I WANNA BE ON OPRAH! PART TWO

Part TWO of Andrew Ng’s column, “I Wanna Be On Oprah.” Take notes. Take his advice. The guy knows what he’s talking about! (And in case you missed it, Part ONE.)

I Wanna Be On Oprah! PART TWO

By Andrew Ng

Back to Oprah for a moment—you really need to think what angle you can take that might appeal to the Producers at Oprah and to the viewers of Oprah. Think creatively – find something funny or uplifting, find something relevant to current issues globally, find something that will simply charm the Producers into liking you and your products / services.

Very briefly I’m going to touch on utilising the Internet in your PR and how it might help you in a quest for Oprah. As this is a general marketing and PR piece that I’m writing, I won’t go into too much detail about generating excitement on the Internet. If you want more information about that you’ll have to find yourself a media consultant or do your own research. The Internet is arguably the easiest way to reach people who will be interested in your products. The same marketing basics apply online as do in traditional media. Think about what you’ve got to offer, who might want it, and then, hunt around to see where you can find a collection of these people on the Internet. I always push the use of multimedia as a great way to grab someone’s attention. The Internet likes multimedia – a lot! For more information about utilising multimedia online, I recently wrote a guest article at Refocusing Technology about video technologies – feel free to have a look: http://www.refocusingtechnology.com/index.php/2009/08/18/utilising-video-in-technology-and-social-media-marketing-andrew-ng. You can also see i-Showreel, the video product that I mention, in action at www.i-Showreel.com if you’re interested.

I’ve now covered a lot of essential marketing and PR ideas, so now for the million dollar question: how do you actually get on Oprah? I’ll give you a completely truthful answer. I’m very, very sorry, but I really don’t know.

Don’t stop reading yet, however; I have got a little more information to add. There are two routes that I see open that might, only might, lead to being on Oprah.

The first route. Oprah is a massive television show. I know the TV industry quite well (I have a company that operates in that industry). Appearances on big TV shows require good “ground-up” PR. Utilise the press – get a few decent stories in the papers by targeting where you want your stories to appear effectively and intelligently. Utilise the Internet – make people excited about what you do. Do some serious networking – run a few high-profile events and invite the “right” people to them, feeding them mucho wine in the process (wine is a good answer to most problems). By combining these different approaches, you’ve got a decent chance of making an appearance on a television show. You never know which TV Executive might be reading the paper, might find you online, or might really like wine!

After getting your “basic” PR right, you can then contact television producers, utilising all your existing coverage to create a persuasive case for getting you on a TV show. As with everything else, pitch yourself appropriately to the television programme in question. Just like any other kind of marketing – make sure you find an angle that they will be interested in.

And the second route. Get a hold of a PR person who has contacts in the broadcasting industries, appropriate to where you want your media coverage to appear. This industry is a lot about “who you know”. If you can get hold of the Chief Editor of the news, you can probably get a news story broadcast if you pitch it correctly. If you can get hold of a PR person who knows the Chief Editor of the news, he will know how to pitch it properly. It’s a lot less work, but also a lot more expensive and nobody can guarantee results!

Which one would I pick as a better option for small-medium sized companies? The first one – it will have a more positive impact on your profit margins over a more prolonged period of time.

Does this mean that you shouldn’t have a PR person or a media consultant? No – they will be able to add value in terms of marketing and PR strategy and though utilising a fantastic network of contacts in the industry. It’s just probably not a good idea to have them target the Oprah Winfrey Show as their first assignment. I’m a media consultant and if someone rang me and said, “I wanna be on Oprah”, I would politely suggest a more balanced media strategy as I outlined in my first route to Oprah. So what would my role be? To lay out media strategy, generate Internet “buzz” and look for good angles to gain press coverage. In the long term, that is a much more profitable, much less high-risk strategy than focusing solely on getting on Oprah. And who knows, generate enough hype about what you do, and one day, you may well end up on Oprah.

The final point that I have for you…

In all honesty, if Oprah wants you, I’ll be very surprised if Oprah doesn’t find you.

(BY THE WAY! About Andrew Ng: Andrew Ng is a serial entrepreneur and leading media and innovation consultant in the UK. His businesses include media innovation company, Fat Mouse Productions Ltd; communications and public relations agency, re:Markable; and web development and online marketing business, Expanding Web. In September 2009 he is launching i-Showreel, an innovative video product designed for Internet and mobile marketing. Alongside his business activities, he is currently authoring two books and works as a freelance artist and illustrator. Visit Andrew’s website at: www.andrew-ng.com. Follow Andrew on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/Mr_Ng.)

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