3 Things PR could learn from TV


It’s the middle of September and as I wait for my favourite TV shows to begin (Fall preview), I started to think about what makes a successful show. I, soon, realized the things that drive a successful TV program are the same things that drive a successful public relations campaign.

NCIS is my favourite TV show. It has the perfect mix of character interaction and plot. It perfectly blends humour and the seriousness of the crimes. And the characters are relatable. Every time Agent Gibbs smacks “Very Special Agent” Anthony Dinozzo upside the head, I can’t help but think of my father and me. For nine seasons, I have faithfully watched each Tuesday night and I’ll keep watching hopefully for nine more.

There are many factors that affect the success of a show and decide whether a show returns. Its time slot, target audience, subject material, and competition all matter. But there are a few qualities in successful television that PR professionals should remember during their communication planning.

  • Product over Packaging. A fancy or complex marketing plan won’t impact your audience if the product fails to deliver. A marketing blast may attract your audience for a moment or an episode, but if characters are unlikable or your message doesn’t deliver, audiences tune out. And if your audience tunes out, you’re not changing perceptions or attracting supporters.
  • Don’t Leave ’em Hanging. A TV show leaves an impression through its characters or leaves viewers with a wish to tune in the next week. As a PR professional, your message needs to resonate with your audience. Find a way to leave an impression; whether it’s through humour, shock or emotion. Your audience needs to relate, understand and act upon your message. TV shows have viewers that return week after week and tell their friends to watch; PR campaigns can leave the same impression on their audiences and turn them into advocates.
  • Regularily Scheduled Program. As an avid TV viewer, nothing is more frustrating than a network moving shows around different time slots. The same works for communication tactics. Using Twitter or Facebook for a week and then disappearing for a month won’t do anything but hurt your goals in the long run. Like a weekly TV program, your message needs to consistently reach your audience.

Produce a great message, deliver it with impact and do it consistently. TV and Communications are about standing out and making a difference.

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Terra Nova, debuting this fall. Looks like Stargate meets Jurassic Park. I’ll check it out.

Agree with my thoughts about PR and Television? Disagree? Let me know what you think below.

4 thoughts on “3 Things PR could learn from TV

    • ronmycholuk

      Thanks very much Jason. Sometimes it’s hard finding things to write about it, but I find I am really enjoying merging my career and what I see in the world around me.

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