“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Robert Burns’ famous words are a timeless testament to how even letter-perfect preparation can unravel at the drop of a hat. The world learned the tragic news of Whitney Houston’s death Saturday night, the eve of the Grammys, and the immediate effects of the loss rippled through the music and entertainment business. The Grammys featured tremendous and well-executed tributes to Ms. Houston, all of which were pieced together at zero-hour upon news of her passing; showing that anything can happen at any time, and expecting the unexpected is crucial in any trade or industry.
As an expert on your topic or in your field, it is imperative to monitor the news and current events for any applicable angles for your message. Be ready for anything. Here at PR/PR, much of our time is spent scouring mainstream media and contacting editors about stories that parallel our clients’ area of expertise, and pitching them as the go-to source of information on a story. This process involves PR/PR retaining a vast variety of knowledge about current happenings, even if on the surface they do not seem to directly apply to a client’s topic. There’s always an angle, and only you as the expert can provide your unique perspective which will get you in front of reporters and editors faster.
When breaking news hits the wire, it takes mere seconds for editors to begin thumbing through their established list of experts to give their take and insight on a story. Make yourself available for that phone call that leads to an interview. Life doesn’t stop on your lunch break, and a missed call may mean a missed opportunity. Your words and voice perpetuate your career, not your voicemail.
Flexibility is vital in any corporate domain, but especially so when you’re leveraging yourself as THE person to comment on a variety of subjects. Producers scrambled in the late hours Saturday evening to incorporate Whitney Houston into their Grammy programming; trimming segments and adding others (particularly Jennifer Hudson’s stirring rendition of, ‘I Will Always Love You’), and it appeared organic and seamless. Keep your ear to the ground, maintain a working bank of knowledge, and prepare for anything.
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