A PR Grand Slam

Public Relations

As any of our Denver PR colleagues would agree, landing a client a four-minute media segment on national TV is worth celebrating. It’s like hitting a walk-off grand slam. It’s extremely rare; it takes a lot of time, hard work, and a little luck to pull it off.

At Pushkin PR we are figuratively jumping on home plate, mobbed by our teammates who are showering us in Gatorade and shoving shaving cream pies in our face.

Our client, Project Sanctuary was recently featured on the Today Show in a story about how the nonprofit provides therapeutic retreats that help military families reconnect, heal, and thrive. The reporter, Maria Shriver, said she got teary eyed watching it, and the studio anchors talked about how great Project Sanctuary is. It’s hard to top that.

It feels great, but we all know that this kind of win doesn’t happen very often. So, what does it take to pull it off?

Communications Problem? We can help

The right story. We wrestled with this for a long time. Project Sanctuary’s mission of helping military families is noble and something with which most people can relate. But, how should we tell their story in an impactful way that’s different than all the other stories about the challenges veterans face. The key was to find the right family who was willing to let the media into their home, follow them through the entire process, and be open about their challenges. When we found the right family, things started to fall into place.

The right reporter. We pitched Project Sanctuary to everyone we could think of including network TV and top-tier national print media. Then, we finally connected with a talented Today Show producer who saw right away that Maria Shriver would absolutely love to cover this story. The producer was great to work with and understood exactly what we needed to make the story as compelling as possible. We were on the same page right from the start.

Persistence. We were rejected enough times to make us wonder if anyone wanted to cover Project Sanctuary. We got a lot of, “we’ve already done stories about veterans” responses. It was frustrating, but our persistence finally paid off.

The right assets. We had the family, we had a beautiful mountain setting, we had facts to back up our key messages, and we had passionate spokespeople who knew how to speak in sound bites.

Managing the client’s expectations.  In the very first meeting we had with this client, they told us that national media attention was their goal. We needed to help them understand what it takes to get national press and to be patient through a process that took many months. Just like in baseball, everybody wants to be an All Star, but everyone does not make it to The Today Show.

Walk-off grand slams don’t happen very often in PR. When they do it’s important to take a moment to celebrate. But there’s always another game tomorrow so now we need to take a look at the lessons we can learn, where we can improve, and how we can leverage this into a long winning streak.

Batter up. Play ball.

Author: Jon Pushkin