Winning Gold with the Media

It was one of the most memorable pictures of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

That face!

American gymnast McKayla Maroney, after stumbling during her vault routine and only taking a silver medal, produced the now-famous “unimpressed” look on the medal stand.

The picture was splashed all over the media, so much so that during the team’s celebratory visit to the White House, even President Obama took note, joining Maroney in reproducing the look for an official photo of the event.

Wisely, Maroney has recognized the value of what was actually an unhappy reaction to her lack of success.  Instead of seeing it as a negative, Maroney has been using the picture to her advantage, helping her secure business opportunities and stay in the spotlight.

Media opportunities can come in all different forms…and at different times.  I’m pretty sure at that moment on the stand in London Maroney didn’t plan to make a face she could parlay into real gold.  However, once she saw how it took off, she made sure not only to embrace it but to also make it her signature mark…a brilliant media strategy.

You, too, may find yourself in a surprise or unlikely situation that suddenly provides you with a chance to make a big media splash.  If you do, it’s important to take advantage of the opportunity.  And the only way you can do that successfully is to be prepared–  by understanding what your message is and how you want to present it.

So take a tip from McKayla Maroney, who stumbled on a big opportunity and then took advantage of it.  She may have only won silver at the Olympics, but she owns a media strategy of gold.

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