Feb 22 2012
By Jennie Klahre
The Bachelor, ABC’s popular reality television show, has been helping people find love since 2002. And this season is no exception as lovestruck contestants recently introduced the Bachelor, Ben Flajnik, to their families on the “hometown date” episode.
But while many have loved, loved and lost, or just simply lost this season, everyone has had the opportunity to learn.
For example, contestants this year have learned how to make an appropriate entrance onto the show (preferably on a horse or with your grandmother at your side), how to compare any activity to falling in love or getting married, and how to spend more airtime crying than talking to the Bachelor.
You can also learn some equally important lessons from the show. They may not be quite as riveting or dramatic, but they are more useful in public relations, especially when it comes to pitching media.
Use your time wisely
With The Bachelor
Host Chris Harrison has warned many a Bachelor contestant this season to use her time with Prince Charming wisely. The contestants are vying for the attention of one man, so it’s important they be interesting and memorable. This generally means: Avoid trash talking the Bachelor’s other girlfriends during one-on-one time, attempt to make intelligent conversation rather than commenting on the pretty ocean, and divulge every personal life detail (like that time you were dumped via text message). After all, if you’re unable to impress the Bachelor with your sparkling personality while shark diving off the coast of Belize, it’s pretty safe to conclude you aren’t worthy of his time.
While public relations professionals don’t generally have to gain the attention of reporters by jumping 500 feet out of moving helicopters, they do face the challenge of standing out in a crowd. As reporters juggle tight deadlines and limited time to report and write stories, PR specialists must make their email and phone pitches quick and enticing. A good pitch will grab the reporter’s attention and persuade him or her to ask for more information. On her blog, Erica Swallow, a contributing writer for Mashable and CNN, urges PR professionals to “limit the PR jargon and just be a human.” So, don’t get lost in the details while writing a pitch, but instead focus on hitting main points and ideas. Clarity and conciseness will go a long way.
Don’t burn bridges
With other Bachelor contestants
Bachelor contestants are notorious for passive-aggressive cat fights, trash talking and backstabbing – either because they are too infatuated with the Bachelor to think straight or because they think it will put them on the fast-track to stardom. When contestant Emily O’Brien told the Bachelor about her on-camera tiff with contestant Courtney Robertson this season, it didn’t go over smoothly. The Bachelor reminded her that she’s on the show to win his affection, not Robertson’s. While this is true, I also would have told her that grudges and the stress they bring are rarely worth it.
It’s always important to be honest and professional with reporters, both in and out of the office. Cultivating relationships through effective communication is important because it helps both parties do their jobs a little better. Reporters have go-to sources they can call for information and PR specialists have media professionals they can reach out to with story ideas. Stirring up bad blood will only make things more difficult in the long-run because reporters have a network of connections. So, avoid negative exchanges, take the high road if you are being treated unfairly or disrespectfully, and don’t say anything you might regret later.
Accept and move on
To the Bachelorette
If you don’t get a rose from the Bachelor, it’s time to move on. While contestants have been known to sob hysterically, make a dramatic exit, or even almost faint, life does go on after the show ends. As Robertson said this season, “Ben’s not the only guy in the world.” And she’s right. There’s always The Bachelorette, a spin-off of The Bachelor, for the losers other women.
To the next story idea
If a reporter can’t use a particular story idea, don’t sweat it. Not every pitch will be a perfect match for every news outlet. The reporter may be going in a different direction with a particular story or may be too close to deadline. Avoid taking a rejected story idea personally and simply move on to the next opportunity. Learn each publication’s niche and tailor your pitch to fit a specific topic that’s covered.
As the contestants head off to Switzerland next week, the stakes will be even higher and the goal of finding love (in a hopeless place) will be that much closer. Hopefully a few lessons will be learned along the way – be they learning to ski on fake snow in San Francisco or pitching media outlets successfully. Either way, it’s important to keep your eye on the prize… er, rose.