It happened, it finally happened. You landed a feature story in a press outlet you have been pitching tirelessly (and strategically) for ages! You want to sing it from the rooftops as well as across social media, from Twitter to Facebook. You want to tell your friends, family, landlord, dog and mailman to keep their eyes peeled for your story. You want everyone and their mother to spread the word! As you’re sitting at your computer furiously typing away, scribing an email to 300 of your closest (ahem) friends and family, a thought crosses your mind. Then a few more. You wonder:
- Is it bad luck if I prematurely celebrate this with my friends and family?
- Is it tacky if I ask everyone to post my story on their social media feeds?
- Is it wrong if I myself share this on my social media before it runs to get everybody excited? (What about a few times a day?)
- What if I DO get everyone excited the right way, and then my story is canceled anyways? What will everyone on social media think? How do I deal?
Here are the short answers:
- No (YES!)
- Such is life, we’ll talk it through, down below.
Okay and now, the longer answer…
Is it bad luck if I prematurely celebrate this with my friends and family?
Listen, once you hear the big news that you landed a story in a media outlet you’ve been courting for months (if not longer) it's time to celebrate! Do a happy dance, call your friends and family, hug your barista! It is not bad luck, it is not going to lead to a TV segment cancellation or a sudden change in a magazine’s editorial plans. That said, I always like to live by the rule that until I see it in print or on-air, it’s never 100% locked in. Sharing and celebrating your hard work is totally fine, and in most cases everything goes smoothly. In terms of television, it’s highly unlikely your segment will get bumped unless regularly scheduled programming is interrupted due to a local or national crisis. If this is the case they’ll most likely try to reschedule you and life will go on. That said, don’t let fears of those chance moments dull your sparkle. Celebrate away with them in real person, on the phone, via text etc. Just be sure that you keep your celebrating private until you’ve confirmed you can make the story public. This rule applies the most to feature stories or hot topics, but as a rule I tend to ask the media I’m working with if I can share this on social media prior to it running (or right around the time it’s gong to run) before I shout it from the rooftops! Even then, I tend not to publicly (read: on social media) celebrate or promote any type of print or online press until it’s live. TV is a different story. Once I have permission (key!) to share or tease out when my story will be on television and what it will be about, I take to social media. But I do it in a way that will not be annoying or tacky…
Is it tacky if I ask everyone to post my story on their social media feeds?
Yes. It’s annoying to tell anyone to do anything on their social media feed, a representation of who they are, what they like, what they want to share and so forth. That said, you’re in a quandary, because you want your friends and family to tell their friends and family and really rev up the buzz about your story. So here’s what you can do:
- Share it on your feed. If people think it’s cool or interesting they will share it. That is how social media works. Guess what, they’ll also share it because they love and support you, that’s how friendship works.
- Email it to your friends and family, include a clean link to your press. Include your Twitter handle and if they want to share it with any of that information they will. Do not hound them, that’s tacky.
- If you’ve received permission to tease out your feature television segment and want people to tune in, you can FOR SURE email your friends and family sharing when your story will run. Firstly, do just that. Share it with friends, family, business colleagues or people you’re truly connected to. Don’t ask everyone and their mother in your Rolodex to do you the favor and post it. That’s annoying and inauthentic.
- Give them the info they need. You can even give them the link to where they can tune in, the Twitter handle of your company, the Twitter handle of the show and a snappy description of what the segment is about. You can include something in the email that says: "here’s all the information you’ll need to tune in on the big day and share it with others should you so choose” or something like that. Some people send friends and family an actual script regarding what they want them to say on social media (verbatim). I am not a fan of this as I find it presumptuous, inauthentic (it’s created in someone else’s voice for another person’s personal media page) and I tend to get them the most from people I’m connect to on a minimal level. I will tell you what, my sister has never asked me to share a specific sentence about her different writing successes, but I share them every time. Because I love her and that’s what people do. Let your friends and family support you in their own way.
Is it wrong if I myself share this on my social media before it runs? (What about a few times a day?)
It’s a total must to share a great hit when it happens via your social media, and you may even want to share it (perhaps with different visuals or captions) more than once. That said:
- Know when to say when.
- Don’t bombard your friends and family with too much you or they’ll end up hiding your feeds or un-following you.
- Don’t humble brag (“Oh, It’s so exhausting getting up at 7 am for the Today Show”, “I wish the shoes I wore during my Oprah interview were more comfortable.” “I hope this car is on time for my feature interview with Barbara Walters.” Gag. Just own it. “I am super psyched to share I’m going to be on the Today Show tomorrow at 8 AM.” “After a decade long professional journey I’m sharing my story with Oprah today at 4 PM, I hope you’ll tune in!” “You guys we did it, Team Save a Puppies Life is talking to Barbara Walters today! High fives to our social media family.” See, you can tell everyone about it without sounding annoying. Everybody wins.
What if I DO get everyone excited the right way, and then my story is canceled anyways?
The chances of that happening are as likely as the government shutting down. (See what I did there?) In other words, it’s highly unlikely, something major has to happen to cause it, but it does happen rarely, it sucks, and you get through it. If you’ve done a feature story and you’re worried about it not airing or running in print stop worrying. If they put in the time, money and effort they had to in order for your story to run, they’re going to want it to run. That said, sometimes (mostly in the world of television features) breaking news happens and your story gets bumped.
So what do you do? Let out a massive sigh, let the news team deal with the breaking news story, alert your friends, family and social media of the change, and then work with the press to get your new airdate. More likely than not they’ll want to rerun it as they already put a lot of effort into it. Do print and online stories sometimes get cut? Sure do. At times for the same reasons, or because of changes in editorial direction. That said, try to keep your mind out of that space. There is no use worrying about things that you have no control over. Trust it will all work out, and have a contingency plan in the back of your head just in case things go awry!
Sometimes people worry about what their friends, family and social media followers will think if they’ve been buzzing about their upcoming segment and then it gets bumped or edited out. To those people I say, don’t even worry about it! So what? You know what people will think? They’ll think, “Wow, they were so close, can’t wait to see when it runs.” Or “Wow, I wish I was like them and was pushing myself and my story out there.” Or they simply won’t think about it at all, because they have more important things on their mind, like a government shutdown.
The moral of the story?
Landing a feature story in the press is a MAJOR moment in your business career and an accomplishment that should be celebrated and shared. The key is to do it like everything you do in your business: authentically and strategically. After all, how you do anything is how you do everything!