business and Entrepeneurial Advice for Women Entrepreneurs, Female Business Owners, Small Businesses

Sitting in my car in a parking lot in mid-December twelve years ago, just about ready to watch my son play basketball on his birthday, I received a phone call from a producer at Good Morning America. She proceeded to tell me my creative idea for a Christmas gift that could be made, instead of bought for a family that didn’t have a lot of money, had made it for final consideration. I remembered submitting something to a national media query but didn’t know it was for this popular national show.

“In order for us to make the final decision between you and a woman in California , we need some photos of where this gift would go in your own house and images of you with your husband or children,” she continued. Still dumbstruck while eager to gain national exposure since I’m such a media diva, I started asking more questions. Finally at the end of our communication she said, “Well, this gift would actually be coming to your house on Christmas Morning and we’d show your family’s reaction live on TV since you can’t afford to buy the ping pong table yourself for your kids.”

In the query, I suggested instead of buying a ping pong table one could easily be made from any type of material with minimum costs for a net, paddles and balls. WE didn’t need a ping pong table, but I’m sure someone else’s family did. In fact, my husband just received his Christmas bonus and we bought a brand new ping pong table for our son’s birthday. It was at home. All I could think to myself was, “Tracy, you and your crazy PR ideas, look what you’ve gotten yourself into.” Yet, I didn’t tell the producer anything going on in my head because I had to think about it some more and talk to my husband.

Sure enough my husband declined the opportunity worried his bosses would see the show and think he couldn’t manage his salary well enough to buy his son a ping pong table. So I tried desperately to find a needy family in our area that could use one on Christmas morning. My church provided a name of a family who in confidence I approached about the idea. They were touched and agreed to be in contact with the GMA producer to work it out.

A day later, the GMA producer called me back to tell me the family really needed bunk beds instead of a ping pong table – both made out of wood and easy to make if one had a small budget. She told me the California family was winning the gift based on their idea of making a doll house and thanked me for my honesty and efforts to help a family in need.

What’s the lesson for you? You never know where a media query can lead, that’s for sure. Most times they lead to free exposure for you or your business. Reaching out to media and developing relationships with them is not hard to do and can lead to valuable press. Local media often query for story contributors, quotes, or appearances locally based on national stories so getting to know them is a worthwhile venture.

Put “Getting to Know Local Media Better” on your Christmas list instead of a homemade ping pong table and you might just get what you need!

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