Riding the Media Pony

I’m a proud graduate of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.  As a “Mustang” supporter, I was recently invited to a New York-area alumni gathering at Lincoln Center in Manhattan.  At the event, school President R. Gerald Turner spoke at length about this month’s opening of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s library on campus.  Dr. Turner talked about why it was important for SMU to jump at the opportunity to have such a prized facility, despite protests by some faculty members about President Bush’s politics.  A long-time Texan, Dr. Turner used a Lone Star idiom to explain his thinking:  “The only bus you can ride is the one that comes by.”

What a fantastic phrase to remember for anyone looking for media exposure!

Media decision-makers–  reporters, guest bookers, producers–  are always under deadline pressure.  The thing that makes them most happy is to know they have the person they need for a story “locked up” and ready to go.  The thing that makes them most ANGRY is when the person they need isn’t reachable…or isn’t ready…or isn’t on time.

If you want to succeed in the media, you need to be the person who is reachable, ready and on time when media members reach out to you.  That’s the bus showing up for you– and it’s the only one you can get on.  If you don’t, you will miss out on a chance to get your message noticed.  What’s worse, if you make those decision-makers angry, you might end up being scratched from their list of possible commentators for any future stories.  There won’t be any more buses coming your way.

Actor/producer Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is just showing up.”  Keep that in mind as part of your media strategy.  It’s the ride that will get you where you want to go.

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