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[Podcast] How To Get Television, Radio and Print Media Coverage

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subscribe-with-itunes-buttonBARBARA GRIFFIN

Welcome to The Business Marketing Agency podcast with Barbara Griffin; regular tips and tricks for business owners who want to market their business online.  And I’m here with Tracey Preston from Media Animal.  Hi Tracey!

TRACEY PRESTON

Hi Barb!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Thanks so much for coming in today.  Basically, what we’re going to talk about today is – How do you actually get yourself in the media – in print media, on the radio – and most importantly, on television.  How’s that actually done?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well I actually set up Media Animal, which is my PR business, on the back of a career in television.  So I had a little bit of insight – had some insight into what happens on the other side of the fence.

But now I’ve jumped the media fence, it sort of gives me a bit of a heads-up. So it does make it a little easier for me to sort of work out and understand how journalists think, what types of stories appeal to them.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes, and you’ve got that awesome news radio voice too!  So, if people recognise Tracey’s voice it’s because she used to read the news on television! 

Now, we promised people today that we’d tell them how to get started.
 
So I know that you can’t really sum up your entire career and knowhow in 20 minutes, but – what are the kinds of things that you need to do to get on television?  What are the kinds of first steps?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well I think – you know, as I said, having worked on the other side of media, having worked in a TV newsroom, and seeing that journalists get inundated with press releases every day, often it’s, “Oh! Not another one, delete, delete, delete.” 

You really have to understand that your release has to stand out in a really short succinct way, and that is ‘knock them over the head in one sentence about what your story is about’.  These journalists don’t have time. They’re always under the pump to get the next story out.  It’s a pressure cooker environment; so, you have to grab their attention really quickly.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So, what do they want?  Do they want, like, sensationalism?

TRACEY PRESTON

I think they want – they’re just basically looking for a good story.  Obviously if you’re pitching into TV you’ve always got to think in picture terms. 

So – you tend to have to think, first up, ‘What’s going to make a good picture story?’  With media coverage I think do think the big thing is understanding the medium you’re pitching into – whether it be print, online, or television – or radio. 

So, you almost have to tailor your story to that certain medium.

So for television, obviously, it’s pictures.  For print I think still a great pic-op is always an opportunity; or obviously something really well-written – a well-written press release…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So – what you’re saying is about having the right sort of media to match where you want it to be shown; if you’re talking about TV obviously that’s pictures, moving pictures with sound – but does that mean that if you’re submitting a press release to TV, you sort of have to create your own footage and send them that too – is that what they want?

TRACEY PRESTON

It can be done that way, and that’s a very effective way.  I think if you’ve got an e-mail attachable piece of vision – it’s brilliant. 

But let’s not digress and come right back to “Is it a good yarn?” 

I think – because I’ve worked in the industry – I’m very upfront and I’ll say, “Look, you know, you’ve got Buckley’s of getting this story on, unless we do this, this and this.” 

So, I’m very upfront, right from the word go.  I mean, you genuinely have to have a story that’s of worth to them. So, I think Step 1 is being really honest with your client, too. 

I mean – you know, I guess I don’t really wear sort of a nice, fuzzy, warm publicity style hat – I’m pretty upfront.  I’ll go, “Listen, you’ve got Buckley’s of getting that on!” or “I think if we do this, this and this you might have more of a chance of getting coverage.” 

So, I think my job is to keep it real; and to keep it real with the client.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Let’s talk about some stories, the type of thing that we’ve all heard on air and seen before, which is “This Aussie housewife has found an innovative solution for keeping those bills at bay!” 

I mean – you know, you hear these kinds of stories like that on television, but then it’s actually some Aussie housewife that has started a business! 

And it makes you wonder, was that actually a business that was just trying to get coverage by making it into a story?

TRACEY PRESTON

Look – it can be both.  I mean – obviously a very person – a very clever clever media specialist or media strategist – would make it look like a story; they could honestly ‘turn’ a story – or polish up something that might be a direct product push -but develop a story around that. 

I mean – that’s the skill. Because journals hate getting sold something that is a direct sell, absolutely – you never do that.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Okay, so let’s talk about that one. Let’s say you have a product or service. You might be a stay-at-home mum who’s part time business is doing social media management, let’s say. 

How do you make that into a story, sort of like ‘Aussie Housewives Giving It A Go’ – is that the skill – is that what you have to do?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, I think you’d then find good case studies. You’d find good success stories of women that have made that business into a success. 

And I mean – with television you tend to have to think ‘mass market’ as well, and how that story is going to impact on the audience – what that audience is going to want.  I mean, everyone’s trying to make a buck these days! 

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Totally!

TRACEY PRESTON

So, if you can dangle that carrot and say, “Mrs. Jo Bloggs living in Parramatta has turned this idea into a business.”

BARBARA GRIFFIN

…a multi-million dollar business! Yeah!

TRACEY PRESTON

So, the product becomes ‘Parramatta Housewife Makes $1 Million Dollars Doing Something From Home’…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah! – which could end up being a promo for that Parramatta housewife’s actual business?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, that’s right. But you’ve got it on A Current Affair – which should be right up their alley! I mean –

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Totally! Yeah and being on A Current Affair would give you 15 minutes of primetime television- I mean, what would that be worth?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, that’s right! That would be worth $40,000 – $50,000 if you had to pay for it in an advertisement. So, it’s very valuable publicity, there’s no doubt about it.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Okay. Really, is it that all?  That actually seems cheap to me.

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, $40,000 – $50,000 –  most people don’t have that to blow on a…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So, $40,000 – $50,000 would give you 15 minutes of primetime coverage?

TRACEY PRESTON

You’d probably be looking at more money.  I think. bottom line, you wouldn’t be able to afford that in your PR budget if you had to pay for it. 

And the other thing with publicity is – that unlike an ad. it has three times the amount of credibility – because it’s not an advertisement.  It’s not perceived as an advertisement. Yes; and you have the ‘endorsement’ of that journalist who’s done the story.  So it has a lot of power behind it.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah, totally.  And this actually reminds me of SEO versus pay-per-click. 

What we found is that SEO or ‘organic’ search traffic converts better than paid traffic – even for the same keyword.

Which is basically the editorial principle; that editorial is ‘undetectable selling’ and converts better.  It’s almost like; getting editorial television coverage is sort of like ‘SEO on steroids’.

I mean – don’t get me wrong –  we love online marketing; and SEO and pay-per-click are things that a business can do right now without having to spend a fortune or wait for a network to say yes. 

But there’s no doubt about it that basically television coverage is sort of like the best type of free publicity there is.

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, it is.  Look, I think any media coverage – basically you have to cover all bases.  I think if you’re doing a successful PR campaign you can’t just put all your eggs into the television basket. 

You have to look at online, print, radio. I mean, it has to be a comprehensive strategy; and plus it’s got to be long term.  I mean one hit on a TV station might be…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

…isn’t going to make you rich.

TRACEY PRESTON

No. You know, it’s a one hit. It certainly gives you leverage to bounce off that, but…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

I have a story actually.  It’s about radio rather than television.  I have a client, I helped him make a series of podcasts, video podcasts.  We put them on his YouTube channel and on his website. 

Pretty soon after that he got called by the ABC to do a radio program.  He was a therapist. 

For the next month, his practice was booked out because of this one radio talk back hour that he got asked to do.

So basically I’m thinking – well, we both thought – that the reason that he got asked to do the radio spot was because people had found him on the internet – by looking for his YouTube and his presentations.  So we felt that online was definitely bridging the gap.

TRACEY PRESTON

Oh, there’s no doubt about it.  I mean – we’ve all heard that the majority of eyeballs are online.  I mean – I think there will be more content – and especially with television – we can see it with YouTube – the demand for YouTube vision is way outdoing the supply. 

I think that’s where the future is going to be.  If we can develop TV shows online – I think we’re really… let’s turn it around.  Also in the Australian TV environment – it’s very hard to get a new show up. It’s very closed.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yep. I think even if you’re lucky enough to get a show up, a lot of independent television producers find that it’s not even that profitable to actually sell your show to a network.

TRACEY PRESTON

Well – and they’re not risk-takers these days.  I mean, it’s too tight to take risks, so they tend to develop shows that have been successful overseas. ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ –  that was ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes, and they buy heaps of content from Time Warner in these big packages.

TRACEY PRESTON

They take a punt on a proven format that’s worked overseas, so…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So how about this for a theory, you know, now Youtube – it’s the same as what happened in the music industry when suddenly everybody is a DJ, everybody’s making music. 

The same thing happened with YouTube; now everybody is a videographer, everybody is making content at home with kind of disregard for production values that the professionals know how to do! 

So the lighting could be terrible and the sound could be terrible.  But still, everyone is putting up and making videos like mad.

So, like, what do you think about the concept that content is now becoming more important than video production quality?

TRACEY PRESTON

Yeah, absolutely; it’s this thirst for information. So – you know, I think if you can deliver that – I mean I still think it helps if it’s delivered in a very creative way…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Infotainment.

TRACEY PRESTON

Infotainment, absolutely! But as you said, you don’t need the whiz-bang lights and everything…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Totally.  It’s like a thirst for information.  It’s like everyone’s got this sort of secret wish or secret belief that if they only had this one piece of information they could really be successful.

TRACEY PRESTON

And it’s so accessible.  I mean everyone’s got an iPad, a computer, or an iPhone – I mean, that information is so much more accessible these days, so it makes sense that that’s the growth market, for sure.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah! And as an online marketer, I’ve successfully tangented us back onto online marketing, which I didn’t really mean to do!

So let’s go back to the topic of how to get on television!

So let’s say we’ve gone through these steps, we’ve had a consultation with you to get sort of a media story ready – and then we’ve pitched it to the networks. And then possibly we’ve got something like 60 Minutes…

TRACEY PRESTON

I mean, 60 Minutes – yeah –

BARBARA GRIFFIN

It’s the Holy Grail.

TRACEY PRESTON

Yeah! Although the Channel 7 show, Sunday Night is giving it a big run for its money.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah – well, any of those types of shows really.

TRACEY PRESTON

I think those types of current affairs, the hard-hitting, the high profile, the established current affair shows – you have to genuinely have a seriously good story.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah. I actually have known Australian business owners that have got on A Current Affair or Four Corners.

TRACEY PRESTON

They’ve probably been an ‘Australian Innovation’ or an ‘Australian First’, those types of things.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah. So if you can think of an ‘Australian First’ or an ‘Australian Innovation’, that can be an angle?

TRACEY PRESTON

Yeah, I think, obviously, those shows are very patriotic. They like to support Aussies who are doing good stuff, whether it be here or overseas.  I think that’s a shoe-in for sure.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Basically what you do is you help a person –  it could be a business or maybe a product –

TRACEY PRESTON

Yeah, if it’s a product, a person or a business –

BARBARA GRIFFIN

– come up with a strategy to help get them in the media –

TRACEY PRESTON

Yes, look – I would develop the strategy around their product, business – or if they’re a person, what they’re doing.

Obviously it has to be unique, if we can position them; or they’re doing something different than everyone else on the market.  I mean obviously we’d be looking at their competition, what their competition is doing, who they’re up against, and how we can maybe create a point of difference in what they’re doing.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Ah, the old USP! Yeah, we know about that from online marketing as well! 

Okay, I know what I wanted to ask you about.  Those breakfast television shows like Kerri-Anne Kennerley, how do you get on to those?  What do you have to do?

TRACEY PRESTON

You mean The Morning Show?

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes, those morning shows.

TRACEY PRESTON

So, Sunrise, Today?

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes.

TRACEY PRESTON

Okay, so what you’d basically do – one of the big things I guess – with the fact that I’ve been able to secure a coverage for my client on 60 Minutes, 7:30 Report, every news channel, hard-hitting top rating shows – is because I’ve developed contacts –
BARBARA GRIFFIN

Ah.

TRACEY PRESTON

– which cuts a lot of the red tape.

It’s like selling the story to the guy that’s not up the food chain; you’re wasting a lot of energy.  So I’ve got the powerful decision makers, those sorts of contacts. So, that really cuts a lot of time out.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah, and that’s basically what you’re paying someone for.  If you hire someone – like yourself – to help structure a media campaign, the value of it is really pitching it and having the contacts that you know exactly who to pitch it to;

And having the credibility in the industry which means you that have built up your list of contacts in decision makers who will take your calls.

TRACEY PRESTON

And that’s half the deal! The hardest thing is actually getting the ear of someone who’s actually – for a start, thinks you can actually deliver a story they might be interested in. 

So once I’ve got the runs on the board, they know that Media Animal has delivered good picture stories or good yarns before, you know – that’s half the work done.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes, it’s totally like that in the music industry as well.

TRACEY PRESTON

They’ll take my phone call, they’ll read my e-mails.  When they see Media Animal they’d go, “Oh yeah! We’ve got a couple of good yarns from Trace!”

BARBARA GRIFFIN

And especially when you don’t burn them all the time by sending them junk.

TRACEY PRESTON

Oh – well that’s it! It’s about quality, not quantity. 

That’s why I’m very upfront right from the word go with the client. I don’t want to burn my contacts with bad stories, because it’s not worth it; I’d only be burning my reputation as well. 

So that’s why I’m very upfront right from the word go about the type of coverage I think that product, business or person can get. 

I might say, “You’re story’s great, it’s not a television story. It doesn’t have this.”  We can cater the story or fine tune the story to suit the medium as well.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Do you also do a sort of like a ‘faux interview’ with the client – like, as if they have been interviewed by television except they’ve created it themselves?

TRACEY PRESTON

Yes, but often .. that’s not normally the way it works. So you’re suggesting that perhaps we’d set up an interview and supply that interview to the station?

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes. Can you do that?

TRACEY PRESTON

Occasionally you can do that. You can supply footage.  I mean, if it’s a news story, the journo will come and interview – they want their own stamp on the story.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Something else that I wanted to ask you about, which is: do you help the clients prepare for possible television interviews?

TRACEY PRESTON

Oh, absolutely.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So, what’s the process of, you know, turning a normal person into a really good television show guest?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well I think – Step 1 is knowing the message you’re trying to get across.  So, I would not put anyone on camera unless I felt that they were versed in – well, that they knew their topic, for a start. 

Obviously, the businesses that approach me – they’ve been in the business for a while, they know their product. They know what they’re trying to – they tell me their objectives, so we work that out.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So, it wouldn’t really be startups approaching you to try and get up on television?

TRACEY PRESTON

Not really, look – and you wouldn’t want to put someone too green on television.  It will only come back and bite ’em – because nothing prepares you for a live television interview. 

I mean – you might have a few naturals out there, but really it’s a pretty daunting experience. I think you really need to – we’d probably have to go through a few media training, on-camera sessions, before we put them in front of the camera.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So you practice it with people in a sort of simulated environment?

TRACEY PRESTON

For sure, and we get their key messages worked out. You know, ‘What do you want to get out of this interview?  Who’s your target audience?  What are you trying to achieve?’

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Wow, this sounds a bit like online marketing.  These are very similar to the questions that I ask clients!

TRACEY PRESTON

So yeah – you tell your message to what they’re trying to achieve, to position their product in the way that they want to; and without it sounding like a product plug. 

So it has to be very conversational, but keep coming back to the key message of what they’re trying to get out there.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So; I know that you’ve had a really wide variety of clients from Curves Gyms, to celebrity trainers; to – a lot of clients in the animal niche, the pet/vets/medicine kind of niche. 

What’s a typical thing that you can do?  Is there a sort of case study you can tell us about, about what you would typically do with a client?

TRACEY PRESTON

Sure. Because I’m more of a boutique agency I do tend to get clients I guess not with a lot of big budgets, OR I get people that have gone to big agencies and have not had the results – and come to me with their cut-off budget!

So it brings to mind a big pharmaceutical company that came to me. They’ve employed a big PR agency to try and get some media coverage for them, and it wasn’t successful. 

They came to me and said, “This is a release that they agency had written for us, it wasn’t successful. Do you think you could get us some…” – they specifically wanted television coverage. 

I said, ‘Well first of all, the release is dry; it’s boring, it’s full of scientific words.  It’s not just cutting through.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

It’s not a news story.

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, it’s just not ‘real’.  I mean – it’s pitched at pet owners, and pet owners… their eyes are going to glaze over, let alone if you ping that off to a journo!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

What was the agency thinking that wrote this?  Did they not know what they were doing, or something?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, I think they were … I think they were trying to feed the egos of the scientists that were involved in developing this new vaccination. 

So, they thought – you know, scientists like to hear big words in their release!

It’s just like… whereas I go, “Keep it real, what is it going to do for the cat?  How does that cat going to benefit from your vaccine?  How many lives is it going to save?  What happens if they don’t use it?” 

I redid the release.  Actually, the release was on a vaccination for dogs actually.  But it was very scientific, it was just dry.

Plus I wanted television coverage.  So I thought, “How can we turn this into a TV story?” 

I was thinking in pictures.  So what I thought was; why don’t we do – Okay, you’re offering this new vaccination for dogs – why don’t we turn it into a big health story and turn it into a visual story? 

So I said, ‘Why don’t we set up a mobile vet clinic, and we invite a hundred dogs along for free vet checks? And that way you can get your scientists dressed in their white coats, and they can promote their products, but with those hundred dogs with their owners turning up on this one specific day – we’ll do it at 8 o’clock, cause we know that that’s when the breakfast television shows are going to be on – that obviously we’d be pitching it at…’

We have the ‘vision’ – we’ve got people coming out of the woodworks with their dogs for a free vet check – so that’s what I did! 

I didn’t know I was going to get a hundred dogs. But I said to the Today Show, “I’ve got a hundred dogs turning up with their owners. We’ve got a mobile vet; they’re going to give free veterinary advice.” 

And they basically bought it because they could see the pictures in it.  On top of that, I just totally lucked in in the morning – Chris Brown, Bondi vet, I got in his ear as well. 

He was doing a bit of presenting at Nine at that time.  I said, “Look, this is the story, you got to get this plug in for this new vaccination.’. I didn’t say ‘You’ve got to’! But I said, ‘This is the aim of what I’m trying to do, Chris – blah blah blah – Nine are coming out.”  So, he was brilliant.

And on top of that, I lucked in – they brought out The Block’s Scotty, who brought out his dog for a free vet check as well.  So it was just this thing that – I knew Today Show were coming, they’d locked in –

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Did you get the hundred dogs yourself?

TRACEY PRESTON

That’s right, I got the hundred dogs. So, in the release I said that we have a hundred dogs, it could be more – turning up to Parramatta house at this time. 

There’s a new veterinary vaccination that would be talked about during this time – because it was to do with Parvo virus as well – we talked about Parvo virus as well, and the three things that you need to cover your pet, the three big pet killers – we went along those lines as well, plus we gave them the vision of those hundred dogs.

So it turned a dry release into – it brought it to life, basically. So we got TV coverage and I got a lot of radio too, talkback radio.  So they were thrilled.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

And so, if you put a price on how much TV coverage they got, how much that was worth…

TRACEY PRESTON

Easily, $60,000.  If you had to pay for that, it would have cost that client 60 grand.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

And they didn’t pay you to get $60,000 to get that value?

TRACEY PRESTON

No way. No way!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So the return on investment; if somebody hires you to help them get on television and they pay you $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, they’ll get multiple times their return on investment back?

TRACEY PRESTON

Oh absolutely, we’ll quadruple it – for sure.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

And how long does it take to work with a client and get all this kind of stuff ready, is it like a month process?

TRACEY PRESTON

Well I like to get – it can happen quickly.  However, I do like to have a strategy in place and be prepared for the worst case scenario. 

The downer of television is – and the downer of not paying for it – is they can dump you last minute.  You don’t breathe the sigh of relief until you see that story on air.  Because when you don’t pay for it…

And that’s one thing I’m very clear to my clients about, when you’re not paying for it – as opposed to paying for an advertisement – the power is in the hand of the producer. That’s really nerve-wracking. 
It’s a stressful gig when people say they want television coverage.

But, you know, I’m pretty good with the expectation of the client, I keep it real. I think it’s really important; because if I’m promising them the world and delivering zip, no one is going to be happy with me.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So, what sorts of business can actually hire your services?  Is it pretty much any sort of business, or are there specific types of businesses that this works better for?

TRACEY PRESTON

Look I think – look, anything really, I’m happy to have a crack at it and talk it through.  It could be a product, it could be a new business, it could be a service, absolutely. It could be perhaps a…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Personal publicity?

TRACEY PRESTON

Absolutely, yes.  I think anything that has real worth as a story has potential for my services.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

What say if somebody wants to become more famous – maybe they’re a pop star or a wannabe pop star; or they might be a model or an actor, can you help those sorts of people?

TRACEY PRESTON

Absolutely.  Actually I really enjoy people-styles publicity, because I really like seeing their growth. And, because obviously also I’ve been on the TV, worked in television, I understand how to ‘groom’ someone to sort of – get to that stage where they should be on television or they should be presenting. 

And also, developing the style of message you want to get out there about them as well, it’s a bit of branding too.  I really enjoy that.

As you know, I’ve worked with a few personalities. And just seeing what they looked like when they first came to me and seeing the end-product – I get a kick out of it!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

I can’t even remember which president it was that got Naomi Wolf to help him design his campaign to appeal more to the female voters.

TRACEY PRESTON

Yeah – absolutely, that’s what it is, it’s how to appeal to their market, for sure; and knowing the market they want to appeal to.  We have to sort of ‘get into their heads’ about who you actually want to sort of appeal to out there; really.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Basically you help a person, a business, a service or a  product come up with the ‘bait’ to help hook a television network’s interest.

TRACEY PRESTON

I like that!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

– and then once you get the coverage, that’s when the business reaps the benefit.

TRACEY PRESTON

Absolutely. Through mass media exposure, and there’s nothing more mass…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes, I agree.  I think TV just pretty much trumps all other forms of publicity – still! Especially when you want to push something to an audience rather than having the audience searching for you – because of course they might not even know that you exist.

TRACEY PRESTON

For sure, for sure. Also, TV feeds off internet – moreso these days – as well.  Any YouTube sensation often can get television coverage. 

I mean – that’s how they’ve been discovered I guess! I think producers are scouring the new hits on YouTube or the new whiz bang; I think that’s become a source or material for them too, of story material.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

We haven’t really talked about print media.  Do you think it’s still worth bothering with?

TRACEY PRESTON

Oh, look – absolutely, because occasionally you might get a good print story. I’ve seen it in newsrooms – they’re very reactive.  The chief of staff will go through the papers in the morning, they’ll listen to talkback Radio – and whatever is getting momentum on those talk back show – in print, they’ll follow.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So, I’m going to try and sum up what we’ve learned today. Basically, Step 1 of how to get on television is you make a story out of what you’ve got.

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, that’s right.  I mean it depends on what show you want to get on. Obviously News is…

I don’t know if you watch Celebrity Apprentice, but getting a story on the News gives your product just so much credibility.  I mean – that was the best branding they could get. 

Mark Bouris set them a task, and they had to promote – I can’t remember what the product was. But he said, “You got to get that story on one of the nightly News channels’. Because that is the most – you can’t get better branding – because it’s News.  It’s happening, it’s credible!

You know, some stories aren’t newsworthy, but if you can get to turn a story into something that is newsworthy – not everything has to be newsworthy.  Step 1 is to find out what the client’s objectives are in regards to what medium they want to expose their product on.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Right, right. Step 2 would be – now we turn that message into a press release that you will send out to your contacts.

TRACEY PRESTON

That’s it. I’ve established over my seven years at Media Animal, plus my 15 years working in the industry – some very powerful media contacts.  So, when you engage me, you’re paying for those contacts as well.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So people can still follow the principle of what they’ve learned by listening to this chat with you; which is to make a story out of what you’ve got and then pitch that to media.

TRACEY PRESTON

Absolutely.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

But they’re just not going to have that list of industry contacts who will take their story, and who are decision makers.

TRACEY PRESTON

Plus they won’t be able to verbally ‘sell it in’ like I will either.  I know how to prick the ear of the right people! 

I know how to talk in their language when I’m pitching in a new story. And these days it’s not a matter of pinging out a release. Pinging out a press release is often… they won’t even read it, they’ll delete it.  You’ve got to follow up with a phone call.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah, but also, (Step 3) like a catchy headline so that they’ll actually open it.  The headline is gets the open.

TRACEY PRESTON

That’s right, you’ve got to have a very clever one-line headline, no doubt about it.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

So if people do submit their own press release and try and get some television coverage; I guess it was just a matter of making it clear that they’re not going to get the same results as a professional is, with the contacts.

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, the fact that the e-mail comes from Media Animal and the fact that I’ve has established success at getting stories up before – I’m less likely to get deleted. 

I’m not Joe Bloggs trying to submit a story, and often it’s not written in a way – I mean, my skill is also is to write it in a way that will prick their ears and that they’ll say that this girl knows what she’s talking about!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

And then Step 4 is to work with you to get sort of media trained, media savvy – in preparation for your TV appearances.

TRACEY PRESTON

Well, I can prepare them, that’s right.  I can media train them to deliver their message on camera, on radio.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

I think is this very important; especially if you haven’t done any public speaking, presenting from stage or acting – or anything like that – before.

TRACEY PRESTON

Oh, absolutely. I mean if you’re what’s called ‘dud media talent’, you know, if you open your trap, and…

BARBARA GRIFFIN

I used to be ‘Dud Media Talent’!

TRACEY PRESTON

*laughs*

BARBARA GRIFFIN

I was 23 and I was on this band in New Zealand, who was a one-hit-wonder band.  I got asked to be a guest on a program called McCormick, which is Gary McCormick. 

The fellow guest on the show that I was in was Cheech Marin, from Cheech and Chong. So it was me and Cheech, the two guests, and this host. And both of them are just completely media savvy.

And I was just…I just kind of froze! I didn’t know… I was just a rabbit caught in the headlights.  I was out of my depth, and I hadn’t really…

I just don’t think that there was any preparation for going on a television show as a guest, and being yourself.

TRACEY PRESTON

See – if I had been managing you, I wouldn’t have put you in that situation, because it’s not going to do your image any justice, is it?

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yeah, but even if someone had just said to me, “Look, just get out there and just be ‘ON!’. Whatever your normal personality is, take it up two notches, three notches. Be like you’re drunk, but you’re not drunk! Be outrageous, be funny, you know, give them something entertaining.” 

That would have really helped if someone had sort of coached me a bit.

TRACEY PRESTON

Yeah well – you’re in the entertainment industry!  If you’re dud entertainment, well, people aren’t going to engage or watch you.  You do have to have something. Even if, as you said, you might have been wild and a little bit out of it, or whatever, that could have maybe been your thing that could have… made you who you are or what you wanted to be.  You know what I mean?

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Yes.

TRACEY PRESTON

So…it’s developing almost a little caricature of what you want to… it’s just finding that little thing that makes you a little bit different, that’s going to stand you out from the crowd.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

It’s like getting a Photoshop image and then turning up the colours and the brightness.

TRACEY PRESTON

And everyone’s got something that they can ‘turn up’.

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Well, that was absolutely amazing, and thank you so much for coming in to chat today, Tracey! Now, if people want to get hold of you, it’s www.mediaanimal.com.au

And you’ve been listening to Tracey Preston. Now thanks again Tracey, it was absolutely amazing.

TRACEY PRESTON

Oh thanks Barb, I’ve enjoyed it. Thanks!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

High Five!

TRACEY PRESTON

It’s been Great. Yup! Thank you. Yay!

BARBARA GRIFFIN

Okay, See you!

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