No, this is not a blog about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s weight.
It’s a blog about those who have wisely used the recent flap over Christie’s girth to get some valuable media coverage.
The governor created national headlines recently by joking with David Letterman about being “fat” and then giving a public lambasting to a former White House doctor who suggested on CNN that Christie’s weight caused her to be concerned he might die in office.
The media jumped on the story with the obvious follow up stories about the health risks of obesity, especially when it relates to a politician who may have ambitions of one day fitting his large tummy behind the desk in the Oval Office.
Enter the “experts.”
Whenever media people are looking to answer a question, they seek out experts on the topic. It’s a practice that was clearly in action with the Christie weight story.
For example, New Jersey’s largest paper, the Star-Ledger, ran a piece February 8th entitled “Risky Business: Christie claims good health but weight could prove heavy burden” (see link below). In it, three nutrition specialists– none of whom appear to have any connection to Christie– got to weigh in (pardon the pun) on the topic. How did they get chosen? I’m betting all three have been making media contacts and/or getting their name out through previous media appearances, blogs, etc., so when the reporter was seeking comment, their names came up. And guess what? By getting quoted in the Star-Ledger article, they increased their exposure and made themselves even more likely other media decision-makers will go to them the next time a nutrition story comes up. It’s a continuous, big circle that is part and parcel of the media business. It’s like the old lottery advertisement: You’ve got to be in it to win it.
You want to be the person reporters, producers and bookers think about when a story happens. That means being on top of their contact list. Do that by taking advantage of any and all opportunities to get your name out in the public (especially anything that will show up online, where everyone goes to first when searching for information). And be ready! Nothing annoys news people more than when a “source” is not available or prepared to respond.
So be as “big” as you can in the eyes of those looking for experts. When it comes to getting more media attention, size does matter.