I wanna be on Oprah

Posted by Albers Communications on May 27, 2011 | Comments (1)

If I had a nickle for every time I heard a prospective client say, “I wanna be on Oprah,” I might just have enough in the bank to ride off in the sunset like the Queen of Daytime did this week as she signed off for the last time.

I am hearing a collective sigh of relief among my fellow PR professionals from coast to coast, because I am sure they’ve heard the same request countless times.

It’s not that we have anything against Oprah.

Public relations is all about matching our client’s stories with the right venues, and for most people and organizations, The Oprah Winfrey Show just wasn’t right.

While I admit, I did cringe every time I heard the “Oprah goal” from prospective clients, part of me was relieved because it was evidence that they understood the incredible value of public relations exposure. To me this understanding is the perfect place to start.

But we do a disservice to our clients, and to public relations, if we don’t realistically manage expectations.

There are no sure things in public relations, but most of us in the profession are up for realistic challenges. It’s important that we help our clients have attainable goals or, if appropriate, that we suggest modifications to their PR plans that will allow them to reach their objectives.

Often it requires creative thinking such as the time our client came to us with the request to be on the Today Show. This is not as daunting as “I wanna be on Oprah,” but a challenge nonetheless.

We suggested taking a “bottom-up approach” targeting bureaus of national broadcast media and news syndicates, with the idea that the news would be “fed up stream.” The result was significant national exposure in media outlets including The Today Show, the Associated Press, USA Today and US News and
World Report.

Challenges are good for all of us, even the ones that may seem unrealistic. For this, I can take comfort that, although Oprah is disappearing from network TV, she is not disappearing entirely.

In fact, I am confident it won’t be long before “I wanna be on Oprah” is replaced by “I want 6 million Twitter followers like Oprah.”




  • Capiz Greene says:

    Thanks Tom for an insightful blog. It speaks to the importance of serving our clients to the highest level by truly listening and then managing expectations.

    So many times, business owners/vendors just bow to the client hoping to keep the business. Unfortunately, if we’re not doing what’s best for them, they won’t be our client for long.

    What this blog emphasizes is not just providing service, but creating strategic partnerships with our clients, which is something at which you excel!

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