Working With “Facts”

  • Category: Media

I first learned the importance of facts at Francine LeBlanc’s birthday party, where 20 of us—all seven year-old girls—played telephone.

You know, the game where you whisper a sentence into the ear of the person next to you and she passes it on. At the end, you compare the first missive to the last.

Even at seven, I could grasp the shock of how a simple line could be so twisted (I think it’s also what swore me off gossip).

Facts—once they run through another person’s filters—can get distorted, as recent elections continue to prove.

The bastions of traditional media know this. That’s why they fact check their stories before publishing/airing.

But not every media outlet—which includes the social and digital media you most want to tap into—cares about having the facts.

They want a story.

One that sticks to their worldview or is so opposite that they can’t help but talk about it.

To successfully build your brand of authority in media, you must understand this and work with it.

Rather than casually responding to an interview request, do your homework. Check out the reporter/blogger and their outlet.

What kind of stories do they write? Who (and how big) is their viewership? Is the story they are percolating a good fit for your point of view?

And don’t shy away from taking the contrarian view—your unique twist may be exactly what gets you quoted “above the fold”.

Always, always have your facts straight. There is no substitute in the world of experts for being prepared and informed.

But know that it’s the stories you tell that people remember and will make media clamor for you.

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