The Captain and the Captivated Audience

MLB: All Star GameYankees captain and sure-fire Hall of Famer, Derek Jeter, played his final All Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis on Tuesday.   As you might expect, a series of opportunities for fans to pay tribute to Jeter were incorporated in the pre-game ceremonies and during the game itself.   And they were great.  I’d say even the casual and non-baseball fan had to appreciate the significance of the moment each time Jeter–  one of the classiest players in baseball history–  got his due.

What was also impressive was how brilliantly Fox handled the broadcast.  The folks at the network knew they had something special here, and they made sure to bring us the Jeter accolades in every way possible to take advantage of that.  It was smart, good TV.  You couldn’t change the channel.

Your media strategy should be the same.  You want to be the person that nobody wants to “change the channel” on (Or in today’s internet-driven coverage, click off).    The Fox/Jeter coverage is a great example of how to do that.

The All Star Game is full of compelling stories, all of which would have been interesting.  But Fox understood the overriding power of the Jeter story and stuck with it, probably to the chagrin of those who don’t like Jeter (Note how one fan was picked up by the microphones chanting “Over-Rated” in Jeter’s first at bat) and those who would have liked to hear more about Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig or the many other stars there.   Good stories, all, but not THE story that made this game “must see TV.”

To truly “get noticed” in the media, you need a compelling story.  But more than that, it’s important to stick to that story, even though you may have many other good things to talk about.  One of the easiest ways to have a reporter, booker or producer lose interest is when an interviewee goes “off the rails” and loses focus.  Remember, the news people are using you because of something specific you bring to the table.  You want your “take” on the topic to be so unique that nobody else can offer it.  That makes what you say valuable.  That’s what captivates an audience and makes you “must see TV.”

So when you have your media opportunity, make the most of your strongest asset and don’t waiver.  Fox understood that strategy and created an excellent broadcast.  Derek Jeter understood it, too, and that’s how he became one of the all-time greats in baseball.   If you do the same, you have a good chance to be a media “all-star” as well.